New Year’s Inspiration Around the Web

January 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

Has your 2013 started off with a bang or do you need some inspiration?

Has your 2013 started off with a bang or do you need some inspiration? (Photo by: Neurovelho via WikiMedia Commons.)

Happy 2013! We’re ten days into the new year! How are your New Year’s Resolutions going? Or are you in the no-resolutions camp? Has the time just slipped away and you’re still writing 2012 when you write the date?  We’ve collected some interesting and inspirational posts from bloggers around the interwebs!

Over at Zen Habits, Guest Writer Craig Ballantyne writes about his “Twelve Rules to Live By”. It is an interesting approach. Could you articulate your rules like this or how would you react to utilizing a few of Craig’s?

Time Management Ninja Craig Jarrow has a great post entitled “10 Things Wrong With Your New Year’s Resolutions” with some great tips about realistic goal setting.

Dumb Little Man writer Sumitha sums up the “8 Mistakes that are Sabotaging Your Resolution To Change Your Life”. I know I am guilty of a few of these.

Found this via J.D. Roth’s More than Money Blog. It has a great how-to on how to review your previous year as the basis for planning your new year.

My perspective is that the start of the new school is the best time to embark with January being a good time to check in on my progress. This year I am trying to integrate Gamification to help me stay motivated toward my goals.

So where do you fall? Are you a Resolver or do you think Resolutions are a waste of time? Got any big plans for 2013? What tricks do you have for staying motivated?  Don’t worry, there’s always Chinese New Year!

Posted by: Heather Comstock

Photo credit:  Blue Fireworks.  The Finnish fireworks championship 2007 in Helsinki.  By: Neurovelho.  Sourced from WikiMedia Commons.



Believe in Yourself

December 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

This is a post from Job Coach Cindy Virtue who encourages us to make the most of the holiday break and to BELIEVE in ourselves!

bokk cover

Believe in yourself and your dreams!

Today my calendar was marked to sit down and write the blog for Pinnacle Empowerment Center this morning. It was on my to-do-list for 9:00am to hold me accountable or Heather may not be too jolly with me come our Wednesday Open House Celebration. Well it is now 4:00pm a little later than anticipated, but as everyone knows little bumps in the road sometimes comes up. Here is my bump:

I have a good friend who wrote a book 8-years ago, which had sat on her bookshelf just getting dusty. While reflecting over the last holiday season and with the encouragement of her friends and family she decided to submit it for publication. She found three possible publishers in March and submitted her transcript. To her surprise two-weeks later she was sitting with a contract with a target publishing date for October 2012 in time for the holiday sales. Since this was a book about the meaning of Christmas timing was an issue. She worked very hard over the summer, meeting demanding deadlines for rewrites.  Unfortunately, due to factors out of her control, the book was finally printed mid-November missing the shelves in major book store, but it is now available online.

As we were catching up last week and she was filling me in with all the details of what the publisher will do to promote her book they also encouraged her to reach out to her network. Well, this is my area!   I could see she felt so overwhelmed so I helped her come up with a promotional plan- which is very similar to what I do when I help job seekers.

We sat and brainstormed on how to best use the limited time left before the holiday to market her holiday book. Helping her understand how to reach out to her network, making phone calls asking her friends for help to spread the word, identifying upcoming events to attend and possibly ask if she could setup a table for a book signing  such as the Dec, 20th Girls Night Out Even in Downtown Ellicott City. Finally, why not create a FREE website through which will make it easier for her network to spread the word. This was my BUMP since I only have created one several months ago this took longer than anticipated, but was well worth it. I am much better or should I say faster in helping job seekers with Linkedin profiles then I am in creating a website, so I may need to keep my day job. In the end, she took a leap of faith and she is now a published author!

With the holiday upon us and as you may be job searching you need to believe in yourself. Take this time to regroup, take a fresh look at your resume and Linked profile, come up with a game plan on how you can reach out to your network, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Pull out your calendar now and start setting deadlines and goals for the New Year. Attend PEC FREE Job Club or Empowerment Circle for help. The year 2013 will be your time but you need to make it happen!

