Internet Inspirations: Last Gasp for Winter

March 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

Winter's last gasp!

Winter’s last gasp!

Enjoy these interesting reads from around the internet as we wait for spring to evict winter from Maryland!

Here’s some great tips over at PT Money about checking out a potential employer’s approach to work/life balance. Even in this tight job market, it is still important to align jobs with your values.

We’ve written about how Craig’s List can be a great source for job listings, but as we mentioned, do your due dilligence. The Job Bait scam is described in this Wise Bread article. Use common sense and be careful about what personal information you share.

This article is part of a series on Women and Money over at Bargaineering.com and includes some good ways to keep your professional life moving forward even when you’re out of the traditional 9 to 5.

I loved, loved this article at the Jane Dough weighing in on the whole women and working debate that has been raging lately. The title alone is fantastic: “Why We Don’t Need Any More Female Billionaires Telling Us How To Have It All”. I really like the point Colette McIntyre makes that not all women have the same advantages as billionaire CEO’s and where are the men in this conversation?

And for something completely different…

I thoroughly enjoyed this guest post over at Mr. Money Mustache from David Cain entitled, “How To Walk Across A Parking Lot.” No, really. Read it and think about it.

Posted by: Heather C.

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Internet Inspirations: Spring is Coming Edition

February 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

Get inspired to spring into March! Photo (c) Heather Comstock 2013.

Get inspired to spring into March! Photo (c) Heather Comstock 2013.

It is the end of February. The groundhog predicted an early spring. The daffodils are up and the grackles are cackling in the trees of my neighborhood. As the weather turns warmer, here’s some inspiration to kickstart your March from around the internet!

Over on Jon Acuff’s blog, he’s got a great piece of the power of finding 30 minutes a day to move forward on fulfilling your dreams! John notes that “rescuing the first 30 minutes” is the hardest.

On the Harvard Business Review blog, Peter Bergman gives you “Nine Practices to Help You Say No”. When you say no, you create space to allow yourself to “Yes” to something more important.

While this advice may seem counter-intuitive when job searching, Learnvest has a great rundown on Signs You Shouldn’t Take That Job. Employment situations should be a good fit for both you and the employer for long-term success!

PEC Boardmember Cheryl Pullins has a great post on her blog about how to pry your ego out of the driver’s seat so you can move forward fulfilling your dreams. Plus, bonus Kool Moe Dee reference!

 

 

 

Taking A Financial Road-trip….

February 1, 2013 § 1 Comment

What is your financial road trip style?

Your road trip style can be a guide for planning your financial goals! (photo (c) 2012 Heather Comstock)

Just a few weeks ago, we marked the start of 2013.   There was the usual excitement about the New Year and enthusiasm for reforming habits.  Each year, commitments around improving personal finances make up more than 1/3 of all resolutions. As the weeks wear on though, the holiday bills come due, the heating bill soars and sticking to your goal seems impossible.   You are not alone. Nearly 1/2 of resolution-makers abandon their plans before January closes.  But, getting back on track may not be as tough as it seems. Reflecting on how you navigate through life may help you adjust your money management habits and increase your chances of success.

Remember, life is one big road trip…and that includes your financial life.   The way you plan for getting to your destination behind the wheel tells a lot about your personality.   Are you lost without your GPS, or do your prefer plot your route with your trusty-map and highlighter in hand?  Think about how you travel the road and apply it to your finances.

GPS’ers:  Plug in your destination, decide on a catchy name for your computer generated voice (Gertrude is mine) and do EXACTLY what she tells you.  Autopilot all the way!  She’ll get you there for sure (although you may be routed through Canada along the way from Chicago to Boston).  Never fear though, you WILL arrive at your destination in time to enjoy a cup of “chowdah”.

If you are a GPS traveler when it comes to money, you need to find tools to automate your financial life. To control your budget, use your bank’s automatic bill-paying service.   Take advantage of retirement plans offered by your employer and sign up for the automatic paycheck deductions into the plan.  Ask your employer if you can split your paycheck into two bank accounts.  Use one for your monthly expenses, and allocate the remainder to a second account earmarked just for saving.

