Success Personified Blog
The blog of Merideth Mehlberg, Executive Coach and Career Strategist
Posted By Merideth Mehlberg May 6th, 2013
There is an image that helps me weather times of intense emotion, such as fear or sadness, and I’d like to share it with you.
Perhaps it will resonate and help you in times of stress, too.
My favorite beach in Maui is Napili Bay, a beautiful small crescent of sand and surf with a view of neighboring island Molokai.
When I’m there, I wade in past the breaking waves to a spot where I am up just up to my neck in the water but I can still touch. The sandy bottom has no rocks, so I can just relax my toes into the soft sand.
I hang out there, enjoying life.
The water is warm, the sun is shining, and I can smell the salty air of the ocean mixed with the fragrant scent of plumeria.
Then, I notice a wave slowly undulating towards me. Because I am out past the point where waves break to the shore, I know that it will pass by me. And yet, I still find my level of anxiety rising.
As the wave approaches, my toes lift from the sandy bottom and I am suddenly adrift and floating. I feel nervous, caught up in the emotion of not feeling grounded. My heart skips a beat and I hold my breath.
And then, slowly, I remember to breathe.
After a moment of being untethered and feeling uncertain, I feel the wave pass. My body descends and slowly my toes find the sandy bottom again.
Once more, I am grounded.
I find this imagery so helpful to remember when I feel overcome with emotion. When I recall the image of the wave passing over me, I realize that fear, sadness, and anger are transitory states and when I don’t resist the emotion, but rather relax into it, it is much easier on me and I come back into myself quicker.
Posted By Merideth Mehlberg April 29th, 2013
A fascinating book has been springing up everywhere and it has me intrigued.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain, is the book and the provocative topic. It’s inspired me to write about the wonderful people we call introverts.
Contrary to popular belief, being an introvert does not simply mean being shy or quiet.
Introversion is better defined as being a person who gains energy from being alone, and whose energy is reduced through interaction with others.
For example, have you ever gone to a party, and after a while, felt like you were worn out from being around so many people for so long? Do you sometimes yearn to get away for some alone time, to “recharge your battery”? Do you dislike “small talk,” preferring instead long, deep conversations? If so, then you may fall somewhere on the introvert scale. You can take this quiz to find out.
So what does this have to do with business? The book goes into detail about how the current business environment in the U.S. values the qualities of extroverts over introverts. Extroverts enjoy socializing, they work well in teams, are more likely to speak up in meetings, and excel in networking. Sounds like a great employee, right?
However, as Cain writes in her book:
I worry that there are people who are put in positions of authority because they’re good talkers, but they don’t have good ideas. It’s so easy to confuse schmoozing ability with talent. Someone seems like a good presenter, easy to get along with, and those traits are rewarded. Well, why is that? They’re valuable traits, but we put too much of a premium on presenting and not enough on substance and critical thinking.
Introverts can feel like they are overlooked in the business world because they aren’t the person volunteering to be a group leader…or the person organizing the office happy hour…or the person always speaking up in meetings. But introverts have great qualities. They are often responsible, independent, studious, good listeners who appear calm and self-contained, they think before they speak, and have a strong ability to concentrate. Introverts have just as much to offer as extroverts!
There have been loads of introverted leaders throughout history. Abraham Lincoln, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama, Albert Einstein, Susan B. Anthony, Colin Powell, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Mahatma Gandhi… just to name a few.
The point is, while extroverts are highly valued in the American workplace, introverts needn’t be ashamed of the way they are. We need both types of people in this world. So if you are an introvert, know that there is nothing wrong with you! Your traits are just as valid and important as those of your extroverted friends and co-workers. Take comfort in knowing that your introspective nature and tendency to think things through deeply is an asset to your business or company.
So tell me: Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21326292@N00/221869824/
Posted By Merideth Mehlberg April 18th, 2013
Once a month I feature one of the experts from my Career Gold Club.
These people are business and lifestyle professionals with vast and diverse talents, interests, and expertise who work in a variety of industries: from acupuncture to finance, corporate executives to entrepreneurs. This series offers you a sneak peek at some of the voices you’ll find when you join the Club .
Their stories have inspired me, and I hope they do the same for you.
Meredith Haberfeld is a leader in the world of coaching.
In high demand, Meredith works with entrepreneurs and executives at major institutions such as Johns Hopkins University, Forbes, JP Morgan Chase, Credit Suisse, FuseTV, and the World Health Organization; and has advised in the development of life coaching education at MIT. She teaches at top universities, spas, and educational institutions including: Pace University, Equinox Fitness, The One and Only Ocean Club, The Learning Annex, Natural Health Magazine retreats, and The Esalen Institute.
