You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2010.

Well, sorry that I’ve been a little lax in the posting lately. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say (anyone who knows me will confirm that!) but it’s been a combination of being away for the last two weekends and fighting off what is either a low grade cold or my first bought with seasonal allergies.

Recently, I’ve been at two great professional presentations: one on the role of motivation in career development (through the Association of Career Professionals International – New England) and just yesterday one on mindfulness and resiliency in your professional life through the Career Counselors Consortium of New England. (this is not even mentioning the great time I had performing and seeing friends at the New England Folk Festival last weekend). I’d like this time to talk about the resiliency presentation as it’s freshest on my mind right now.

It was a three part presentation. The first was with Anne Jolles, a resiliency personal life coach who’s just written a book called Rise and Shine Anytime. While I can’t repeat her entire presentation, she reiterated the basic premise that we as individuals are bombarded with input from outside ourselves and the incessant, chattering voice in our head. Our issue in our modern world is not the ability to get information, but to be able to dicern what information we really need and will serve us, and them how to process only that information.

The second point was that we need to be able to see clearly what is actually in front of us, what it actually is, and to know what we can affect and what we can’t. While this seems so easy and obvious, as she said, the issue isn’t doing it, the issue is remembering to do it at the appropriate time.

The second part was a mini chair yoga session lead by Olivia Miller. As one who has been doing yoga for years, I personally liked this, but I wished she had linked it more to the audience (namely how career professionals can incorporate it into their practice).

The final presentation was on Mindfulness and Career Development from Dr.  David Blustein, a professor or Counseling Psychology and Career Development at Boston College. Blustein talked about his experience in meditation (what he calls “a gym workout for the mind”) and and had us do a quick 5 minute meditation and then reflect upon it. We then had a discussion about how we can bring some of these techniques to work with our clients.

Readers of this blog will know that I’m very tuned into people bringing all of their lives into the career process. I encourage everyone to really look at their lives to find out the truth about it, and not just what you want to see. Once you have that information, you can then make well thought out decisions about next steps. I’ve found that the spiritual/mindful side is one that most people don’t look at for what their reality is there.

Have you looked at your core and do you know what’s there?


Last week, I was watching one if the two shows that I tend to watch on TV,  The Biggest Loser (the other is Dancing with the Stars). Both of these are favorites because people are doing something positive for themselves, and I’ve got a personal connection to the activities: I used to do a lot of couples dancing when I was younger (and still love it) and I lost 40 lbs in the past few years. I still have to work at exercising and eating right so this show is good motivation for me.

This particular show had a session with Suze Orman, the personal finance guru. What was interesting is that they showed that she picked Danny as the winner of last years contest purely by his FICO score and credit rating. Her reasoning was that this was a man who had control of his finances, and could then therefore be in control of his weightloss.

It was ringing bells for me as I’ve found that after I was able to show the discipline to lose the weight, I have been able to tap into that skill and bring it to other areas of my life. My meditations have become a part of my life now. I’m blogging and Twittering pretty consistantly, and I’ve been doing more presentations than I have in a long time. It feels good to move forward on the things that I want in my life.

Today is Marathon Day in Boston, and there will be lots of people streaming into Boston from Hopkinton doing what they weren’t positive the would do, but have been working through discipline to accomplish. I did the marathon in 1998 and remember the dedication that it took to complete it.

What areas do you have in your life that you aren’t moving forward in, and what areas have you mastered?

I am starting a new series of teleworkshops, where people can call in to a group call and I’ll be discussing an aspect of career development that will hopefully get people clearer and moving onto actions.  The first one will be on Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at 9 p.m. EDT.  The workshop is free (except that you will need to handle the long distance charges to call into the conference line). This is the first in a monthly series, and I hope that many of you will be able to join me.

Free Teleworkshop: Goal Setting for When You Don’t Know What You Want
Everyone is always recommending that you set goals, but how can you do that when you are so lost that you don’t know where to start? This free (except for your long distance charges) teleworkshop will help us to start investigating steps that we can take to start seeing where you can start to get control when you feel like you have too many ideas spinning around you.

To register, send an email to with “Free Teleworkshop 4/14/10” in the subject line, and you will receive the information on how to call in.

As I progress in my never ending quest of self improvement, I am realizing how important it is to practice skills. It’s not only the development in getting better at a particular task but it’s also the discipline of keeping at doing something long enough to get better at it.

From my time as an athlete (in my past I was a decently competitive race walker and coach) I know that you have to work at things and keep a focus on something in order to get more proficient at it. That’s served me from playing the hammered dulcimer, competing in national level competitions in race walking, and also in my career development work.

One of the great values of this practice is screwing up. It’s usually from a time when I’ve done something I didn’t mean to (i.e. wrong) that I’ve learned from it and it’s dug itself into my mind that I should never do that again. Those horrors usually come back to me when I’m about to do the same dumb thing again and screams at me not to. I’ve been saved many times by that scream!  I’ve heard this referred to as an AFGE (Another F***ing Growth Experience).

I like to tell people that you have to make about 100 mistakes before you can do it right. Go put and talk to people about your dreams, hopes and desires. You’ll get it wrong the first few times, but you’ll get better at it.

Also, the more we practice, the more focused and centered we become. Rev. Kim Crawford Harvie at Arlington Street Church in Boston said that flossing is one of her spiritual practices. Washing dishes is the same for Thich Nhat Hahn. A spiritual practice is just another phrase for a habit. Some are good for you, and some are not. I’m trying to choose which habits will add spirit to my life and trying to cultivate them.

Through the GTD Virtual Study Group, I learned about Habitforge, a great website to support you in developing good habits. Here are mine:

  • Flossing daily
  • Going to bed before midnight
  • Getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night
  • Writing down all the food I eat each day nu4you
  • Exercising each day
  • Working on this blog

Studies show that it takes between 3 to 6 weeks for an action to become a habit.

What life giving habits are you practicing?

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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