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NO DUMB LUCK, NO FIRST-TIMER’S LUCK, NO SUCH LUCK!

What's your good luck charm?

I’m with Oprah, if you come prepared when opportunity knocks, your dreams come true. In college, although working toward a major, I rarely pursued relationships with my professors. Now, more than ever, workplace successes depend on whom you know so networking counts. Some advice:

1) Find mentors – I regularly learn from every interaction. If you know someone whose career path involved your dream job, humbly ask for a research interview to get current advice for training, industry insider information and even important contacts. Don’t “mildly insist” that your mentor meet with you – its a fine line between determination and arrogance. If they only offer an email, take it – the first step is the hardest, but it could lead to other things.

2) Be courteous – Anyone at any level could be the person to give you the spot on your mentor’s radar and hopefully on his calendar. Depending on who they are, they may be asked to share their opinion of you. Don’t take anyone for granted.

3) Be clear – Clarify your interests so the mentor gets a better feel for what information you desire, your current knowledge and how best to help. Don’t expect them to read your mind. You wouldn’t want to waste the opportunity. Come with specific questions.

4) Follow through – Confirm appointments, provide an agenda, know where you’re visiting. Your mentor took time out of their busy day to graciously meet with you, please be respectful of their time. Don’t hit the Snooze button. When this reminder appears on your calendar, do not reschedule it for later. Assume your chance to pose your questions will only come around once.

5) CALL! – In the unique situation where you have to miss or reschedule an appointment – Tell them in advance! Don’t make them track you down.

This advice is common sense, but people forget significant steps! You’ll learn how small your industry is and how many degrees of separation are between you, your mentor and Kevin Bacon when you’ve left a positive or negative vibe with your mentor. Start your career path off on the right foot and arise to each challenge and play on weekends while relaxing after landing your dream job!

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FCW: BE TACTFUL, DO NOT OVERLOOK YOUR OWN OPPORTUNITIES

Part of my growth involves remaining open enough while wandering to see the signs that the universe broadcasts. The message comes from people, whether friends, work-study students, or the Almighty O herself. Perhaps they come from social media status updates. Today’s wisdom presented itself in the oldest form of messaging with limited characters – fortune cookies! I don’t consider the fortune valid unless I’ve eaten half the cookie, otherwise, I am just cracking open cookies looking for fortunes to support my agenda.

Fortune Cookie Wisdom!

The cookie advised: “Be tactful, do not overlook your own opportunities” [in bed]. Do you still play that game?! Since the odds of those opportunities presenting themselves today seemed slim-to-none, I asked WWOD? while focusing on the message. The obvious place to locate opportunities was in my new, albeit temporary, job. After two weeks, I remain blissfully in the honeymoon stage not sensing any craziness. The only time I feel unsettled centers on contemplating this job’s fit into my career path. The exhilarating excitement of a new adventure mixed with the devil-may-care short-timer attitude creates bold creativity for facing challenges. To function well, even if short-term, one must know the processes, histories, and root oneself in the establishment.

First, I must be tactful: treat people well with respect and manners (Duh!) and don’t get sidelined by drama. Then, before I “don’t overlook my own opportunities,” I must identify them.  I know that I love brainstorming ideas and but don’t have the [insert one: patience/attention/balls] to carry them out before the next idea comes. Perhaps, it’s because I lack formal method training and not being young enough to allow a steeper learning curve with trial-and-error, I’m afraid to waste time guessing. I know that there are no guarantees. Miss O wisely points out that luck results from preparation intersecting opportunity.

So from my vantage point, I see experts who teach and mentor. Perhaps I’m backing myself into another position where I will, again, realize that I was meant to be here all along. This time, I’ll look over my shoulder to plot the journey some and enjoy the view. After backing myself up and positioning myself, I’ll launch forward in the direction meant for me.

Check all your mirrors to make sure you don't miss something spectacular!

WHAT THE HELL YOU BLOGGING FOR? GET A JOB!

One thing I missed from having roommates was the end-of-day debriefing. Oprah filled in for a bit, but once her show went dark, I yet again pondered – What Would Oprah Do? She Journals! this blog enabled me to unwind with some whine. I hoped to force creativity, practice writing and organize thoughts. Being Gen X, my hands cramp trying to write as fast as I think. Fortunately, my typing rocks. My plan included purging info from my head, organizing it and freeing up space to focus on important things – like find a job!

Fork in the road...

Part of me, more than I’ll usually admit, dreams of being a mommy-blogger! My work/life balance became effortless with this blog! [Cue: Booming nagging voice] “You’re writing an online diary! Get a real job!” At first, I ignored it, allowing time for myself. I knew if I didn’t indulge and write during this period, I’d wonder what might have been. I’ve been researching blogging and while it takes consistent effort, the possibility of reaching paid blogger status is a reasonable goal! Plus, it feels more tangible than job hunting where I’ve done what worked before, rewritten to work better, reinvented for technology and have nothing to show.

With blogging, I’ve measured site stats.

Great place to grow from!

Each experiment yields positive or negative measurable results. It’s restored my confidence knowing that the blog’s success depends wholly on me driving people to the site. I blogged yesterday about putting this hobby out there, stating how quickly I want to learn and getting great energy in return! Today, I reached a calm. I don’t know if it reflected inner peace or that I found an answer to appease the voice. I am doing something I love while learning new skills for my next step, and have show-and-tell for the job interview when they ask “What did you do during this down time?” If I only spent time sending resumes, I could say I’d been looking for work in a tough market, but I’d be drowned out by sobbing violins.

