All Posts by Lee Weisser

About the Author

Hi there! My name is Lee Weisser and my passion is to help others discover their life's passion. I've experienced many transitions in my own career journey, reinventing myself many times both by choice and by necessity. I have felt both the fear and excitement of trying something new. I can help you to discover the work you are really meant to do. Let's create More Happy Mondays! Find out more at Careers by Design.

Summer can boost your career
May 26

How Summer Can Help Boost Your Career!

By Lee Weisser | Find A Career That Fits

FIND A CAREER THAT FITS

Written by Lee Weisser, Career & Life Coach

How summer can boost your career!

It’s summer time – yay! Let’s wear our flip flops, put ice cubes in our drinks and dip our toes in the water.

The relaxing mode of summer can make us lazy about our big plans and career goals…or, it can help us move our careers forward.

Feeling relaxed can help us think more broadly about our challenges and be more open to new solutions.

Have you ever come back from a vacation with new clarity about a problem that had been bothering you?

Summer also affords us an opportunity to feel and express gratitude for where we are and what we have. Savour the warmth of the sun on your face, or take your cool drink to a shady spot and breathe in the scents of nearby flowering bushes. Enjoy the light-filled evenings with a walk or a bike ride.

Here’s where the real difference can come in…….

Start to notice your thoughts and feelings, not in judgement, but just as an observer.

How often do you feel negative? (I know I was surprised by how many negative thoughts and feelings are present in my everyday life.)

Barbara Frederickson, the author of the book, Positivity, has spent years researching and studying positive emotions. She and her colleagues have discovered scientific evidence that proves there are things we can all do to overcome negativity.

Hers is not a Pollyana approach; it acknowledges that it is normal and useful to have some negative emotions. Yet the power we have to increase our positive emotions can have huge results in our lives.

Dr. Fredrickson’s research indicates that a positivity ratio of 3 to 1 is a tipping point. This ratio divides those who merely get by in life from those who truly flourish. The 3-to-1 ratio of positive vs. negative thoughts can help us actually achieve our career dreams.

You probably already know that anxiety and depression restrict our thinking.

In fact, these conditions make us “stupid,” unable to move forward in our lives.

But when we recognize, encourage and repeat positive emotions, we can use this knowledge not only in our creative work, but also in how we choose to explore and shape our careers.

Actively practicing positive thoughts and feelings can shift your mindset and enable you to generate better career ideas.

Our positivity is not static. It varies from day to day, week to week.
To find out what your positivity ratio is today, go to Dr. Frederickson’s Positivity Self-Test:

http://www.positivityratio.com/single.php

What can you do this summer to increase positivity in your life and career?

I’d love to hear your ideas. Leave a comment below.

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Nov 17

Cultivating Hope For Your Career: 6 Tips to Stay Strong Through The Season

By Lee Weisser | Career Change

CAREER CHANGE

Written by Lee Weisser, Career & Life Coach, Careers by Design

Cultivating Hope For Your Career: 6 Tips to Stay Strong Through The Season

I’m not a gardener.

While I love having plants and flowers around me, once I’ve done an initial planting in the spring, I have no interest in tending to the garden while it grows. Weeding is always at the bottom of my to-do list.

But now, in late fall, I’m trying to get motivated to plant some bulbs to bloom next spring. I’d love to have daffodils in both the front and back gardens.

The problem for someone as impatient as me is that next spring seems awfully far away.

I really have trouble believing that if I dig up the ground now and plant bulbs while the skies are grey and menacing, and the leaves are gone from the trees, there really will be flowers next spring.

But the reality is that bulbs must have a long rest in the cold – they won’t flower without it. I guess it’s the same for long term planning. You really have to have faith that your efforts will create the results you want. And it doesn’t hurt to have some lucky weather along the way too.

So what do you need to create a long term plan that can keep you inspired and motivated?

Here are 6 tips to help you stay strong in your career plans:

1. Think of someone you admire who persevered through a long winter of doubt and successfully reached their goals. Their story can keep you going through periods of uncertainty.

2. Keep your vision top of mind. Just as some gardeners create a visual plan of when and where flowers will come into bloom, you can create a mantra or a picture of what you want to achieve and post it where you will see it every day.

3. Spend time immersed in good soil — people who will nurture your dreams. Ignore people who don’t support you. To get encouragement about planting my bulbs, I look to a friend who is a patient and caring gardener, someone who knows from experience that a garden takes years of loving attention to reach maturity.

4. Most gardens need a pathway constructed through them. Every long term plan needs stepping stones that are clearly marked and identified and are directed toward the goal.

5. Create a way to monitor progress. Although I can’t see my bulbs under the leaves and snow, I can see the winter months pass on my calendar and know that spring is coming.

6. Stay hopeful. Hope is not a plan, but it’s what inspires a plan. Gardeners know they have to do steady work all through the season, but they also live in hope that next year’s garden will be more magnificent than ever.