Map-Maven:  Do you love to gaze at the crisscrossing patterns of the roads?  When someone mentions a legend, do you instinctively look for the little box at the bottom of a page, rather than Tony Bennett? Does the feel of damp paper soaked with yellow highlighter ink bring a smile to your face?

If you answered yes, you definitely prefer hands-on control of your road trip, and will probably enjoy taking personal control of your financial life as well.   For you, a program like Mint (www.mint.com) will allow you to analyze exactly how you spend your money so you can improve and track your progress each month.   A program like StickK (www.stickK.com) incentivizes you to reach your goals (financial and otherwise).  Most people who use StickK select a financial penalty (although it’s not required) for wavering from their goals. But, the program allows you to pay your penalty to a loved one or donate it to one of 8 selected charities. (For instance, if dining out is what derails your budget, set a StickK goal to spend less than $100 a month on eating out or pay a $10 penalty.) Programs like Smarty Pig (www.smartypig.com) and Payoff (www.payoff.com) offer a game-like atmosphere for setting and achieving your saving and debt-reduction goals.

Start by knowing the type of road-trip navigator you are, and apply the same style to your financial life. But most of all, don’t quit.   February is almost here! Even if you have had a detour in your financial plans in the past couple of weeks, find the tools that work for you and get back on the road to financial success.

This guest-post is by long-time friend of Pinnacle,  Michelle B. Glassburn.  Michelle is a non-profit executive, financial education advocate, and mother of two based outside of Boston, Massachusetts.  You can follow Michelle on Twitter @M_Glassburn.

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.

 

Possibilities and Opportunity: Where your talents and the needs of the world intersect

January 3, 2013 § 2 Comments

By Lisa Dolce

New Year’s Day has always been a day of reflection for me for as long as I can remember.

Find the intersection where your talents meet the needs of the world!

Find the intersection where your talents meet the needs of the world!

I celebrate the successes as well as the learning that came from the challenges of the past year. I take a deep breath in and exhale anything that may be holding me back and then breathe in all the possibilities of the coming new year.

The last few years have been tough for many of us personally and professionally. There seemed to be much that was out of our control. The good news is that not everything is out of our control. One of my favorite quotes comes from Aristotle, he said, “Ones purpose is knowing where your talents intersect with the needs of the world”.

The job market may still be tight but it is not without it’s needs, possibility and opportunity. So the big question is where do your talents intersect?

For some of us it may be the perfect time to reinvent ourselves. You have probably known for a long time that it was time to do something else, but it never seemed to be the “right” time to do it.

It may be a career change, going back for that degree or finally starting that business you’ve been talking about. Now is the time.

For others it might be time to find more meaning or balance in their work and in their lives. What are we chasing after and why? What beliefs or dreams are we holding onto that no longer serve us?

So as we enter 2013, breathe in all the possibilities this new year has to offer, and take the time to clarify what your talents are and how you can share them to fill a need in this new economy. Make a list of your top skills that you already have and ways you can reconfigure them to meet the opportunities that the new job market will yield–then go out and explore, network with others and learn what new jobs will emerge as government bail-out plans unfold, companies restructure and new leadership takes over.

And to help get you started, and as a New Year’s gift to you, the Pinnacle Empowerment Center is offering free monthly career clubs, empowerment circles.Come join us and other career seekers for inspiration, motivation and strategies for matching your talents with the needs of our community.

Wishing you a new year filled with exciting possibilities and opportunity!

Need a Holiday Time Out?

December 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

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Ready for a break from the holidays? Join us on 12/12/12 for an informal evening of delicious nibbles and great company to refocus, re-center, and re-energize yourself!

The holiday music and commercials started the day after Halloween.  Christmas trees and Halloween costumes and candy were side by side in stores.  The holidays seem to arrive earlier and earlier each year.  Everywhere you turn there are commercials exhorting us to buy and cook our way into the hearts and minds of those around us!  Can the holidays live up to they hype?

 

  • Would you like to not just SURVIVE the holidays but THRIVE?
  • Want to figure out ways to protect your time and energy for things that are truly important?
  • Need help setting boundaries with difficult people?

