All ‘Personal Stories’ Posts

19 nov

Working from Home and Saving Money

JennaSmithWhen you make the big switch to freelancing or working from home, you gain a lot. You are able to work at your own comfort and speed, without the worry of a supervisor coming to check on you. You are able to wear pajamas if you want, and work from your bed or your couch.

On the other hand, you often have to adjust to living on a reduced income. A freelancing career takes a while to ramp up, and even if you are earning as much as you made at your old job, you’re often paying more in taxes. Since self-employed people are required to pay both the individual and the employer’s portion of Social Security and other taxes, even if you’re making the same amount of money each month, less of that money goes into your pocket. Still more of your income has to go towards funding the business itself — the web hosting, for example, that helps clients find your work.

All of this means that you have to learn how to live on less. Don’t worry — we’re not suggesting you give up your new freelance career and go back to your old job! Instead, here are the steps you need to take in the next 30 days to get your finances on track.

Start eating at home

If your old job meant grabbing a Chipotle burrito or Corner Bakery sandwich every day for lunch, it’s time to swap out that habit for a more economical one. Eating out every day costs far more than eating at home, even for “meal deals” like McDonald’s Dollar Menu. As Trent Hamm of The Simple Dollar proves, it is cheaper to buy ground beef and make your own hamburgers than it is to buy the same amount of hamburgers even at $1 each!

That means you have to start planning and shopping. Buying pre-packaged sandwiches from the grocery store isn’t saving money. Slicing your own cheese for sandwiches is. Look for meals you can make while you work, such as slow cooker stews or hearty casseroles. The more money you save on food, the more money you’ll have to support your new business.

Cut back on your overhead

If it’s a monthly payment and you don’t need it, it’s time to let it go. That means no more magazine subscriptions, and no more gym memberships. (Yes, staying healthy is important, so find activities you can do for free, such as running, or joining a sports league.)

There’s one place where you probably shouldn’t cut back: your entertainment/internet/cable package. You definitely need internet for work, and you don’t want to skimp on your download and upload speed. Instead of cutting back on cable and internet, look for deals on a combination package. As the bloggers at MoneyNing note, a good Verizon FiOS double play promotion code can get you significant cost savings as well as a bonus $300 Visa gift card. That’s money in the bank!

Figure out how much money you need to earn every day

When you’re a freelancer, it’s easy to get into a procrastination habit. With no fears of a boss coming after you, sometimes that little break stretches into a lost afternoon. Solve this problem by figuring out how much money you need to earn to make your monthly financial goals. Then, every day, make sure you do at least as much work as would earn a day’s amount of money. If you have a project that is supposed to earn you a week’s worth of income, for example, make sure you complete at least 20% of that project every day, Monday through Friday.

If you implement these three steps over the next 30 days, you’ll be well on your way to a successful “work at home” career. Then you can devote your time to growing your new business.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on November 19th, 2013 in Career, Finances, House and Home, Personal Stories | No comments

12 nov

It’s Real: Being Almost Depressed

Jope2“You’re clinically depressed.”

Those three words were music to my ears just a few years ago. Sounds crazy, but I was relieved because I finally had answers.

From age 15 up until a few years ago, I dealt with periods of extreme sadness. When I was “happy,” I was never quite at peace. I read about depression but never felt I completely fit the description. I wasn’t having thoughts of suicide and I still got out of bed and functioned every day. I told myself it was time to accept who I was: Sullen.

Almost Depressed
When I finally received an official diagnosis, it was like being handed all the answers to a test. Everything I had been silently struggling with now had an explanation and it all started with being “almost depressed.”

According to a recent article on, Harvard Medical School has been studying the “almost depressed” phenomenon and determined approximately 75 percent of low-grade depression (almost depression) turns into full-blown depression if not treated. If I only knew this back then.

In the article, Shelley Carson, an associate of the Department of Psychology at Harvard University and author of a book about almost depression, says almost depressed people sometimes report feeling worse than those who are clinically depressed.

While that finding seems a bit bold, it actually makes complete sense. Finding out I was clinically depressed certainly wasn’t uplifting news, but it finally gave me answers. Answers I didn’t have when I was almost depressed, which only made me feel worse. With a real diagnosis came clear cut treatment options like medication, specialized counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy methods.

Carson points out almost depressed people suffer from depression that isn’t “severe enough to warrant clinical treatment.” As a former almost depressed person, I simply assumed I was bored or in a rut. Instead, I was coping with something that didn’t have an explanation at the time. I felt worse for not understanding what was wrong.

Anyone who has dealt with clinical depression understands its severity and how scary it can be. Its predecessor, almost depression, should no longer be overlooked. Not understanding what you’re feeling or brushing your negative emotions aside won’t make the depression go away, no matter how mild you may think it is.

If you suspect you’re almost depressed, plenty of things can help. Practicing mindfulness, eating well, exercising and engaging in activities you enjoy are a few ways to fight the depression.

My biggest tip? Seek counseling. Being almost depressed doesn’t exclude you from speaking to a professional. It’s possible you may only need a few sessions to get yourself back on track. A professional diagnosis can be the difference between being in the dark and getting on the path toward treatment.