Imagine your long term plan is quietly and steadfastly unfolding every moment of every day.

Look and listen for the clues that reveal themselves when you persevere with your plan. It is a work of art and generates hope.

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Career Coaching from Famed Dancer, Pina Bausch
May 09

Career Coaching Advice From Famed Dancer, Pina Bausch

By Lee Weisser | Find A Career That Fits

FIND A CAREER THAT FITS

Written by Lee Weisser, Career & Life Coach

Career coaching advice from famed dancer, Pina Bausch.

Have you seen the film “Pina”?

It’s a 3-D performance piece/documentary about the late German dancer and choreographer, Pina Bausch.

It’s full of intense movement and intense emotion.

Pina was not just a dancer, but a multifaceted artist who worked from instinct rather than formality.

When she formed her dance company she did all the choreography herself. But in later years, her work evolved. She started asking the dancers to interpret her ideas in their own ways. She supported their creativity and full expression by encouraging them to be open to what might happen.

If she was not happy with the results, she would offer the instruction, “Search more.” In other words, go deeper, let go, embrace your emotions.

So, too, in the development of your creative career, your vulnerability can be your biggest ally. Being open is essential. Without it, you will become brittle and crumble into pieces.

You may be familiar with the concept of serendipity.

Serendipity means a happy accident or pleasant surprise, specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful without looking for it.

Although career development does require thoughtful planning, chance events also play a big part in our careers.

Being open to meeting new people, going to new places, and seeing with new eyes all help turn dreams into realities.

In the article “Planned Happenstance: Constructing Unexpected Career Opportunities” (Kathleen E. Mitchell, Al S. Levin, John D. Krumboltz, in Journal of Counselling & Development, Spring 1999, Volume 77), the authors state that making career serendipity work for you takes five personal characteristics:

• curiosity
• persistence
• flexibility
• optimism
• risk taking

Which of these characteristics are you most comfortable with?
Which could you stretch into?

Think of at least one action you can take each day to increase these characteristics in yourself.

Your career will evolve on its own unique path, fluctuating between multiple periods of stability and change. Be ready.

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How to Build Courage On Your Career Journey
Dec 23

How to Build Courage On Your Career Journey

By Lee Weisser | Career Change

BEAT WORK RELATED STRESS NOW

Written by Lee Weisser, Career & Life Coach

How do you build courage on your career journey?

Do you have a gremlin in your head telling you what you could have done or should have done to move your career forward - if only you were more productive, a better person, smarter, more creative, with more courage or [any other quality]?

We all have an ‘inner critic’ that tells us we’ve missed out on opportunities or failed to do what’s necessary to be successful – in essence, that we are not ‘enough’ as we are.

This message comes to us from our own minds, and usually has a long history that involves negative messages received from other people and/or our contemporary culture.

This negative thought process can become a default mechanism that rears its head whenever we find ourselves in difficult circumstances.

These thoughts and feelings keep us stuck in a perceived past and unable to break free.

The best help I have found on working through these emotions comes from researcher and author Brené Brown.

She has studied the issues of shame, perfectionism, anxiety and vulnerability over the past decade – and shares her personal struggles as well as those of the many people she has interviewed.

Her book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead, continues the conversation about how we can learn to engage the world by being our authentic selves – and not be afraid.

Brown’s main point is that courage comes from vulnerability, which at first seems counterintuitive. We usually equate courage with strength.

But in order to be open to new possibilities, you first have to be willing to acknowledge feelings of hurt, disappointment and fear.

That is the starting point for the path to joy, creativity and meaningful work.

Brown has a unique gift of communicating these hopeful concepts in a remarkable way. Read any of her books or blog posts and you will come away with a better capacity to accept yourself — just as you are.

PS – Finding a safe space to acknowledge these feelings is one of the reasons that people seek out a coach. A coach provides acceptance, not judgment. And only when our feelings are accepted can we move forward to a new place.

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Doing What Matters In The Second Half Of Life
Nov 27

Doing What Matters In The Second Half Of Life

By Lee Weisser | Career Change

CAREER CHANGE

Written by Lee Weisser, Career & Life Coach

Doing what matters in the second half of life.

You’ve had a career. You’ve had a family. You have some significant accomplishments under your belt. Maybe you’ve even earned some public recognition in Life. Now what?

If you’re feeling unsure about what to do in the next phase of your life, you’re not alone.

We’re living longer and living healthier. Many of us want or need to keep working – but we want to do it on our own terms.

And, we want it to be meaningful.  I find myself reconnecting with the interests and activities of my youth. It’s both an eerie and welcoming feeling.

The pursuits I put on the shelf for many years are now finding their way back into my heart – and I’m listening.

I was involved in the world of contemporary dance for many of my younger years.

