Say Yes. Think After.

(I posted this on LinkedIn on 4/5/2017.)

My son is a cancer survivor. Stay with me, this post is not about that. He was diagnosed with stage four cancer at age three. He beat the odds stacked against him and is now 11. I have been writing our memoir about that time for seven years. That’s not a typo. Years. There are all sorts of reasons and excuses for this, but if I’m truly honest with myself, the main reason is that… I stopped saying yes to myself.

I’ve been pretty unhappy in one area of my life. I allowed that stagnation to seep into every other aspect of who I am. I didn’t even know it was happening. I stopped listening to music in my car. I never took my full lunch hour, choosing instead to watch stupid TV while sitting at my desk. I gained weight. I gossiped with and about others (and I know they gossiped about me; if someone does it with you, they will do it about you). I was not creating.

A few weeks ago, in a moment of desperation (or clarity?), I signed up to participate in a “Pitchapalooza” event with The Book Doctors. I didn’t think I would get picked to pitch and honestly, I forgot I submitted my name. But, in that moment, I said yes. I would figure out the how later.

A few days before the event, I got an email outlining next steps. “Whoa boy, I guess I am doing this!” The pitch itself was one minute. Whhhhaaaat? One minute to summarize the most traumatic event of my life? I worked furiously. I wrote. I edited. I wrote and edited even more. I went inside and created. I wrote from the heart and it showed in my pitch. I didn’t think. I didn’t over-think. I walked on stage and told.

Here’s my Dear Boys pitch. (Please note that the video was captured by a dear friend of mine whom I recruited one hour before the event. He’s not a professional and my phone is a four year old Android, so be kind, thanks!)

The best things have come to me when I stopped thinking, or really, stopped doubting myself, and said yes. I said yes to the opportunity to stand in front of two incredibly helpful, thoughtful, and successful writers and tell our story. Then, I got three minutes of feedback from them. What a gift!

I learned two important lessons last week. 1: There is indeed an audience and a need for my book and I have the writing chops to make it happen. I will make it happen.

And more important, 2: Start saying yes. I need to think less and do more. Say yes to whatever creative outlet makes me feel alive. For me, those outlets are career coaching, writing, and obsessively redecorating the mantel in my family room. I’ve done a lot more of all three since the event last week. It was less than a week ago. I have made more progress on my memoir than I had in the last three months! Creativity fuels creativity. It is not a well that will dry out, it actually feeds itself.

Say yes first. Think after. Maybe. Say yes to yourself. I’d love to hear where your “yes” takes you!

P.S.- I also recently finished Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes, so I have no doubt that her advice was whispering to me when I signed up. I recommend her book to anyone feeling stuck and looking to make a leap.

#WisdomWednesday #amwriting #memoir #careercoaching #resumewriter

Applying means SOMEthing, but not everything

I have done a lot of job searching in my life. Some of them went well. Most didn’t, truth be told. I have applied for way more jobs than I have ever been offered jobs. In my years of searching and now coaching others, I have learned some important lessons. Applying for a job- new, lateral, promotion- means something. It means something, but it doesn’t mean everything.

Job searching is hard. It means something to put yourself into the market.


  • Applying/looking for a job is a full-time job. It’s work. Search, prepare unique resumes and cover letters for each one, wait, get your hopes up, repeat.
  • Do the work and put your best foot forward. That’s all you can do.
  • We tend to “what if” on the negative side of things. What if I don’t get this job? What if I do get it and my boss is awful?  What if I get it and I am awful? What if I get it and I hate it?
  • This “what iffing” is totally normal. It is human instinct to fear the unknown. But, don’t live there. Trust me, I’ve been there. It’s not pretty.
  • It takes courage to put yourself out there, let no one tell you any different.
  • Applying for jobs is an act of hope. You hope to get picked. You hope that they see in you all the things you see in yourself and they give you a shot.
  • Hope is a good thing.
  • Applying for jobs is draining. See bullet #1
  • Applying for jobs and not getting chosen is really draining.

Job searching is hard. It means something to put yourself into the market. But, it doesn’t mean everything.

Not everything

  • To even get to the phone interview stage is huge. It means you have made it past multiple screens (robots, more robots, and maybe a person or two) already. Congratulations! That is a big deal. We need to tell ourselves and each other that more often, I think.
  • You did the work. You put forward your best application. That is all you can do.
  • Your identity, your worth, your sense of self, your gift to the world has nothing to do with whether or not you got the job.
  • Your identity, your worth, your sense of self, your gift to the world has everything to do with who you are, how you treat people, and the legacy you leave.
  • Not getting a job isn’t personal. While it feels personal to you, it’s not about you personally. Ironic that I am saying this as I am a person who takes almost everything personally. But, I have fallen down this rabbit hole and beaten myself up over not getting picked. It’s like gym class and prom all over again. It sucks, sure. Let yourself be sad. Wallow for a bit with your yoga pants and NetFlix. And then move on.
  • There are hundreds of factors beyond your control- ageism, sexism, racism, nepotism, quotas, internal candidates, external candidates, “fit” (shudder)- that influence who gets picked.
  • The person doing the hiring has an agenda that may or may not ever be revealed to you. It may not even be their agenda. The agenda isn’t about you.
  • The most qualified, most educated, most skilled person doesn’t always get the job. The most qualified, most educated, most skilled person as deemed by the person(s) setting the agenda get the job.
  • Read the third bullet again.

You decide your worth. You decide your joy. Don’t let getting a job, or not getting a job, do the deciding for you.

If you need help with your resume, cover letter, or interview coaching, contact me: It’d be my honor to help you put your best foot forward.