Join the coaches of the Pinnacle Empowerment Center on Wednesday, December 12 at 6:00 p.m. and spend some time with other like-minded ladies for a time out from the holiday madness!  Come eat, drink, and mingle with us as we discuss and share ways to keep from getting overwhelmed and reconnect with the purpose of the season.  Here’s a taste of what we came up with just informally discussing how to survive the holidays:

  • Not everything has to be perfect!
  • Take a few minutes every day to bring joy to someone.
  • View the holiday festivities as “optional” rather than “required”. You can’t be everywhere.
  • Make sure you make time to get together with people who inspire you – surround yourself positive energy.
  • Don’t take it personally – realize that others around you are stressed and reacting to the holiday drama themselves, its not you. Don’t get drawn into it.
  • Don’t discuss politics, education or money. If these come up, excuse yourself and indulge in another piece of pie!
  • Keep it simple – don’t let the holiday momentum overtake you or allow others to push you into things or events you don’t want to do.
  • Refocus the holiday away from the material and on sharing the traditions with those you love. Even starting a new tradition can bring joy.
  • Let others help . Delegate or hire out tasks you don’t enjoy or don’t have time to do.

Take a holiday time out for yourself and join us for a wonderful evening to help you re-focus, re-center, and re-energize yourself for the holidays!  Complimentary coaching sessions are available so bring a friend! For more information visit our website or contact us at 410-799-1097 or info (at) empowerctr.org!

Posted by:  Heather C.

Finding More Than a Lost Purse

November 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

This is a post from Coach Maria Shepard-Smith who shared this story about an unexpected Christmas Eve Time Out during a discussion about why the holidays seem to get crazier every year.  We hope you’ll enjoy as much as we did!

Maria finds an unexpected refuge and gift while looking for her missing purse!  Photo credit: Daderot (Daderot) [CC0 or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

 Many years ago I was rushing around at the holiday season on Christmas Eve doing my last minute shopping, after work of course, in Macy’s NYC on 34thSt. I wasn’t alone, unfortunately there were hundreds of others doing the same thing …what were they doing here…didn’t they finish up early…why were they in my way?

Needless to say, I was harried and rushed and thinking about the hundreds of things I had to do before Christmas day…yes just a measly 6.1/2 hours hence.

Well “I went in” as they sometimes say, you know you hear it all the time ’I am going in’ …knowing just knowing you might not survive the ordeal. Or worse, for me at that moment, that I might not get ‘just the right present’ to add to the lovely holiday spirit and sense of peacefulness that is always being touted at this time of the year, which for me was, at that moment, quickly evaporating.

Yes! I was at the very place where many of us end up, for one reason or another, when it is least expected, and when we can least afford it emotionally…at the brink of extreme angst.

Well, I did survive and in a way that I did not even think was possible when I finally left the store 3 hours later and headed home at the end of the evening.

In the midst of my harried rushing about I had forgotten the real meaning of the season.

As I made my way down the Subway station stairs to catch the train home, I fumbled with my packages and shopping bags for my purse to get a token for the fare. In less then 2 seconds, I realized … I DID NOT HAVE MY PURSE!

I rushed back up the stairs of the Subway, through hoards of folks headed down the stairs. I hurried into Macy’s trying to remember where I could have put my purse down ….you just don’t do that at the height of the shopping season in NY. Well I decided to retrace my steps…going backwards. I made my way to the 7th floor restroom…the last place I had been before leaving the store.

I rushed into the restroom went through the sitting area and checked the stalls…I knocked on the stall that I had used and asked the woman if she saw my purse hanging on the hook behind the door. ‘No ‘she said, ‘there’s nothing here. For a moment, I didn’t believe her, but then I knew that it had to be true…what was she going to do…stuff it in her bag, (in those days my purse a pretty fair size).

Well, with a sinking feeling in my stomach, I began thinking about how I was going to get home. Well, I thought, I’ll give a sob story to the policeman or clerk at the booth. They would let me on the train. After all, it was Christmas Eve. They weren’t going to hold me hostage for the fare…which at that time was .35 cents. Plus, by the time I would have gotten down to the Subway, after my search, I would look like such a sad sack they would take pity on me.

