Archive for February, 2008


Just today, I got an email from a new client who’s very recently started a job search.  He’s fed up using the job search boards, like and HotJobs, to find his job
Job search
boards are fine…later in your job search, when you know what you’re
seeking…and as a part of your strategy, not the whole enchilada! 
It’s been freaking him out, frankly, mostly because he’s making a career change.  He has a background in accounting and finance, but wants to be in an operations job.  He feels that things are complicated because much of his work experience has been overseas, and he wants to stay local in his new Chicago-area home. 

Of course, of course, if he starts his job search online, he’ll lose his marbles.  Mostly because, for any of us, it’s all-too-easy to look at those job postings and say to yourself…"I don’t have this qualification," and "I don’t have that type of experience." The snowball of "don’t haves" gets bigger and bigger, weighed down with reasons why jobs don’t fit you, until you’ve been bowled over in an avalanche of negativity.  And then you want to stop looking for a job, because you think you don’t fit anywhere. 

WHOA!  That’s not true!  There is a job for you.  Probably many jobs.  It doesn’t have to be so negative! 
No, I’m not being Pollyanna.  I got so frustrated, recently, with clients telling me that they had been looking at job postings and felt their self-esteem tumble, that I wanted to do something to turn things around.  So I’ve created a brief video that integrates principles from "The
and The Law of Attraction, to offer more
positive way to approach the job search process, so that you calm down, get focused, and increase your chances of finding a job that fits for you.  I invite you to watch it now…


Spend just 3 1/2 minutes and see what shifts for you.  (If you have any trouble seeing this video like on an RSS feed, you’ll find it on YouTube at–o)

What do you think of this approach to envision your way to job search success?  How does it work for you?

With calm and focus,

Susan Bernstein
Coach, Speaker & Author

Work From Within, LLC

Check out my latest venture, the Job Search GymJobsearchgym_finallogo

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Category : Activities to get you moving & changing | Changing your mind | Meaningful work | Navigating changes | Blog

Card1266_2Talk about putting it simply…

Which equation sums up your relationship with work?

The index card you see here comes from Jessica Hagy, author of the new book Indexed.  Thanks, Jessica, for helping us to understand the difference between a "job" and a "calling."

And when the balance tips to "heart attack" instead.

I encourage you to check out Jessica’s kick-ass (did I really say that?) blog! It’s full of these kind of fun examples.  And, her book, Indexed will be released on February 28th.  Check it out! 

I admire Jessica for her way of visualizing relationships.  And, heck, she’s a fellow lover of index cards.  I carry them around all the time.  I swear.  I jot down ideas, and I keep my index cards in a little bag.  Precious index cards hold my concepts for books I want to write, classes I want to teach, blog postings I want to do (like this one!) and ideas I want to incorporate in my (argh!) dissertation.

Thanks, Jessica, for your creativity and clarity!

Lined or unlined, I remain,

Susan Bernstein
Coach, Speaker & Author

Work From Within, LLC

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Category : Uncategorized | Blog

Thinking about making a major career shift, particularly into a healing or helping profession?

You’re not alone!

Over the course of three postings (this is the third of them) I’m sharing a perspective that came to me from Sumya Ojakli, a marketing and positioning expert.  Both of us have "downsized" our lives, so that they are now filled with greater meaning, and so that we have the time to be with others (that’s how we both had the time to talk — that would’ve been a scheduling nightmare in my former consulting life!)

Let’s look now at two more types of people who are making career shifts…

– These are predominantly moms, as more women than
men are making the switches from caring for family to working, although we must acknowledge dads for playing this vital role, too!  (PS – the photo is of my best friend, Karen (wonderful web developer), and her husband Brian, caregivers to the unstopped Ms. Sara)

these caregivers are being recognized in the working world by sites like YourOnRamp. Caregivers often choose a career
related to a holistic product or service out of their own life experience.  Imagine, for example, the mom who
wants to keep her kids healthy. She might try Method home cleaning products and love
that they are environmentally-friendly, or discover organic snacks like ClifBars, to rival the icky chemical-laden
mass market treats out of the vending machine. As a lover of these wholesome
products and services, the Caregiver chooses to pursue employment with a
company that is doing good, so she can feel good about what she is doing for
the planet and for herself.