Note: January Job Club has been moved to Tuesday, January 8th due to the holiday. Please contact me for times and location at or (410) 799-1097 ext. 300

Have a safe and wonderful holiday season!

Want to learn more about Ellicott City newest author?

Vacation From My Vacation

August 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Sometimes you just need to point out the obvious! A view from Tuolumne Meadow in Yosemite National Park in California.

Summer is drawing to a close.  The Back To School stuff is out in the stores.  Our vacation is over.  Time to push the reset button and get back into the regular groove.  I love the end of summer and start of autumn.  It feels like the new year and it holds all sorts of promise for the coming months ahead.

We’ve been on an epic vacation this summer and now that we’re home, I’ve got reset everything from internal clocks to habits to getting things accomplished professionally.

Take a vacation to recover from the vacation.   I deliberately didn’t schedule anything this week.  Nor did I have high hopes for my output so I didn’t have a To Do list for this week.  We’re home and we’re taking care of laundry, unpacking, grocery shopping, and other errands, but my goal has been only one or two things daily.

Resetting good habits.  We have a variety of habits from eating right to exercising that were haphazardly adhered to on our trip.  I am not going to get all of them reset at one time so I have prioritized and am focused on one at a time.  First up, resetting our internal clocks from Mountain & Pacific Time back to Eastern.  That’s been hard especially for my second grader.

Resetting the budget.   We have a budget and I track our spending monthly so we can ensure we’re meeting our goals.  The vacation was outside the norm of regular spending and I have to stop the habit of whipping out the credit card.  We’re not on vacation anymore and I need to return to my habits of shopping lists and staying out of stores, thus “stopping the shopping momentum” as discussed by writer Sierra Black at Get Rich Slowly.

The To Do List.  I love my To Do List.  It keeps me sane.  This week as things have drifted up into my consciousness, I have jotted them down on the list to get to.  My list is a sheet of paper with columns where I create categories and slot the task into the appropriate place.  It looks a little like this.  My list this week is more of a brain dump of things to do and it’s helpful to write it down knowing I won’t forget it.

Get elementary.  I ran across this great idea of creating door hangers with chores written on clothespins from Lora at My Blessed Life.  Now, I know this is for kids, but I thought it would be fantastic for me to tackle of the some daily routines I want to cultivate.  I spent yesterday working on creating one for me to help me with some of my goals such as remembering to take my vitamins and trying to get my five servings of fruits and veggies (it’s harder than you might think!).  I can move the clip as I do something and a quick glance will show me what I still need to accomplish during the day.

My finished product. Not too cute but definitely gets to the point!

With the approaching start of the school year, the sight of fresh school supplies is tantalizing and promising.  This is the time of year when I review and renew my goals rather than waiting for New Year’s Day.  But, as we recover from our cross-country trip, I remember the words of the very wise Father Kemper, “Go easy on yourself!”  By jotting things down as they come to me, I can slot them into my to do list where I have time and energy.  I also know that by focusing on the basics of sleeping, eating, and exercising, I will have enough energy and brain power to tackle the other items on my list.

What about you?  Got any tips for recovering from vacation and resetting for the autumn?

Posted by: Heather Comstock

“The Monkey Dances for Money” and Other Sage Advice

May 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

There are so many great writers out there on the internet and we enjoy the other perspectives, not to mention great tips and tricks for managing career, finances, and time (not unlike the topic tracks at the Women’s Empowerment Conference – shameless plug!). Enjoy!

 Spring Cleaning Your Career

An employer hires you to solve his problems,” Sheffield says. “The single best indicator that you’re right for the job is an example of where you’ve solved other people’s problems.” We’ll continue to say it – You have to be able to communicate your value!

 Portfolio of Work

And speaking of communicating your value, creating a portfolio is a great way to do that. Even if you never carry it around with you, compile it and reference it when updating your resume and LinkedIn profile.  Its a great tool to help you keep track of your accomplishments.

