FireworksIt’s been a long time coming, but this is the day!  As comes the time in most organizations, there’s a need for an upgrade. I’ve been blogging on WordPress.com for almost four years, and have also had my own website which I designed myself. I’ve also had some videos and podcasts in various places, but it’s all been scattered. Now, I’ve finally put it all together!

Behold! The new Resonare.com!

In the last few months, I’ve been working with Bob Sink of WebworksNYC on the design and the content (I cannot praise him enough publicly!) and I’m quite pleased with what we’ve accomplished, and hope you will be too!

Here’re the new features you’ll be able to find there:

Additionally, here are many other features that you can find and interact with all the ways that you connect Spirit, Passion and Career:

  • I’ve given a number of talks on podcasts, and you can link to them on the In The Media page, or listen to them directly on the Audio Archives page.
  • I’m known as a specialist in working with creative entrepreneurs, career changers, and the LGBT community.  Check out how I work with each of these special communities.
  • I’ve been lucky to have a number of people say good things about me, and you can read some of their comments on my Testimonials page.
  • People often want to take a “test” to tell them what they should do.  While you really have the answer inside you (and I just help dig it out), I do use a number of Assessments that help us figure out what’s important to you.
  • Want to know a little bit more about my journey to being a career professional, and how I tend to approach career development? Check out the About Ken and Philosophy pages.
  • On every page, there are links to my Twitter feed, Facebook Page, Google+ Page, YouTube Channel, and more.  And of course, if you see something, I do hope that you’ll share it with others.
  • The Meditate Mass 351 Challenge has its own page now.
  • Some of my most popular articles are now made easier to find in the Articles Menu. There are 35 of them in the subjects of Spirit, Passion, Productivity, Resumes, Networking, Job Search and Interviewing!

This new website will be a vehicle for me to showcase so many things about how to be more in touch with your calling, and how to make that manifest in the world. I have a lot of hopes and dreams that now I have a platform to make them happen.

So, what are your hopes and dreams? Go to

It’s been a long time coming, but this is the day!  As comes the time in most organizations, there’s a need for an upgrade. I’ve been blogging on WordPress.com for almost four years, and have also had my own website which I designed myself. I’ve also had some videos and podcasts in various places, but it’s all been scattered. Now, I’ve finally put it all together!

Behold! The new Resonare.com!

In the last few months, I’ve been working with Bob Sink of WebworksNYC on the design and the content (I cannot praise him enough publicly!) and I’m quite pleased with what we’ve accomplished, and hope you will be too!

Here’re the new features you’ll be able to find there:

Additionally, here are many other features that you can find and interact with all the ways that you connect Spirit, Passion and Career:

  • I’ve given a number of talks on podcasts, and you can link to them on the In The Media page, or listen to them directly on the Audio Archives page.
  • I’m known as a specialist in working with creative entrepreneurs, career changers, and the LGBT community.  Check out how I work with each of these special communities.
  • I’ve been lucky to have a number of people say good things about me, and you can read some of their comments on my Testimonials page.
  • People often want to take a “test” to tell them what they should do.  While you really have the answer inside you (and I just help dig it out), I do use a number of Assessments that help us figure out what’s important to you.
  • Want to know a little bit more about my journey to being a career professional, and how I tend to approach career development? Check out the About Ken and Philosophy pages.
  • On every page, there are links to my Twitter feed, Facebook Page, Google+ Page, YouTube Channel, and more.  And of course, if you see something, I do hope that you’ll share it with others.
  • The Meditate Mass 351 Challenge has its own page now.
  • Some of my most popular articles are now made easier to find in the Articles Menu. There are 35 of them in the subjects of Spirit, Passion, Productivity, Resumes, Networking, Job Search and Interviewing!

This new website will be a vehicle for me to showcase so many things about how to be more in touch with your calling, and how to make that manifest in the world. I have a lot of hopes and dreams that now I have a platform to make them happen.

So, what are your hopes and dreams? Go to http://resonare.com/a-new-day-for-resonare-com/ leave a comment!

 

As a native Bostonian (or at least Bay Stater), I often meet people who are from another part of the country and state that Bostonians are cold and mean, unlike people from other parts of the country, and that I’m “different and not like them”. I counter that I’m exactly like the other natives here, but as I have to translate concepts so often in my work, I’m better able to articulate the differences to others in terms they understand. After a particularly interesting talk I ad on Friday (thanks David!), I figured that it world probably be best for me to put my thoughts on writing. This post is basically a continuation or further development of my post on Chilly New Englanders.