Dancing and choreographing fed my soul.

I want to get that back, but my body reacts in pain to the movements I used to do so easily.

I have come to realize that it may not be the actual activities that I can or want to do again, but the feelings they brought me – spiritual connection, flow, appreciation for life.

So, my challenge now is to find new activities to engage my spirit that will give me these same feelings.

What about you? What are you craving? Maybe you want to share what you’ve learned through a lifetime of challenges and accomplishments.

Perhaps you want your heart and mind to be engaged and active. Maybe you want to make a lasting contribution, something you will be remembered for.

  • Take stock of your current strengths, skills and interests.
  • Which would you like to use?
  • There are part time jobs, contract work, volunteer opportunities – these are just some of the choices available to you.
  • Use your networks to find people who think like you and share your goals. 

It’s time to get started on your new beginning.

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How to choose your own career path and be happy with it
Nov 04

How To Choose Your Own Career Path And Be Happy With It

By Lee Weisser | Find A Career That Fits

FIND YOUR CAREER FIT

Written by Lee Weisser, Career & Life Coach

How to choose your own career path and be happy with it.

Are you thinking about a new approach towards your career? Want to break out of your rut and try something new? A better path? Want to start your own business?

Maybe this is the year you will make a big step forward.

In fact, you may have so many good ideas you can’t decide which one to pursue.

You’re not alone. Lots of us can usually generate tons of ideas on a moment’s notice.

We get really excited – passionate even – about bringing these ideas to fruition. But somewhere along the way it’s easy to get stalled.

Here’s what can help: Getting focused.

Activities that demand your full sensory awareness of the present moment help calm the chaos in your mind.

A daily practice of yoga or mindfulness meditation may help you feel centered and able to concentrate on one thing at a time. Mental imagery or visualization is another technique — often used by athletes — to achieve the best possible state of mind for peak performance.

Give yourself some quiet time in a space you love.

Whatever technique you choose, the secret is to make your practice a daily habit. When you do, these new patterns become embedded in your brain and your body.

Over time they require less conscious effort to carry out. Recent discoveries in neuroscience confirm that whatever we repeatedly give attention to will become hard-wired in our brains.

When your mind is quiet you will be capable of thinking more clearly and more deeply.

You’ll be able to weigh various options against the values that are really important to you, values such as: creativity, freedom, recognition, variety, working with others, helping society, achievement.

What do you need for your work life?  Here are some tips to get started.

  • If you can’t think of anything, start with what you don’t want in your work (like a boss breathing down your neck)…and then turn that into a positive characteristic (like autonomy).
  • When you put your thoughts down on paper they start to become real. When you discuss them with others, they take on actual shape and dimension.
  • Identifying your dreams is the first step in choosing your own path. It is a powerful way to take more control of your life.

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Hope is a Choice
Oct 14

Hope is a Choice

By Lee Weisser | Beat Work Related Stress Now

BEAT WORK RELATED STRESS NOW

Written by Lee Weisser, Career & Life Coach

Hope is a choice – what does that mean?

When your body feels so heavy you can’t seem to take a step, hope hangs out there on a limb that is just beyond your reach.

When you feel so discouraged that you believe all doors are closed to you, hope is like a far-away planet that you can barely glimpse.

So how can hope be a choice?

Several years ago I faced a huge transition that included marital separation, a move across the country, and looking for work that would meet expenses for me and my daughter.

I had wonderful support from family and friends, but still felt unsure of how my life would ever come together again.

There seemed to be just too many losses to overcome.Just when I was at the point of desperation, I received a call offering me a 6-month contract job for which I had applied. I took it, and it turned into a four-year gig with an organization where the people were both fun and compassionate.

What did I learn?It’s okay to cry until you think you will break, it’s okay to mourn your losses, it’s okay to struggle over and over again, and finally, it’s okay to trust – trust in yourself and in the world around you.

I’m a great planner, but when all hell broke loose in my personal life, the plans met their match.

I had to let go of the former dream, and start taking actions one step at a time towards a new dream.

The more open you are to hope, the more likely it is to help you find your way.

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The Secret Ingredient + 10 Tips for Career Transition
Oct 03

The Secret Ingredient + 10 Tips for Career Transition

By Lee Weisser | Find A Career That Fits

FIND YOUR CAREER FIT

Written by Lee Weisser, Career & Life Coach

The Secret Ingredient + 10 Tips For Career Transition.

Want to know how to transition well between jobs & careers?

As an optimist, I tend to expect success to come quickly on a creative project if I take the right steps.

I’ve contacted the right people, and I’ve done the work I need to do.

Why aren’t things working out as I expected?

The reality is that my optimism may actually be hurting me because I give up too quickly.

If I don’t get immediate results I lose confidence in my abilities and in my dreams.