 The Wrong Place and The Right Place To Win In Your Life

What REALLY matters? If you know, then you can evaluate opportunities to support what you value and your goals. Ultimately, you’ll be happier and more successful.

 How to Make Money Online

If you’ve ever been tempted to make money online, check out this post at Seth Godin’s blog with some fantastic advice on how to get started and what not to do!

 Trading Time for Money

The monkey dances for money” J. D. Roth is told by his Spanish tutor. His article tackles the psychology of how he chooses to spend his time and his money. Great perspective on how time, money, and finance are linked!

 What have you been reading? Are you following any great blogs? Share your favorite inspirational sites with us.

Navel Gazing to Action

March 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

Not the face of one given to introspection with action - or any action really. (Gratuitous cute cat photos work elsewhere on the internet, why not here?)

Navel gazing gets a bad rap.  The term conjures images of lack of inertia and laziness, but the truth of the matter is, navel gazing without learning anything is a waste.  Action without reflection is just as bad. We’ve commenced the planning process for the 2012 Women’s Empowerment Conference with our partners, makingCHANGE and this week we’ve engaged in some retrospective evaluation in order to make this year’s planning process easier. To turn thought to action, we have been working through the following process that you can adapt for your own use on your next project whether it is a work-related event or a personal change.

Keep a log during the project. Throughout the planning process, I kept a simple text file and when something would come up, I would make a note about it.  I have notes about things we should not do again and why, stuff that went really well, and ideas that we’d like to incorporate but just weren’t able to accommodate.

Debriefing.  A week or so after the conference, everyone involved in the planning sat down and hashed through the entire event.  We talked about what we really liked and what didn’t work quite as well.  We informally chatted with others who attended or who were involved to solicit feedback.  We repeated the debrief several months later when we started planning 2012 just to refresh and capture things that we thought of later.

Evaluations. During the event we asked attendees to complete an evaluation.  We had a good response and we took the time to review the comments. While it’s not easy to read a critical comments about something in which you invested a huge amount of effort, it is probably the best source for understanding the experience from the perspective of your attendee.

So, now what do we do?  Based on this process we are instituting some changes:

Work smarter, not harder – we discovered that we duplicated our efforts in some places or invested time and energy into some areas that didn’t really impact the end result.  We can’t do everything so we are going to focus on getting “bang for our buck” with our time and effort.

We are getting started earlier and we have a template – we are farther along in our planning process than we were last year.  For this year though, we have a template and we aren’t  starting from scratch to develop our documentation. If you can, re-use or adapt documents, timelines, and schedules to save time and effort.

What tasks or responsibilities do we like and dislike by taking an honest look at which tasks we individually enjoyed completing, we are able to play to our strengths and interests and among the group, all areas are  covered. If you don’t have the luxury of delegating something you dislike, own that you don’t enjoy it and plan your timeline accordingly. Perhaps tackle that task first with something you enjoy scheduled behind it to “reward” yourself.

Changes to the schedule – based on feedback from attendees, we are lengthening the workshop sessions to allow more time for everyone to engage with the content.  We also know that summer is a slow period and we’d like to have as much planning done as possible earlier so we don’t get slammed in late August.

Put ourselves in the shoes of the attendees – our goals haven’t changed and as we mentally walk through the pieces of the event, we ask ourselves if our plans work for someone who has no background on the event.  Is the information clear?  Will attendees be able to quickly identify locations and times?

We need more help –  we are not superheroes and we can’t realistically do everything.  Many hands make for light work as the saying goes and we concluded we need more volunteers to help.  If you’re interested, let us know!

How do you document a major project or life change to better understand the process?  How do you use that information for the next time?

The 2012 Women’s Empowerment Conference will be held on Friday, October 26th at the Sheraton in downtown Columbia.  If you are interested in volunteering or would like more information, please email info at! 

Posted by:  Heather Comstock

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