My main point is that New Englanders have good boundaries. Sometimes a little to recalcitrant and difficult to penetrate, but they are are a part of who we are. We’re pretty aware of others and when we’re being invited in, and when we’re bring intruded. We give people space and wait for them to give us a signal. This Is very different from the warm welcome that most people from the Southern US do automatically. A comment I heard from a Southerner is that they want to be seen as welcoming. From a Northerner’s perspective, it’s an invasion. We want to know who we’re talking to, and what connections there might be.  My mind goes back to a very old formality that used to be common: The Calling Card.

It used to be in ages past, if you were going into a new city or starting in a new community, you would bring a calling card with you that introduced you to people and it would be from someone that they already had a relationship with.  You then knew that this new person was one that you already had something in common with.  While it might have been one of “good breeding” back in those days, a big thing was that you could talk about the same things.

In our modern times, we have the same thing.  Think about Yelp, Amazon, or any of the major social media sites.  You can ask about a business, product, or person, and figure out what their reputation is.  You don’t just pick up any book, movie, restaurant menu, etc.  You’re usually looking to see if you have some connection to it.  Has this actor performed in something else you liked?  Does the owner of this restaurant own another one your friend ate at and liked?  In our world, we’re constantly looking for references.  Just in New England, we tend to still do it for social reasons.  Does this person also like the Red Sox?  Does she also knit?  Does he do genealogy?  We’re looking to see if we have something in common, so we know we’ve got a good likelihood of getting along.

So, where do you get your references?

Still Speaking Comma, United Church of Christ

A number of years ago, the United Church of Christ started a campaign called “Still Speaking” and it was inspired by a quote by Gracie Allen, who said “Never place a period where God has placed a comma.” The concept here is that there’s a whole bunch more to be learned in this world, and those that say we’ve heard it all and the “truth has been told”, never to be challenge, are missing a lot.  I’m not a UCC member, but I always respected that church and what they were trying to do to bring a little balance to the radical evangelicals who have been telling everyone who can hear that they have the answers and people should not trust their own experiences. <off soapbox>

This idea has really struck with me in a career development sense, especially as it relates to networking and building relationships.  I like to tell my clients that they should try to have every conversation that they have with people end in a comma, not a period.  Commas signify that there will be things still to come.  Periods signify that things have ended.  The goal for all professional (as well as personal!) relationships is that there is a future to be had, and you need to keep engaged in the conversation.

This is especially true when people are looking for a job.  A common mistake that I see is that people use a lot of period-ending questions, like “Do you have a job opening?”.  Most likely, the answer will be “No” and that ends the conversation.  If instead, you asked a comma-ending question like “I’m looking to find out more about Company X.  Where would you recommend that I look, or who could I talk to who can lead me to more information?”  That type of question will keep the conversation going, as there are more options, and it can take you in many different directions.

I would say that this tactic could be more helpful in all of our conversations, as it gives some breathing room to the person being asked (no one likes to say No all the time!) and it forces the question asker to be open to information that might not be what was expected.

So, what is your best comma-ending question you’ve used?

Many people seem to think that there is supposedly one correct way to write a resume and a cover letter, but nobody every tells you how to do it. I like to say that there isn’t one right way, but many right ways. My guiding advice is to consider who your audience is, and present your material in the same way that that audience likes to present information. Going for a graphic design job? You might want to make your resume more stylized and designed. If not, it will look like you don’t have a good eye for design. Want to be an editor? Better make sure that you are consistent in every part of the document. If you can’t do it here, how can you do it for them?

In working with people on resumes, I see a lot of different ways to present what you have to offer, and one thing that I see misused (in my humble opinion) is the bullet point. I cannot tell you how many people have come in to talk with me and said that they’ve always heard that you should only use bullet points on resumes. I think that this way of thinking really doesn’t serve the bullet point well, and diminishes it power. (This is similar to the argument that a resumes should always be one page). While in many circumstances this is true, it’s not always the case. It depends upon context, with the context here being the audience.

I like to say that a bullet has advantages and drawbacks. The advantage to a bullet is that:

  • It makes something stand out and say “Here! Look at me! I’m important!”

A bullet has a few drawbacks though:

  • A bullet takes up a lot of space
  • It’s indented
  • You waste space on short lines
  • You have bigger margins
  • Lines run over, Lines run over and then you have just one word on the next line
  • If everything is bulleted and is saying here look at me I’m important, nothing is saying look at me I’m important
  • Having too many bullets makes it seem like a paragraph that the reader has to sift through
  • I’ll just add a few more bullets here to hammer home the point
  • I’ll just add a few more bullets here to hammer home the point
  • I’ll just add a few more bullets here to hammer home the point

So if you made it through that example of Death By Bullet Point, you may or may not have seen the most important things to get across. To bring them out, I’m going to give them some space:

  • If everything is bulleted and is saying here look at me I’m important, nothing is saying look at me I’m important
  • Having too many bullets makes it seem like a paragraph that the reader has to sift through

Bullets are like salt in a dish: use them just enough to enhance the main dish. If you overuse them, it overwhelms everything else.

