How I Grew Beyond My Resume

When I was working as an engineer, I overextended myself for resume cred.

I enrolled in a part-time Master’s program.  I volunteered as a project lead for an international project in my “spare time”. I applied for committee positions in various professional organizations.  I attended networking events (and hated every second of them).  I got licensed as a Professional Engineer.  I pursued LEED certification.  The list goes on and on…

If it was out there, I wanted it next to my name. 

Doing all these things made me look better on paper (I was constantly being recruited for new and exciting positions), but there was a problem with my strategy: I wasn’t actually learning how to be a better engineer, a better leader, a better mentor, OR a better person.

I was just focused on the next big thing to get ahead.

Now, one might argue that the experience and education I was receiving were planting the seeds that I needed to be a better engineer, leader, mentor, and person, but in reality, I was just going through the motions.  My focus was on getting ahead, not on development and growth.

I’d been taught to check the boxes, to be the first to the finish line, and that more is always better.  And I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to be the best at it.

Fast forward a few years… After I burned out and stepped away from my engineering career, one of the first things I did was pare down my commitments. 

Initially, it came out of necessity; I just didn’t have the energy to continue living and working that way. 

But then, I started to realize how good it felt to be in control of where I spent my time and energy.  For the first time in as long as I could remember, I felt fully present and invested in the choices that I was making for myself and my career.  Instead of focusing on what I “should” do, I was focused on what I really wanted to do – work that was exciting to me, new challenges in different industries, volunteering with organizations that shared my beliefs, and taking classes that propelled me to a whole new level, personally and professionally.

I stopped feeling defined by my credentials and started to see my value in terms of my priorities, my beliefs, my core values, and my innate strengths.

I had grown beyond my resume. 



Over the next few weeks, I’ll be exploring bringing more of YOU to the forefront in your work. 

Today, I’d love to hear from you: do you feel defined or pigeon-holed by your credentials and frustrated with all the things you “should” do?  Or have you found a way to bring your whole self to the table and be successful?

This Single Daily Activity Will Change Your Life

When I hit rock bottom in my consulting career, I was miserable to be around.  All I did was bitch and complain – about inadequate management, lazy coworkers, my morning commute, crappy clients, my aching back, my messy house.  You name it, and I found a way to complain about it.Guess where all that got me?


I felt all alone.

Like there was no one in the world who could understand what I was going through.  Like I was working harder than everyone and no one appreciated ME.  Like I was the lynch pin holding it all together and that if I took a step away, the whole world would come crumbling down.

I hadn’t quite realized yet that my world was already crumbling.

There’s something really subtle here that was preventing me from “seeing the light”…

chronic stress
chronic stress

It wasn’t that no one was appreciating me.  IT WAS THAT I WASN’T APPRECIATING ANYONE ELSE.

By focusing on the lack and frustration in my life, I had blinders on when it came to seeing the good things around me.

Once I started to approach my day, my work, my coworkers, and my husband with gratitude, there was an instant shift.

I stopped feeling alone; I was a supported member of a team.  I realized that I wasn’t the only one effective at getting things done, but that in my blindness, I’d failed to utilize the strength in others.  All of a sudden the tightness in my back, which was likely caused by chronic stress, lessened – I felt looser and freer.

The practice of gratitude allowed me to see the world around me in a completely different way than I had previously been experiencing it.  And the world around me hadn’t really changed, but I had.

Now, I spend a few minutes each morning consciously being grateful for the opportunities that will be available to me in the day ahead – even when my mornings are hectic I find a way to get this done: in the shower, during my workout, in the car, as I’m making breakfast.   

I end my day sharing at least 3 things that I’m grateful for with my husband (usually, once the list starts, it expands way beyond just 3 things).  This has been a really beautiful thing for us to do together and has strengthened our relationship in unmeasurable ways.  Who can you share your gratitude with?

Now, it’s your turn. 

TAKE INSPIRED ACTION: How can you consciously practice gratitude every day?

Goals with Soul: Starting 2014 Differently

Have you ever worked hard to accomplish something and then when you get it you just feel ‘blah’? So, then, you rush on to the next thing, thinking that was really what you needed all along... but, still, you feel unsatisfied, like something is missing?

“Constant racing for success creates habitual and unconscious goal-setting. We need to re-learn how to move toward our dreams — with the grace of trust, the grit of devotion, and the thrill of true presence.” -Danielle LaPorte

I often refer to myself as a classic over-achiever and that right there is me to a “T”. Once upon a time, I was pushing to prove myself in a way that caused me to completely lose track of who I was.

  • I got a Master’s degree and a professional license and then left the engineering profession 6 months later.
  • I completed a year of yoga teacher training and then decided I didn’t want to teach yoga.
  • I worked 60- 80 hours a week at a job I was miserable at because I thought I needed a flashy title to be successful.

All the while, I was miserable, disconnected, and drained – NOT how I wanted to feel.

>>> Insert Danielle LaPorte<<<

I have a major girl-crush on Danielle. Her work The Firestarter Sessions literally changed my life. It LIT ME UP, challenged my thoughts on success, and helped me zero in on the life I wanted to live.

In FSS, Danielle introduces the idea of core desired feelings – DECIDING HOW YOU WANT TO FEEL FIRST and then setting your goals around FEELING THAT WAY. FEELING GOOD. Revo-fucking-lutionary.

But it doesn’t end there. Next, Danielle created the Desire Map – a complete system to IDENTIFY and CREATE ACTION around your core desired feelings.

This January, Desire Map bookclubs will meet up all over the world to desire, dream, and create goals with soul. For those in the Philadelphia area, I invite you to join my group (limited to 12 people). For out-of-towners, you can visit this site to find a bookclub near you.

How about starting 2014 differently? "All juice. No push. Feeling good is the goal. Check." -Danielle LaPorte