So, world, this is how I spent my break. Thanks for wandering with me! Can we keep the fact that I started this blog to whine between just us?

DO YOU BELIEVE IN CARMA? (YOUR BAD DRIVING WILL COME BACK AND REAR END YOU SOME DAY)

Life rushing by

Ever try to get out of a ticket?  I recently avoided a fix-it ticket and I tried to get out of my first-ever speeding ticket but after approaching the car with his gun drawn, the officer wasn’t chatty.  That is another story for another time.

At our recent garage sale, my neighbors and I chatted, raising eyebrows or fists at drivers to slow down.  One neighbor mentioned how often drivers don’t stop at all. While near the local school, she witnessed cars driving carelessly, closely missing a student. She approached a cop mentioning the potential ticket gold-mine. His assured her that they’ve written many tickets there, but that the people’s influential friends excused their tickets. I still can’t decide which is more unbelievable and troublesome.

That very night, I witnessed someone barrel through a signed intersection!  Today, another close call (safe from my driveway) but the street driver punched his pedal to the metal, laid into his horn, nearly catapulted his dog from the car window, and endangered our kids and his dog.

I try to drive a mile in their car before drawing conclusions and I don’t usually judge. I know how busy we are dropping off children, rushing off to our day then home at night. After no tickets or accidents in 17 years, a job forced me to race home cursing every night, trying to beat my childcare’s deadline.  After getting 2 tickets in a month, and 2 late charges 3 months into the year (they drop your child after the 3rd time), I moved on.  There are other options besides a new job.  Ask for a modified schedule, form carpools, pay high school kids to be on call to pick up if you’re stuck – many will volunteer their time.  Find a way

In regards to reversing tickets, I believe Oprah when she points out that the universe knocks softly first (ticket), then louder (accident), and so on until you are forced to pay attention (fatality). We’re all adults, so look at the offered lesson and change your behavior.  You may be above the law for a California roll, but for anything larger, if they don’t get you for that, Carma will.

I FOUND THE PAUSE BUTTON FOR LIFE!

Please go to bed so Mommy can meditate!

All day I was jazzed and energized all day with the anticipation of reaching new levels of consciousness!  Suddenly at 10pm with my kids finally in bed, I’m hurrying to meditate under duress complete the task by today! My mind settles knowing I need it after cracking the homework whip.  I set my timer for 15 minutes, so I can check something off my To-Do list.

Sitting on the floor, my couch supports my back for comfort (or safety). I promise to stretch more as I tie myself into sitting position. The best I can do is sit cross-legged. My elbows rest on my knees, my hands gently together.

I wing it and go silent this first time. No iGuru, just my breathing and the flame visual. After false starts, I shut my eyes and “look upward” through my 3rd eye (or Magic Eye because it feels like those books where one focuses into the picture when my eyes suddenly focus inward). I can’t say I see other worlds, but my eyes feel open to possibilities not shut in my mind.

The clock on the wall intrusively passes time. Flame visuals evade me so I focus on breathing.  I slow my breathing and let each exhale carry negative feelings away, then good vibrations enter when I inhale.  I take more than my share of TLC with each yawn.  I find myself running through vivid dreams but they dissolve when I stop to glance further.

My only thought is that I’m too tired tonight. My body leans and my shoulders are up by my ears, so I lengthen my spine and posture. My mom would be proud. I am stubborn and don’t open my eyes early.

With a startling tone, I am surprised that 15 minutes passed.  I can’t measure the time spent, more like I hit pause briefly. It felt like a mini mental vacation and my nagging lists, always present, never got a word in edgewise!  I will try again one morning for less fidget, more enlightenment!  As with training, the key is to show up for it, regularly. Do you meditate to clear your head for the day or to unwind from it?

STOP SQUIRMING! SIT STILL!

In this new year, I’m embracing the idea of reinvention and improvement. When it was apparent that my last job was running its course, I kicked into high gear with an emergency plan of running fully-caffeinated doing my job, being a single mom while finding/launching a second career. Utilizing every waking moment quickly out-lived its effectiveness. The plan that once energized me with its double-dog dare in my face now has me dog-tired.

So I ask myself – W.W.O.D.? – What would Oprah do? I’ve lived most of my adult life with O teaching me how to be grateful, to live authentically, and to find the true me. I enjoyed our daily chats from our couches but now that her show has ended, it is time to see if I’ve truly learned anything.

She, along with many, heralds the value of slowing down, being present, being STILL. In the past I scoffed at the idea saying I didn’t have the time, or if I halt inertia I’ll fall over – asleep. Some suggested to me that when you sit still allowing your mind to be open, demons enter. Scarier to me than them is the realization that my kids have just grown 2 years and though I transported both to their various stops trying to mold the best kids they can be, I haven’t been present enough to recall most landmarks or milestones.

So, as usual, today I am researching, exploring methodology and psyching myself up to calm down. Tomorrow I’ll dive in. I know I want to meditate, not be hypnotized. I don’t want a new religion, rather new peace of mind. I want to sit silently so that I might hear the answers that the universe provides but remain centered enough to act on them. I drew upon my single previous meditation experience, in a Buddhist temple no less, and then found an app for that – guided meditation through our chakras. I want a tour guide to provide noise to drown out my cats and hope that it will yell if I fall asleep.

For tonight, that’s exactly where I am going, amped to try meditation tomorrow! Have any favorite meditation practices or tips?

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