career advice

A HeSo Lost and Found (Part 1)

“Find a way to get paid to do what you love.”

That ubiquitous advice used to drive me crazy because I had no idea what I loved to do besides for watching television and eating cookies – and I couldn’t find a single job listing for a cookie taster.

I started this blog as a public quest to figure out what satisfies my HeSo. In case you’ve wondered what HeSo means, it’s my nickname for heart and soul. Like a lot of people, I got to a place in my life where I had no idea what made my soul happy. There were lots of things that made me happy – but nothing on a deeper, spiritual level.

For so long I let fear (mostly fear of being poor) control my decisions. I didn’t know how to let passion take over. Besides, how could I let passion take over my decision-making process when I didn’t even know what I was passionate about. This blog was my permission to try new things, make mistakes, and ultimately figure out my HeSo project – or as the yoga sutras describe it:

“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bounds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”

Before starting this blog, I quit a lucrative job, and had $50,000 in savings. I was absolutely petrified that I would go broke and never be able to amass that sense of security again. But I had 40 loyal readers and I couldn’t let them down. In my first year on the HeSo project, I became obsessed with an invention I came up with for baby beds. I went through about $20,000 in savings for this project and ultimately had to let it go when I found out I couldn’t get safety approval. But here’s what I learned:

  • How to get comfortable taking a risk
  • How to run a small business
  • How to let go when something is not working.
Getting ready to give up on the foam

Me getting fed up with making the prototype.

It was really hard to let that dream go, and I retreated into a part-time job, thinking the security of a paycheck would help me feel like less of a failure. However, I’m extremely hard-working and that part-time job quickly became a senior management position and all of a sudden I was working sixty hours a week on a job I didn’t care about. I had to stop and remember the HeSo. I quit the next day.

By this time I was really giving into my writing urges. The dream of becoming a professional writer seemed far-fetched but that didn’t keep me from writing whenever I had the chance. Even though I was done to $10,000 in savings, I decided to take a six month break from searching for a career and focus on my writing. I took classes and began writing 750 words a day. This was really hard work, and even though it wasn’t fun all the time, my HeSo was growing – but so was my debt.

I reached a fork in the road. I realized I wanted to keep writing, but I also wanted to be able to pay the rent. I took on another part-time job that left me with enough mental energy to come home and write every day. At this time an amazing thing happened:

I told myself that I would apply for a “real” job once I dipped below my last $2,000 in savings, but until then I would push forward with my writing. Every time I came close to that threshold, money appeared from out of nowhere. First, I got a completely unexpected $1,000 refund from the government for a tax return from three years prior. Next, a client from my old job randomly decided to pay my bill which was overdue for four years. Later, I got asked to be in a focus group for one hour and the pay was $300. Again and again, money appeared when I thought I’d have to give up on writing. I decided to take that as a sign that if I was going to pursue writing, the universe will support me.

The beginning and the peak of BFI.

The beginning and the peak of BFI.

At this same time I came up with the crazy idea for Brutal First Impressions. I went to the park with a sign telling people I would give them my honest feedback about their general appearance if they gave me a few dollars. This was a HUGE hit, and everyone loved this idea – except for me. I take that back. I loved the idea, but I hated doing it. I’m naturally an introvert, so it was extremely uncomfortable for me to stand in front of a group of strangers and criticize them. Also, I love looking for the best in people, so my patrons were often disappointed when I didn’t give them harsher feedback.

I think this was the moment I realized I was done with BFI.

I think this was the moment I realized I was done with BFI.

I decided to pursue this idea anyway because everyone else was so excited by it, but deep down, I just wanted to keep writing. I started a website and got a few clients, and I did BFI in central park a few times, but it never took off and I think that’s because my heart was still in my writing. However, I did learn these valuable skills from it:

  • How to design and program a website.
  • How to market an idea
  • How to be ballsy

I am telling you all this because I love hearing about all the “failures” people go through before they discover what really works for them. The good news is that I finally figure it out. I found my HeSo project!!! … and I’ll tell you all about it in the next post 😛

An Interview with Krista Giffin, Life Coach

KristaWhen I moved to New York City six years ago I lived with Krista Giffin right above Central Park. We only lived together for a short time but I still remember the great advice she gave me about dating. No wonder she’s a successful life coach now. You can check out her website, or follow her on Facebook. She is generously offering a FREE 60 minute life coaching session to the first thirty people who reach out to her! The beautiful and talented Krista is telling us about her journey. The field of life coaching seems to have exploded in the last few years. It seems like people are either really receptive or really skeptical  about it. What would you say to someone who’s skeptical of life coaching?