Jennifer Jope is the author of, where she documents her own struggles with depression, including what she learned in a behavioral health program. Her health writing has appeared in Dr. Andrew Weil’s Self Healing Newsletter and

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jen Jope on November 12th, 2013 in Health, Personal Stories | No comments Read related posts in

05 nov

7 Signs You Suffer from Impostor Syndrome

Kerrigan2“You think, ‘Why would anyone want to see me again in a movie?’ And I don’t know how to act anyway, so why am I doing this?” —Meryl Streep

“I have written 11 books, but each time I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’” —Maya Angelou

“I still doubt myself every single day. What people believe is my self-confidence is actually my reaction to fear.”—Will Smith

If you’ve ever felt like this, then welcome to the club — the Impostor Syndrome Club. Obviously, you’re in good company.

The impostor syndrome is known to afflict not only the rich and famous but many successful executives as well. Primarily career-based and achievement-driven, it is a phenomenon where people are unable to own their accomplishments or value, despite evidence to the contrary.

The sufferer has a nagging fear of being found out as a fake and a phony, as if they’ve fooled everyone into believing that they are competent. Any and all success feels completely undeserved and dismissed as luck, timing, or something other than talent, intelligence, hard work, and perseverance. Many professionals have a respect that they feel is not earned, and a title that they feel they don’t live up to.

Some experts say it’s cultural; some say it’s psychological. This expert (and sufferer) says, “Who cares?” It’s painful and chronic. It’s the most awful, sinking feeling that is the height — and depth — of insecurity.

Although everyone feels doubt and anxiety at times, this syndrome causes a constant cycle of shame and embarrassment, and manifests in self-defeating thoughts that amount to one thing: “I am not worthy.”

And yes, the biggest deceiver in all of this really is us: Not in how we believe we lie to others, but in how we lie to ourselves. You see, impostors tend to mistake feelings for facts. But, feelings, unlike facts, lie—and they lie often.

Understanding this an important step in letting go. By recognizing the lies we tell ourselves and challenging them, we gain perspective, clarity, and confidence.

So–How do we lie to ourselves?

1. You tend to focus on the one thing that’s wrong rather than what’s right.

When I was hired to lead operations for a technology startup, I was brought onboard for my leadership and operations skills: my ability to structure and unify a team, point them in the right direction, and execute strategy. Yet, my focus was my abysmal lack of technology skill. I was beating myself up constantly over this one point. The fact that I had a long, successful career was lost on me. I was too busy feeling defective.

We are drawn to and focus on the negative instead of the positive. Anxiety and fear just seem to feel more natural to us, and often, become habit. Whatever we focus on only intensifies, so try focusing on the good.

2. You think it’s too easy — that anyone could do it.

I have a friend who is terrific at technology. He can write code, design websites, repair computers, and do a million other techie things. I think he’s amazing. He thinks a monkey could do it. When you know what you’re doing, it seems effortless. And it is — to you. What you may think is nothing is really something to someone else.

We don’t understand that certain things come more naturally for us, and not for others, and so we devalue our gifts. Never assume that your own unique talents are easily duplicated.

3. You think it has to be difficult to be worthwhile.

Some of us are taught this at an early age by struggling for love and attention from one or both of our parents. They withhold love until we prove ourselves worthy. Since their love and approval means everything to us, we think that we have to fight for everything worthwhile in life. In fact, sometimes, we over complicate things just to compensate for anything that should be easy. It’s exhausting, and time to stop.

Forgive your parents. They were doing their best and relying on what they were taught. Because the lies we tell ourselves are often inherited, forgive yourself, too.

4. You believe that what you’re doing is never enough.

In trying to satisfy that inner need for recognition, we set unrealistic expectations. We also compare ourselves to others and think that we have to struggle to measure up. This paradigm means that we can only feel worthy when we are achieving, as that’s what it takes to get positive attention.

In the Harvard Business Review article, “How to Keep A-Players Productive,” Steven Berglas discusses the “extraordinarily punishing superegos” of over achievers such as Winston Churchill, who “voluntarily push themselves to extremes.” Churchill was enormously self-critical, reviewing everything in his head that he failed at, a ritual he learned at a young age from his abusive father.

Often, our self-critical, punishing voice is not our own, but one we’ve heard, loved and trusted more than our own selves.

We forget that no one is all achieving, in all possible ways, all the time.

5. You need the secondary gains, because you get something out of staying this way.

Often, we stay in the impostor state for a reason — even if we’re unaware of it. Sometimes, it pushes us to do our best work. In fact, I would hazard to guess that it’s the motivation that drives Maya Angelou each time she sits down to write a book. We become our own competition, always playing against ourselves.

I tended to prepare myself for failure, so it wouldn’t hurt as much if it actually happened. After the traumatic experience of getting laid off from a job I had and loved for years, I would protect myself with this psychological safety net.

6. You’re not in the moment because you’re too busy feeling and not doing.

When we allow our thoughts to wander, we can often over-think, over-analyze and feel lost. It is then that we see only the emotional and not the practical, and our overly-conscious selves can throw us off — and possibly out — of our game. We’re so focused on the fear that we lose the moment, and that’s where we really need to be.