Are you a Caregiver looking to return to a career, but not just any career?  You want one with meaning, right?  You want one that won’t sap your soul, your time, or your energy.  I encourage you to do two things:

(1) If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can attend a workshop on Monday, March 4th, 2008 in Menlo Park.  I’ll be joining with the team of YourOnRamp for an evening of education and networking for moms and others returning (on-ramping) to work.  Register and pay online at the YourOnRamp site.   

(2) Look at some innovative job sites…like JustMeans which posts jobs for people who want to make a difference, or Bridgestar, which hooks up job seekers with non-profits. 

And, let’s look at the other group of individuals who are looking for career changes in the holistic arena…

Seekers or lost souls
– Many of these people get the inner sense that “I have a purpose,” but they feel lost on their journey.  Often, they feel disconnected from the world in some way, and may wander, not settle down, and wonder where they belong.  This is often because they have not yet found or trusted in their real purpose.  They tend to take sustenance jobs, or move from job to job.  Their treasure is buried within them, but they do not tend to trust it. (PS – check out the artwork of the artist, Shanti Marie, who created this mystical painting — it dazzles me!)

If the "seeker" or "lost soul" sounds like you, one of the most important things you can do for yourself is to ground yourself…in other words, find a way to put down some roots and nourish yourself.  That means finding your community and committing to finding your purpose and your work in the world.  Instead of taking jobs that allow you to just "scrape by," do something to nourish yourself every day and invest some energy in first finding your passion and then make it a priority for yourself.  That might mean taking art classes, participating in a workshop, or starting to sell and promote your products and services.  Find outlets to share your gifts, so that they can give back to you.  Get help and support from others. 

The world is becoming more holistic and connected. So with tools like Facebook to build community and iUniverse, CreateSpace, Lulu, and CafePress, you have many venues open for selling your writing and art with little to no upfront costs. 

So, start noticing.  Do you see more and more people crossing over to work that speaks to them?  Maybe you’re one of them, or will soon be.  If that’s you, I’d love to feature your story on the Work from Within blog.  Get in touch if you’d like to be included! 

Here’s to meaningful change,

Susan Bernstein
Coach, Speaker & Author

Work From Within, LLC

PS – Thanks again, Sumya, for an enriching conversation…glad to have a fellow journeyer extending her knowledge and our personal story to others. 

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Category : Becoming more aware | Finding work-life balance | Meaningful work | Navigating changes | Sharing my personal journey | Blog

In my last posting, I started a theme about people who are moving from corporate careers to healing careers, based on a fast-paced, enervating conversation with branding maven Sumya Ojakli. Together, we looked at the psychographics of those  people.   

If you are considering a career change, perhaps one of these groups speaks to you…

The Aligned Professionalanother group that is making the career
change is actually already in the
healing world. This group has, in some way, shape, or form,
already been in some aspect of the healing or helping world. Included in this tribe might be a massage
therapist or an acupuncturist already.

Massage2Aligned professionals start to recognize that they are not making enough money to
keep going. They want to expand
themselves or their practice; their desires is to become even more whole –
making their practice holistic or more well rounded. So, for example, the massage therapist might teach
her clients The Sedona Method or a
chiropractor might bring on a massage therapist and start encouraging her
clients to utilize herbal supplements.

These practitioners, according to Sumya, are seeing that they need to be
more “whole,” including being friendly to the environment. As the LOHAS
(lifestyles of health and sustainability) movement grows, we know that “green”
and “health” oriented pursuits should fare well over the next few years, as
this trend seems to be here to stay. As an example, my friend, Dr. Joel Kreisberg, a homeopath, made his practice in Berkeley a stunning example of green healthcare, based on the principles of the Teleosis Institute

If you are an aligned professional and sensing it’s time for a change with work, I encourage you to look at what’s happening in the green and sustainable communities that might interest you.  It might be time to go back to school, or to take some courses.  Or, perhaps it’s time to affiliate with other practitioners whose practices might complement yours.  If you’ve got entrepreneurial inclinations but aren’t sure what they are, or want help clarifying them, perhaps it’s time for a visioning session.  If so, I welcome you to get in touch!