If you’ve been working for a long time at getting a creative project off the ground or growing a business, it’s easy to become discouraged when your efforts don’t seem to be paying off. What can you do?

At a small business arts forum in Toronto a panel of creative artists was asked how they became successful. The factor mentioned most often?

Persistence.

Persistence is the ability to continue in the face of obstacles, such as contracts being cancelled, sponsors withdrawing support, or promising projects that fail to materialize.

“Studies indicate that the one quality all successful people have is persistence. They’re willing to spend more time accomplishing a task and to persevere in the face of many difficult odds.” – Dr. Joyce Brothers

So, the point is, it’s neither talent nor money that will determine your success, but your willingness to keep trying even when there seems to be no logical reason to do so.

Here are more tips from the Small Business Arts Forum that apply to individuals in career transition as well as artists and small business owners:

  • Be sure to have at least 10 “irons in the fire” because only one or two of them will come through.
  • Brand yourself with a key message that presents your unique offering.
  • Keep pursuing clarity in your “voice”, continually trying to capture the essence of your message.
  • Associate yourself with colleagues who will push you beyond your comfort zone.
  • Build up a body of work and a reputation for what you do and what you’re good at.
  • Build personal relationships with potential employers/customers and sponsors.
  • Find something you can give to them before asking for something you need.
  • Use social media to build your online presence.
  • Team up with people who have strengths that you don’t.Love yourself enough to keep trying.
  • Be both persistent and patient. As the saying goes, “It takes five to ten years to become an overnight success!”

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Life Sculpted by Sea and Sand - Careers by Design
Sep 10

Life Sculpted by Sea and Sand

By Lee Weisser | Find A Career That Fits

A Creative Life

I recently vacationed in PEI, Canada, where I met Peter Llewellyn, a well-known artisan. Just six years ago, Peter left his work in the fish plant business with no idea of what he would do next. Returning home to PEI after an absence of 30 years, he had no hobbies and no particular skills outside of the business world.

It was through his family and friends that Peter came to have a connection with seaglass, pieces of old bottles and jars that wash up on the shore after years of being pounded by currents, tides and sand. Seaglass comes in many colours and dates from the 18th to early 20th centuries when sailing ships regularly visited the Island.

Peter discovered he was attracted to seaglass. Seeing a pendant made with it gave him the idea to try his own hand at making jewellery. With no previous experience, and no equipment, he started experimenting.

Life Sculpted by Sea and Sand - Careers by DesignCourtesy of www.shorelinedesignpei.com

In his first year he was prolific, creating 58 different products. Today Peter has a large business and is recognized for his work all over the world. I asked him what has contributed to his success.

First, he embraces all the skills he has learned throughout his life, including the business and marketing experience he acquired in his previous career.

Second, he doesn’t limit his art to one modality. Although he started with jewellery, he now uses many media including carving sandstone and soapstone. He intentionally experiments and tries new things; partly because he is self-taught, he isn’t restricted about what he thinks he can do.

And third, he has a strong personality and is not afraid to stand out. He has built a unique brand that includes welcoming people into his studio to create their own treasures with his designs, and teaching crafts to children in his local community.

Peter’s life is a reminder and living example of how each of us can creatively bring all our skills and experiences together in a unique way. The clue is to be open to where the tides take us…

To find out more about Peter Llewellyn, go to http://www.shorelinedesignpei.com

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Joy Riding - Careers by Design
Sep 07

Joy Riding

By Lee Weisser | Beat Work Related Stress Now

BEAT WORK RELATED STRESS NOW

Written by Lee Weisser, Career & Life Coach

Joy Riding...

Have you ever been told to lighten up?

I know I have. I have a tendency to get way too serious about myself. We need to have joy in life.

It’s good to take our dreams and goals seriously—but it’s not good to take ourselves seriously.

When we take ourselves seriously we worry unnecessarily about our own survival. Worry makes us anxious. And anxiety drains our energy.

We lose our creative spark. We feel weighted down. We feel stuck. Every task feels overwhelming.

When you’re feeling like this, wouldn’t it be great to get back a feeling of lightness, openness and positive energy?

One technique I recommend is remembering the feelings you had as a child doing your favourite activities.

Picture yourself doing something that was pure fun.

What childhood activity made you feel great?

Close your eyes and try to recreate those positive feelings in your mind and heart. Who are you with? What are the sights and sounds you remember? What feelings rise to the surface?

Now, savour those feelings. Allow them to linger. Aahhh… feel your body, mind and heart open up to possibility. Be like a kid again.

You can use this technique whenever you’re feeling too serious.

(One of my good memories is riding my bike to the corner store for a Popsicle on carefree summer days. I loved the feelings of independence and mastery.)

So whatever challenge you’re facing today, allow yourself to feel like a kid at play. It will lift your spirits and give you courage for the road ahead.

I’m going out to ride my bike and feel the wind against my face. Hallelujah!

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