We all have patterns that we have created over time in order to succeed in this world. Much of it is from our childhood, where it suited us. Often a certain way of doing things is the very thing that keeps us stuck.  A life coach truly listens and reflects what they hear back to the client as well as posing dynamic questions to open up the client’s views on life.  If you’re skeptical, do your research.  Find people who have used coaches and see what they have to say, or try out different coaches. I often offer complimentary sessions as a way for people to get to know me and my coaching style.  I have been trained in ontological coaching, which is about how who you are being, affects the way things happen for you in the world.  It’s easier to grasp once you’ve tried it out.  Another great comparison is this: Many people work out on their own, but if you hire a great personal trainer, you are going to get results that much faster.  Coaching offers speed and velocity toward your dreams, but you still have to be committed to doing the work.

What got you interested in life coaching?

My step-mother passed away from cancer and I think it had to do with her stressful job, which made it harder for her to overcome her disease. We spend so much time at our jobs so they should be fulfilling. I have always been a HUGE believer in having a job you love. The important question is, “Does your job give you what you need?”  I had already been encouraging people to do what they love and to find a way to make things work for them in their lives and careers. At the same time, I was looking for a career that could blend my passion for acting with my background in teaching but could also be location independent because I’d like to see my family more often.  (They’re on the West Coast and I’m in New York).  This seemed like the perfect marriage.

Wow, you really created a career that blends your talents and gives you the lifestyle you want. Have you faced any challenges while coaching?
Getting people to believe in themselves is a challenge. Everyone has fears and doubts about themselves and their abilities, but we are far more powerful than we imagine. So much is possible, but it’s easy to shift back into our old ways of thinking and become dejected if we are not mindful. Once people understand their power they can truly create anything they want in life.  It’s a mind blower!
What is most rewarding about coaching?
Every step forward for my clients is rewarding for me. I love hearing about their lives, seeing all the different, cool, exciting things that people are doing, feeling their struggles, and recognizing we are all so similar. I love when they break through and really start to feel powerful on their own. I get so much from my clients.
Is there a particular area of life coaching that you’re drawn to?
I love working with people to get clear on what they want out of life.  Clients I’ve worked with have come to me with career issues, such as finding what they love to do or getting themselves organized and focused so they can run their businesses better. Clients have also come to me with relationship issues like getting married or getting the marriage they already have to the place where it truly supports and enriches their life.  My forte is getting people to make fun, relaxation and pleasure a priority, which helps them to achieve other things they want in life. 
In your opinion, what’s the difference between seeing a therapist and seeing a coach?

Coaching and therapy can work in conjunction with each other, but there is definitely a separation. Therapy works on healing trauma from the past.  It’s important to see a therapist and get yourself to the place that you feel well and whole. Coaching is future based. We take actions in the now with the future in mind. Occasionally we’ll look backward for a pattern, but we don’t stay there. Another great way to look at it is when you injure yourself, you may need to go to a physical therapist to heal that injury.  Once the injury is healed you can see a coach to move on to the Olympics.

What is your favorite piece of advice?
I have two. The first is meditate.  And I don’t follow it enough.  It’s very easy to become unfocused and distracted in today’s society, which leads to not listening to each other, break downs in relationships, and running around on our little hamster wheels.  It’s important to quiet our minds in some way in order to listen to our inner voice.  All of the answers are in there, but we need to slow down enough to listen.
The second is have fun!  So often we end up doing, doing, doing, work, work, work.  Take time out for yourself to have fun, play with your kids, watch a comedy, dance, spend time in nature, go on a date, get a massage, take a vacation.  These things fuel us and will make us more productive in the long-term, and just make life more enjoyable in general.  That in and of itself is worth it!
I could definitely benefit from some meditation. Thank you so much, Krista, for your wise words and your generous offer for a free 60 minute life coaching session. Anyone who would like to take Krista up on her offer should follow her on Facebook, and send her a private message.