Now, on to another group of career shifters…

Creatives – Another
group that is making career changes are talented creative types. Like
artists and teachers. These folks tend to be on a different
than those in the corporate world, having a lot more flexibility. But,
they also tend to need more money. As such, they look to pare down
expenses. Frequently, they want to be
able to heal themselves without having to go to the doctor. The concept
of healing from within — rather
than popping pills to make their ailments go away –  is comforting to
mind, body, spirit, and

Creatives tend to transform what has been self healing into
a form of a supplementary income. So,
for example, a teacher might find a way to create a supplementary income by
selling a product she loves, like vitamin supplements
or Deepak Chopra
Ayurvedic products
. Lovers of
learning, Creatives tend to be in a consistent mode of self-education, and they
want to incorporate what they have learned about healing as part of their
income-generation approach.

4hour_workweekIf you are an aligned professional and finding you’re not making enough money, I personally encourage you to consider ways to make some passive income, including joining relevant affiliate programs such as Commission Junction.
When all of your work comes from your time with clients, you’re income
stream is limited by the number of clients you can see.  So, teaching
workshops, for example, is a way to earn more per hour.  You can
potentially earn even more by creating informational products.  Books
Timothy Ferris’ The 4-Hour Workweek share lots of tips for doing this.

In my third of three installments on leaving a corporate career for a healing or helping profession, I’ll highlight two other types of career changers. 

Happy changing,

Susan Bernstein
Coach, Speaker & Author

Work From Within, LLC

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Category : Becoming more aware | Changing your mind | Finding work-life balance | Meaningful work | Navigating changes | Sharing my personal journey | Blog

Is it just me, or do you also see more people getting fed up with frustrating work where they are not appreciated, to opting for much more meaningful work? 

Are you one of these people?  Or would you like to be?

Recently, I felt a pang to connect with people who, like me, have crossed over from a life in Corporate America to doing work that’s more meaningful.  So, I posted a question on LinkedIn (one of my favorite tools for making meaningful connections) looking for such kindred folks, and heard back from a number of people, including Sumya Ojakli

Sumya is a branding maven with a wealth
of branding experiences from places like and GoldenBooks Family
Entertainment. She’s the person who
helped re-introduce Pat the Bunny to the world, infusing “emotional branding” into
this sweet character. Much like me, Sumya reassessed
and simplified her own life. She’s currently running her own
company, Evolution and Strategy, helping individuals and companies to
brand themselves more effectively in today’s changing marketplace.

Between us, Sumya and I know plenty of corporate folks who’ve ditched the cubicle, the
office building, and the “grind” of corporate life made major transitions.  Some have become massage
therapists, Reiki practitioners, psychotherapists, shamans, or naturopaths. 

According to Sumya, there are five types of people who are
making major career changes related to the healing or helping arts.
Looking at the world this way helps me to understand some of the phenomena I am seeing in the world.  I thought you, my genteel readers, might be going through career changes yourselves, and might gain some insights by looking at these categories.  I’ll start with posting about one today, and then go through four more types over the next few days.

(1) MAXXED OUT:  Professionals who are
wanting to make a change in their lives, because thingsExhaustedwoman1
have gotten to be “too
They are traveling too much
and working too much. Often, their health
is not good, and they experience breakdowns in their bodily systems. Along their road back to health, they meet a
practitioner who empowers themselves to do the curing for themselves. These professionals are indebted to the healing
practice they have discovered. So they
want to bring the cure to others and spread the word.

Some of these professionals pare down their
work and practice their new-found healing on the side. Others leave their prior career to do healing
full-time. Sumya sees this trend
particularly among lawyers, many of whom leave large firms to start their own
firms, discover that’s still stressful, and decide to change direction. Sumya told me of a lawyer who became an
acupuncturist. For this woman, the
switch to even a very basic law practice was too much. She sold her apartment, pared down her life,
and is much happier. Makes sense.