With over ten years of coaching and training, Meredith is founder/CEO of Meredith Haberfeld Coaching. Prior to that, she was a Senior Vice President of Paradigm Direct, a $200 million dollar marketing services firm, managing a team of over 60 employees. Her business background allows her to work effectively with entrepreneurs, executives, and their teams. In addition to her work with businesses, Meredith is commended for her work with individuals, couples, and families on designing and achieving their goals.
Meredith has been called upon as an expert and is referenced in publications like Forbes, Women’s Day, Glamour, Daily Candy, Bottom Line and more. She has an uncanny ability to build leaders, happiness, wealth and deep, lasting satisfaction in life.
Learn more from Meredith, and other leading teachers, speakers, and inspiring authors by joining Career Gold Club today.
Posted By Merideth Mehlberg April 15th, 2013
A healthy body and mind are essential for optimal performance—on the job and off.
As you may know from reading my blog, I love to dance. Not only is it fun, but it’s also part of my fitness routine. Even when I’m lethargic and feel like skipping dance class, I always feel so much better and happier afterwards. It’s a physical and mental boost!
Keeping one’s body in shape is important because it also keeps the mind sharp.
Don’t think for a minute that learning and practicing Zumba moves doesn’t involve some high-level motor and memory skills!
One popular way to keep one’s mind sharp is meditation. Meditation, according to Wikipedia, is a practice in which an individual trains the mind to induce a mode of consciousness. It’s a state of thoughtless awareness that brings about calmness and peace. It’s not, as is sometimes thought, a practice that completely clears the mind of mental chatter. It’s a way to observe, without judging.
There are many benefits to meditation that can enhance your professional life, too:
- Meditation can help you cope with the external “noise” that clogs up your day. Juggling the needs of your job and your family, and everything else that comes with being an adult, can be overwhelming. By meditating, you can slow down and find it easier to focus on what’s most important.
- Meditation has been shown to reduce anxiety and improve mental clarity. If you are stressed about your job or a difficult decision in your life, meditation can help you get to the root of the issue and make calm, rational decisions.
- Meditation can foster creativity and productivity by helping you think more deeply and come up with new, creative ideas and solutions to problems. Once you are in a meditative state, and you can focus clearly without distraction, you may find that your mind goes to new places that you didn’t expect. It’s like finding a brilliant, unused corner of your brain!
If you’ve never tried meditation, I recommend you give it a shot and see how it can bring some peace and clarity to your daily life.
There are a variety of ways to meditate—there is no right way. Some meditations are guided; some are not. Start out slow, just five or ten minutes a day, preferably in the morning before your day ramps up.
Like my Zumba moves, it can take some practice—but the well-being benefits are worth it.
image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alicepopkorn/6653284651/
Posted By Merideth Mehlberg April 1st, 2013
Many of us find goal setting to be a challenge.
We have so many things we want to achieve, so many things we dream about, but we often don’t know how to plan for our success.
We know it’s important to set goals, but, we don’t often do it.
Or, we do it but miss a critical element: making them measurable and time-bound.
Because without these elements, we can’t measure progress—in other words, we don’t know when we’ve achieved what we want to achieve. Goals need to be quantifiable for us to be able to chart our progress.
For example, if your goal is:
- “To be successful.” How do you measure success? Compared to what?
- “To make more money.” How much do you want to make?
- “To travel more.” How much more?
- “To be happier.” What makes you happy?
My point: how will you know you’ve achieved your goal if you don’t define your measurement of success? If you can’t gauge accomplishment, you may find yourself endlessly reaching for a goal that keeps moving further from your grasp—and that’s definitely not what you want. Instead, set yourself up to succeed with realistic, specific goals that are time-bound and attainable!
Let’s try that again:
- Instead of a goal: “to be successful,” say, “I want to be promoted to Account Executive by the end of 2013.”
- Instead of a goal “to make more money,”say, “I want to earn X dollars per year.”
- Instead of a goal “to travel more,”say, “I’m going to take at one international trip every year.”
- Instead of a goal “to be happier,” say, “I want to visit my grandchildren at least three times per year” (or whatever you define that makes you happy).
Take a look at your life and the direction you want it to take, and then set specific goals you can realistically achieve in a particular time frame. In the long run, doing so will lead to more goal-achievement and to a greater overall satisfaction with life.
Want to know more about setting intrinsically motivating goals and getting the support you need to achieve them? Let’s talk!
Posted By Merideth Mehlberg March 21st, 2013
Once a month I feature one of the experts from Career Gold Club.