I like to say that the perfect number for bullet points is 3. People can only hold three thoughts in their consciousness at one time. Any more than that, and it just looks like a big paragraph that takes up a lot of space. It also helps you to mentally edit by thinking “Okay, what’s really the most important thing to get across?” That’s where bullets really shine.

So, what are the things in your life that deserve bullet points?

Puerto Rican Beach - Artwork 13 of 200 for 2013

Puerto Rican Beach – Artwork 13 of 200 for 2013

It’s been a hard Spring. As maybe some of you have noticed, I haven’t been blogging much in the past few months. Not only was it a tough winter in New England, but I had a bunch of personal challenges happening to me also that took up a lot of my mental energy. I’ve also been lucky enough that I’ve been getting a lot if new career consulting clients, so that’s kept me busy and away from writing.

Now that we’re finally starting to have consistent good weather here in Massachusetts, I’m starting to have the mental space to get my thoughts together. I’ve been working more at being consistent in my morning meditations and yoga practice, as well as get some reflection time in. It feels so nice to feel like I’ve got what I call “mind space” to actually be more responsive instead of reactive.

Part of that now is that I really need to take more time to be creative. I performed at the New England Folk Festival and it brought back to me that I need to do more music playing (and practicing) as well as doing more artwork. I set a goal for myself in 2013 to produce 200 pieces of art (a doodle in my journal counts. It’s about volume here, not quality). I’m up to 17 so I’ve got to kill the critic and just start producing.

Additionally, I’ve reconnected with a great muse who I’ve known for years, but we’ve started to look at ways that we can collaborate to a deeper extent. Tara Rodden Robinson is a specialist in productivity and coaching, and has a great energy (check out her blog and website!). In talking with her, I lamented that I haven’t been writing much recently, and her response was “Ken, you’ve got too much to offer. Get writing!”

So, with that, here I am again. So, Tara, this blog post is for you!

So, what do you need to return to?

photo(2)

About to jump off a cliff on my first hang gliding adventure! Puerto Rico March 2013

I have sort of been hibernating for the past number of months and dealing with some issues that have been difficult, but just like the crocuses that are finally coming out of the ground, it’s Spring!  It’s time to start anew.  I’m ready for it.

I was just in Puerto Rico for vacation in the beginning of March 2013, and I decided that I wanted to really stretch myself.  The people who own the guest house where I stayed (Barefoot Travelers outside of Humacao, highly recommended!) also run kayak and hang gliding adventures, and I decided to push myself and do it.  I was really scared, but I just knew things would be okay, as Bob my instructor has done this thousands of times.

Hang Gliding about the Puerto Rican landscape, March 2013

Hang Gliding about the Puerto Rican landscape, March 2013

I also went zip lining and went on the highest (and second longest) zipline in the world, at Toro Verde in Orocovis, Puerto Rico (see the video below for a taste of it!) When I came to Puerto Rico, I decided that this was the time to really stretch myself and do things that scare me.  I’ve always been scared of heights, and doing things like hang gliding and zip lining, where I’m basically jumping off mountains was huge leap of faith, literally!  I didn’t know if I could really do it, but I have to say that I got the most amazing experiences out of it.  It was in many ways the breaking down of the fear that was the biggest thing for me.

So, what have you done recently that really scares you?

We’ve all been hearing a lot about this Winter Solstice being the end of the long range Mayan Calendar, and many are interpreting this as being “the end of the world”. I don’t know that many actually believe this are are doing apocalyptic planning like we’ve seen with so many religious zealots pronouncements before. I think that it’s been the impetus for more End of the World parties than anything else. We have our calendars that we put up on our walls every year, and we don’t think that it’s the end of the world every year. Imagine if you had to carve your calendars out of stone! You’d surely only make it so big, especially if you were dealing with as long a calendar as the Mayans were.