From Sumya’s view, professionals are the toughest sale and
hardest to make the career transition. Often,
self-fulfillment means walking away from their former profession, which can
feel like letting go of what seems to be a safety net and a life preserver. But, as I know, when your career is killing
you, you often have no choice but to let go of what looks safe to take the new
path. That’s certainly been my story.

From what I’ve learned from coaching professionals, making
this sort of radical career change takes place slowly. If this life path compels you, and tugs at
your heart, then you put one foot in front of the other long enough, making
little changes, until you’re finally in a new life. You might first take a sabbatical, or do
part-time work. You might take a class
that leads you to a new interest, and pursue that interest in parallel with a
new, easier job. These are just a few
paths. Success in the new life rarely
comes overnight, but rarely is success defined as it used to be. After running around on airplanes, staying in
meetings until all hours of the night, and slaving over projects that
ultimately get killed, having time to yourself feels like success. Being able to see friends feels like
success. Taking a mid-day walk — as
Sumya does — feels like success.Butterfly

At the same time, money generally feels less important. Whoa, Nelly, not unimportant. Just not acquired for its own sake. In the
“old” life, money was acquired “to be safe,” and now, you recognize that safety
comes from having your own inner assets and using them. Often, professionals start paring down, getting
rid of possessions (not everything!) that feel unnecessary.  Discovering and becoming involved with the simplicity movement can bring camaraderie and ease.  Money coaching can also help to reveal and heal underlying issues with inner and outer prosperity.

Do you relate to this type?

If you’ve made the transition already, what helped you navigate the changes? If you’re in the midst of making this kind of change, what’s your experience? And if you’re contemplating this type of change but feel stuck, what holds you in place?

What questions do you have about this type of change?  I’ll do my best to respond…I’d love to help you find work and a life that truly fits for you.  And, more on the other four "types" of meaning-filled career changers in the next two editions…stay tuned!

Constantly in change,

Susan Bernstein
Coach, Speaker & Author

Work From Within, LLC

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Category : Becoming more aware | Finding work-life balance | Meaningful work | Navigating changes | Sharing my personal journey | Your working environment | Blog

Job Search GymWhy am I talking about LOVE in a posting about work?

Yes, Valentine’s Day is this week.  But that’s not the only reason. 

You see, I want to fundamentally change the conversation about work, so that work is seen in a much more positive, uplifting light. 

think "work" has a bad rap.  A negative connotation.  For many people,
"work" is a
dirty four-letter word. 

Is that true for you?

Work, labor, job, career, or vocation.  Take your pick.  If these words conjure up images of toiling and feeling miserable, it’s time for a change.  Just think how much more positive the world would be if people
loved their work. How would your life change if you were doing work
you love? 

Khalil Gibran wrote, "Work is love made visible."  What did he mean by this? 

As I see it, he meant that if we are to spend our waking hours in a
pursuit, it ought to lift our hearts.  Great work has the capacity to
connect to us to our passions.  With work that we love, we fall into
that state that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls "flow," being focused and energized and totally immersed in what we are doing.  What activities put you in the that state?  You know, when you’re absorbed, totally present to the reality right in front of you, and full of energy?  Isn’t that just a lot like being in love? 

While you are busy buying chocolates and roses for your sweetie this
Valentine’s Day, I also encourage you to check in with your own heart
about work.  When you think about your career, do you feel
heavy-hearted or light-hearted? 

If you find yourself feeling heavy-hearted about work, take a moment to ask yourself…

  • Does my definition of work allow for ease, fun, joy, abundance,
    and prosperity
    — all at the same time?  (If not, I encourage you to
    change the way you view work!)
  • Does my current working environment support me in expressing
    what’s important to me?
    (If not, how might you make changes so that
    you’re moving in the direction of your heart’s desire?)
  • What would I need to shift to in order to make work more an expression of what I love and care about? (And how can you take just one teeny weeny step in that direction?)

Our world needs passionate people who are alive and on fire about their
work.  What small action can you take this Valentine’s Day to
contribute your love in your work?

Lovingly yours,

Susan Bernstein
Coach, Speaker & Author

Work From Within, LLC

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Category : Becoming more aware | Changing your mind | Expressing yourself | Meaningful work | Your working environment | Blog