Then of course I began to make a mental list of what important things I had in my purse…not much money…only one credit card…and various other items we all carry in a wallet. The thought of having to plow through the task of unraveling the event of a lost wallet etc. was too much for me.

For some reason, I didn’t lose it, my sanity that is. I just began to settle down. After all, what choice did I have?

With a resigned feeling, I turned to leave the bathroom area to make my way to the other departments in the store where I had shopped. ‘I’ll give it a try,’ I told myself…knowing full well that it would be a futile attempt…but I had to try. I continued ruminating as I walked towards the door to the sitting room. “I’ll head for the ‘lost and found’ department before I leave too,” I said to myself.

As I did so, the matron for the women’s room came into the bathroom area from the outer sitting room. She was a tiny elderly woman with grey hair and glasses. I asked if she had seen a purse. ‘What color?’ she asked. ‘Black’, I replied with a ray of hope. “And how much money was in the purse?” she asked. ‘About two dollars”, I said. ‘Come with me’ she said. She walked me through another door into a small windowless room connected to the sitting area. In this room there were a small table and chairs and some of the restroom supplies. “Is this it?” she asked, as she handed me my purse. I was stunned. Not because she had it, but because it just seemed absolutely impossible that I would get that bag back at all.

I was profuse with my thanks. Perhaps she realized that I had reached the other side of panic, numbness, because she asked me to have tea with her…right there in her little space…and I did. This was a space she used to rest and perhaps to have her meals. She heated water on a small electric burner and took out an English teapot with two matching teacups. As I listened to her tell me a little about her life, while we sipped our tea, I felt a growing sense of peace and gratitude. I had been given a gift…in this little room, sipping tea in bone china teacups with a kind and gentle spirit. I had come upon a refuge…metaphorically and literally.

At the time I was grateful for having been given this moment. I was grateful too because I was able to give her, at that moment…a little gift of companionship on Christmas Eve.

I realized at the time and in looking back at that Christmas Eve, that the genuine meaning of the season or the greater gift is to give of oneself in a simple way.

I also received a bequest, not just a reminder to retreat from the hustle and bustle and share quiet and touching moments with others, but a series of more poignant gifts that reveal themselves each time I relive the experience of sitting in that little room.

When I look back at this experience in my life, and I often do, I realize it has become an allegory for me. It was a moment where I learned something that continues to touch my ‘soul’; something about life and how to ‘be’ beyond the moment. It is something that I cannot cognitively explain, except to say that I feel like I experienced a spiritual connection with humanity.

Finally, the memory of this event continues to touch me deeply because, for me, it is a lens through which other difficult events and experiences can be seen and transformed; transformed from a lost cause to a hopeful resolution, from calamity to a silver lining, from disaster to re-birth.

It has many meanings and lessons and I hope it will touch you all in a way to help you move into and through this special season of the year, and perhaps through any trying a time, with the ability to create a sense of peace within yourself as well as for those around you.

Perhaps the experience was a cue to remind me that we have a greater connection to one another than we are aware of or care to believe. Perhaps it was the pathway to the work I do now. Perhaps it is a chance for me to pass on the awareness that we are all in some way responsible or maybe even destined to support and nurture one another. Perhaps once we start to do this we will all be in a better place as I was in that little room in Macy’s NYC, sipping tea with a kind and gentle soul.

Join Maria and other life coaches and career coaches at a holiday gathering at the Pinnacle Empowerment Center and Refocus, Re-center and Re-energize. Take a break from the holiday chaos and join us for some cheer and inspiration as we wind down the year. Come drink, eat and mingle with us as we discuss and share ways to keep from getting overwhelmed and reconnect with the purpose of the season.

**Complimentary coaching sessions** available

Please bring a friend!

When: Wednesday December 12th at 6:00pm

Location: 8180 Lark Brown Road, Suite 301, Elkridge, MD 21075

For more information visit click here!

Maria Shepard-Smith is a Life and Career Coach with 15 years of experience coaching and training individuals and empowering them to find their own answers. Coaching is a way of encouraging and supporting clients on their path as they continue to make important choices in life and in their careers. Tune in for more on about how coaching works and how you can benefit! Call Maria at 410-799-1097 ext 304 or email her at maria@empowerctr.org.

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