These people are business and lifestyle professionals with vast and diverse talents, interests, and expertise who work in a variety of industries: from acupuncture to finance, corporate executives to entrepreneurs. This series offers you a sneak peek at some of the voices you’ll find when you join the Club.
Their stories have inspired me, and I know they will do the same for you, too.
Christina Rasmussen is on a crusade to change the way we live after loss.
As the founder of Second Firsts, Christina spends her time speaking, coaching and helping thousands of people to rebuild, reclaim and re-launch their whole lives—using the most powerful tool for personal reinvention: the human mind.
Before creating Second Firsts, Christina worked as a therapist and crisis intervention specialist, but after losing her husband to colon cancer, Christina experienced the agony of sudden loss, firsthand. With two daughters in tow, she began the tender process of transforming her tragedy into a new career, a renewed sense of purpose, and a life of joy and laughter. Second Firsts was born.
Christina’s personal story and fresh approach to life after loss has garnered international attention. She’s been featured as a Woman Working to Do Good in the White House Blog and was named the Leading Mom in Business by StartupNation.
But, as she points out, “This has never been about my story. I don’t want to be a phenomenon. This is about the work of Re-Entry. It’s about choosing to dance, laugh, love and live again.”
Christina’s first book, Second Firsts: Turning your Loss into a Launchpad, will be released by Hay House in spring 2013. She’ll also open the doors to her new social network, The Life Starters, in mid-2013.
Learn more from Christina, and other leading teachers, speakers, and inspiring authors by joining Career Gold Club today.
Posted By Merideth Mehlberg March 18th, 2013
Sometimes, the first step is the hardest one.
It’s so easy to procrastinate and keep putting things off, especially things you dream about for your life. But if you truly desire change, taking that first step is crucial.
It tells your brain that you ARE doing this. Whatever “this” is—changing your career, your health, your lifestyle. When you take that first tiny step, it’s no longer some distant, vague hope far away in the future. By taking steps to achieve it, you make your dream real—and harder to ignore.
Maybe that first step is buying a guidebook for a place you’ve always wanted to visit. Maybe it’s signing up for a class to explore a new field or hobby. Maybe it’s throwing out all the junk food in your cupboards to stop tempting yourself. Or maybe it’s just telling someone else about your plans to start your own business.
Your first step may be small, and it may require many, many more steps to follow in order to make your dream a reality, but it’s where we all begin and where change happens.
However long the journey, you can’t complete it until you start it.
So, what’s stopping you from taking your first step?
There will never be a “perfect” or “right” time to make a change. The best time is—you guessed it—right now.
What is one small step you can take today to move yourself towards your dream for your life? Tell me in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you!
Posted By Merideth Mehlberg March 4th, 2013
If you ask a room of adults to think about a coach or teacher who had a positive impact on their life as a child, you will find that most everyone has a vivid memory that still elicits emotion.
Remember that basketball coach that who didn’t cut you from the team because they saw potential? Or the music teacher who was always willing to patiently listen to problems? Or the soccer coach who was always respectful to opponents, win or lose?
Coaches and teachers have a huge impact on kids’ mental and social development. Children learn about confidence, respect, patience, sportsmanship, fairness, how to treat others, and so many other lessons that extend off of the field and out of the classroom—and into the rest of life. Coaches, in all forms, guide us to see the world and others in new ways.
Here’s the thing—the valuable guidance of coaches doesn’t have to stop at childhood! Working with a coach can enrich you life and help you to achieve your goals. Every day in my coaching practice, I employ the skills of deep listening to understand my coaching clients and their challenges. I also provide accountability and support—attaining one’s goals is a team effort!
There are so many people in my life who have coached me when I needed career advice, motivation, and pep talks—and I still use coaches today! And, I am so fortunate and honored that for the last 10 years, I’ve been able to coach others in achieving their professional and personal goals.
I encourage you to find someone you admire and tell them so. Ask them how they got to be where they are today. You never know where the discussion might lead and how profoundly their answers may affect you!
P.S. If you are looking for additional coaching inspiration at your fingertips, consider joining my new Career Gold Club. I’ve personally collected and curated a group of my favorite experts to share their life secrets and provide value-rich, easily-accessible resources (videos, interviews, tips and tools) and coaching calls to help you to find ways to bring more joy and success into your life, personally and professionally. Learn more here.
Posted By Merideth Mehlberg February 28th, 2013
Do you hate your job? You’re not the only one.
A Nielsen study found that fewer than half of American workers said they were satisfied with their jobs. Only 15% of workers said they were “very satisfied” with their job.