I saw a picture earlier on Facebook that had a man with the sign “The Beginning is Near”. I really like that one, as it focuses more on the fact that you can think of this as the start of something, and we all tend to like the possibilities of new things (why do you think we are always shopping so much and hoping that new shirt/house/car/spouse will finally bring us happiness?) There have been many more people that I’ve been seeing that are using this time to envision a time of a new vision of life, and I think that we’re seeing that in the world in general. Granted, there are many who are scared at things changing and are doing their best to hold back the tide of change (our most recent election and the reaction of many is proof of that.) As many of us know, it’s usually the resistance to what is that creates the most pain, and I think that a lot of the fear and pain in our society comes from people who want things to be one way when they are actually another. Look at how much money is being poured into voter suppression and marriage equality efforts. That’s coming out of a fear-based standpoint. These people are so attached to their own position that they can’t see the reality of what’s in front of them.

As I think most people are pain-averse, it would be actually easier to just accept what’s going on, and see what we can do with it. One group that is doing something more positive is Birth2012, and they are designating December 20-22 as Three Days of Love. How can we try to view everything and all people we come in contact with from a loving standpoint? While that sounds pie-in-the-sky, it does speak to are we really intentional about what we’re doing and thinking, and can we actually approach people with best intentions. I’m trying it, and would encourage you to also. What could be so bad about that?

So, what are you starting new this epoch?  Bright Solstice to you all!

If you’ve been following the Meditate Mass 351 Challenge, you know that I’ve been going around to many towns and cities in the state.  In fact, I’ve visited many more than I’ve blogged about already (I’m behind, but catching up).  I just thought you’d like to see where I’ve made it to so far. As you can see, there’s a lot of white still there, and many more towns to see.  I’ve made it to 65 out of 351, so this is going to be a long journey!  I’ll be periodically updating the map for you to see.

Meditate Mass 351 Challenge as of December 13, 2012

Meditate Mass 351 Challenge as of December 13, 2012

First Parish in Cambridge, Unitarian Universalist

I was lucky enough this past Sunday to be at the Coming of Age ceremony at my church, First Parish in Cambridge, Unitarian Universalist. The Coming of Age ceremony is a process where the kids who have been in religious education are now transitioning into the Youth Group, but they do it with a whole year program of investigation of the world, where they see themselves in relation to the congregation, and what their own beliefs and feelings about the world are. It culminates with this service where the kids run the service, and instead of a sermon, each of them get up and read to the congregation their Credo (latin for “I believe”) statements. They’ve been working on them for months to hone what it is that they truly believe about their world, and it is so amazing to see these 13 and 14 year olds speak so articulately to a large audience about something so personal.

I was commenting to people afterwards that we as adults don’t get this opportunity too often. As I grow and change, I know that my feelings about the world have changed. While I have been doing a great deal of personal and professional development over the past number of years (as I hope is apparent from this blog!), I haven’t really formulated it into a crystallized format for presentation. It’s quite the gift, and showed me that I really should take the time for that more often. I got a hint of that in my personal retreat that I took last month (and am planning on doing monthly from now on).

Professionally, I’m all about what is your message and how are you delivering it to your appropriate audience. As I’ve discovered time and time again, the lessons learned from one area of your life are usually very applicable to other areas.

So, what do you believe and can you describe it to others?

Dover Town Library

For the second year in a row, I used the day after Thanksgiving not to go out and buy things (although I actually did a little of that) but to use it as a time of contemplation. Last year, the Meditate Mass 351 Challenge started after I went to the Peace Abbey in Sherborn to meditate, read, walk, journal and get grounded. I knew I wanted to do that again, and I was searching around for a retreat center that I could go to, but since the Peace Abbey is now closed, I was having a hard time finding a place. I then thought about how I could go to one of the many beautiful libraries in Massachusetts and do my retreat at a small town library. I wanted one that I didn’t have to drive too far to, but that I hadn’t been at yet. I chose the Dover Town Library, which is the town next to Sherborn.

It’s a beautiful, newly constructed library in a historic, old building. They have a nice reading section with many comfortable chairs. They even had coffee and desserts available (not that I could eat any of them, as they were all gluten-filled). I spent about four hours there, and I just alternated back between journaling, drawing, meditating, reading, and looking at my plans for the future, and seeing what I really wanted to do with my life in the coming few months. It was very grounding to get away from the busy-ness of my current life, and to start listening to that little voice in my head that had great dreams and wants. I think that we don’t listen to that voice in ourselves nearly enough. Usually, we can’t even hear it over the cacophony of the roar of our lives.

So, when was the last time you heard your inner voice?

Ken Mattsson

Ken Mattsson

Ken Mattsson

I am a career consultant who specializes in the connection between what your spirit wants to do in the world, and how to marry that to the work that you do in order to support yourself. While I work with people in all fields, I specialize in working with "creative entrepreneurs" and the LGBT community.

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