So what do you do when you’re one of the unhappy ones? How can you find a way to get something positive out of your job when you are counting the minutes until the end o the day? Here are five ways to make lemonade out of a lemon—a job lemon!
1. Build Connections. Even when you don’t like your work, there are likely some opportunities to build your network. Treat everyone you meet like a potential contact—you never know who can help you down the road. Several of my clients have found new jobs though someone they’d met at a previous employer!
2. Learn New Skills. Many corporations will pay for you to attend conferences, webinars, or certification courses. Taking advantage of these educational opportunities will not only stimulate your brain, but can give you credentials that may help you in another job or stage of life. Don’t be afraid to propose educational options you are interested in. Often, there is a way to make an authentic case for why attending that blogging conference you’ve been longing to go to will help you do your job.
3. Find a Mentor. Is there someone at your company that does work that you’d like to do? Or someone you find creative, innovative, or super-smart? Take the time to get to know them a little – offer to take them to lunch or out for a coffee, and find out how they got to their present role and what their day-to-day is like. Knowing how they did it can help motivate you to achieve your dreams, too.
4. Polish That Resume. I’m sure you’ve heard it before: it’s easier to look for a job when you are already employed. Not only do you look more attractive to prospective employers, there is less stress involved in finding a new job when you are already getting a paycheck. This gives you time to create thoughtful cover letters and applications, build connections, and put out your feelers to really hunt for the perfect position that feels like a true career step.
5. Use your Skills with a New Project. Is there something you wish you could do at your job, but it isn’t in your job description? Here’s a story: a colleague’s friend is an administrative assistant, just a few years out of college. She had some ideas on how to better promote her organization’s community events—but as an admin, marketing wasn’t in her job description. When she finally told her boss her ideas, he told her to “run with it.” She now spends part of her week marketing their events and really enjoys it. So my question to you is: What project can you take on that might add excitement and stimulation to your day?
An undesirable job doesn’t have to be a dead end—instead, think of it as a means to an end.
This job is part of your path to finding the career or job of your dreams. By persevering, staying positive, and getting support, you can find ways to take steps—even baby steps—toward your desired outcomes and ideal life.
original image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/h-k-d/2576372736/
Posted By Merideth Mehlberg February 20th, 2013
I am excited to announce an upcoming teleseminar with one of the most visionary thinkers about the way we work today.
On February 27th at 12:15 Pacific, join me for a chat with award-winning author, leader, and speaker Pam Slim, where we will discuss the topic:
Test Often and Fail Fast: The Art of Rapid Deployment to Quickstart Your Business.
This is a rare opportunity to chat with Pam in a teleseminar where you can ask questions and listen to her words of wisdom that will inspire you to start or move your business forward with actionable, realistic steps.
Ask yourself: How often do you get a great idea to create a new project, or write a book, or start a new business venture, but never do anything about it? Most people have a big problem translating a big idea into feasible, actionable and most importantly, tiny steps. In this interview, Pamela Slim will teach you how to get a jump-start on bringing your big ideas to life by testing often and failing fast, creating rapid prototypes and surrounding yourself with strong peer mentors.
This teleseminar is open to all, at no charge, but you must register as we have limited spaces available. There will be a recording of the session available to those who signed up and to members of Career Gold Club.
This interview with Pam is an example of the types of leaders and innovators that we feature in Career Gold Club, a comprehensive resource for busy professionals seeking success in their careers and joy in their lives. To learn more about how to join and the benefits of Club membership, check out the Career Gold Club site.
If you want to learn how to move beyond the stumbling blocks that keep you stalled in idea mode to a place of taking action, then you won’t want to miss this teleseminar with Pam Slim.
About Pamela Slim
Pamela Slim is an award-winning author, speaker and leader in the new world of work. She spent the first 10 years of her solo practice as a consultant to large corporations such as Hewlett-Packard, Charles Schwab and Cisco Systems, where she worked with thousands of employees, managers and executives. In 2005, she started the Escape from Cubicle Nation blog, which is one of the top career and business sites on the web. She has coached thousands of budding entrepreneurs, in businesses ranging from martial art studios to software start-ups.
Pam is frequently quoted as a business expert in press such as The New York Times,The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Information Week, Money Magazine and Psychology Today. She is a proud suburban mom in Mesa, AZ , who enjoys the look on people’s faces when she tells them she is also a brown belt in Mixed Martial Arts (it comes in handy when fighting for the last good bunch of kale at the grocery store).
"I've found Merideth's sessions to be very professional, and warm at the same time. She has many suggestions and tools to help one cut through confusion and indecision, and yet guides you through your own process. I consider her services invaluable, and highly recommend them."