Sports psychologist Harvey Dorfman helped baseball legends address fear by being and doing more in the present and talking and thinking less about the past or future. His mantra was “see the ball, hit the ball.”

If we allow ourselves to be too self-conscious, we’re too busy feeling instead of doing. We get ahead of ourselves with too much anticipatory anxiety and miss the moment. For impostor syndrome, doing is the best antidote. When we’re in the doing, we have no time to criticize ourselves.

7. You don’t have perspective, and need to take a step back.

Perspective matters. It’s like a Monet painting—up close, it seems like a bunch of wild brush strokes that don’t seem to make sense, but from a distance, their true beauty and value are revealed to us. So it can be with our own lives and careers.

We often de-value the positive impact we have on others. If it was someone else’s life, we could see it objectively. It took me a long time to see the value I brought to many companies and clients. I finally realized that if I saw someone else who had my career, I would think, “Wow, that’s terrific!” And now, I do.

Here’s the thing about impostor syndrome: We have a limited amount of time on this earth, and it’s our choice what we do with it. So, why rob yourself of happiness and fulfillment?

Whatever we focus on the most will intensify, so focus on the good. It’s what we tell ourselves that really matters, so stop lying to yourself. Challenge and change those thoughts, so you can change your life. It is a wonderful life, after all.

Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan

For over three decades, Michelle Kerrigan has been helping businesses and private clients excel in the workplace and grow in the marketplace. She is an expert in developing the practical skills and confidence critical to high performance and productivity. With extensive leadership experience and practical mastery in operational excellence, Michelle is a powerful resource for navigating change, conquering fear and doubt, and solving day-to-day challenges, resulting in more effective leadership and teamwork, higher efficiency and revenue growth. In addition, Michelle writes and speaks about the roles confidence and self esteem play in achieving success, and produces a series for public TV, Workplace Confidence. More at: and

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on November 5th, 2013 in Career, Global/Social Change, New Directions, Personal Stories | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

21 sep

Technology vs. Instinct and Common Sense: Are Smart Phones Making Us Stupid?

Kerrigan2I live in New York–one of the most fast-paced and exciting places in the world. It can also be one of the most dangerous places too. You need to be on your toes here, and aware of your surroundings. Otherwise, the consequences could be severe, even fatal.

However, one thing I’m noticing more and more lately is the rising addiction to smart phones, and people looking down, when they should be looking up. Smart phones are called that because of their technical capabilities. But are they harming our human capabilities? Our instinct and common sense?

I realized that, in the last month alone, I’ve seen 5 people almost get hit by bikes, cars, or taxis as they cross the streets in midtown, oblivious to the world around them.  And, recently, I read that the number of teens who are dying or being injured as a result of texting while driving is skyrocketing. In fact, texting is now surpassing drinking and driving as the prime hazard among that age group. And from what I see on the road, I can imagine the numbers are rising in adult accidents and fatalities too.

Then there’s another, less life-threatening , more career-threatening habit: Employees texting and tweeting while their bosses or company CEOs are speaking.  Or commenting on facebook when they should be working.

There are also the people dining out and gathering at bars everywhere, glued to their tiny screens and unaware of the life-sized action around them.  And, how many of us are so busy focusing on capturing a photo for facebook instead of actually experiencing and enjoying the moment? Just think of the last concert or public event you attended—did your smart phone make a guest appearance?

All this has led me to wonder:

Is all this reliance on technology endangering our lives?

Are we losing our ability to read a room and read the street? To hold a face-to-face conversation?  To listen and comprehend? Are our natural instincts, common sense and early warning devices being jeopardized by our handheld devices? Are we letting social media replace social grace, and distraction replace engagement, costing us our jobs, our friends, our experiences and our lives?

In other words: are our smart phones making us stupid?

Maybe it’s time to put the phones down, look up, and find out.

Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan

Michelle Kerrigan is an expert in workplace success who helps clients develop the practical skills and confidence they need for high performance and productivity.

Based on her 25 years’ leadership experience, Michelle provides an invaluable road map for conquering fear and doubt, navigating change and solving day-to-day challenges, resulting in higher efficiency, improved leadership and teamwork, and stronger professional and revenue growth. Michelle also writes and speaks on the impact self esteem has on success, and produces a series for public TV, entitled Workplace Confidence. More at and

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Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on September 21st, 2013 in Career, Global/Social Change, Health, Personal Stories, Technology | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , ,

17 jul

How to Live a Cultured College Life

JennaSmithMy college experience was full of social adventures, both on and off campus. These memorable times usually stemmed from my frustration with books. While I appreciate the knowledge that was given to me, book learning is certainly not where I had the most fun. The truth is that I enjoyed hanging out at the house social events, the quads and the places where people gathered to share ideas.

You don’t have to be a social butterfly to be a popular person; it’s just a matter of putting yourself in the right place with something interesting to say. There is no age group for approval, emerging into a college ecosystem takes considerable effort.

Read on for tips on how you can become the social connoisseur of your college journey.


Sororities and fraternities offer a kind of bond that lasts well into adulthood but you can go beyond those organizations and delve into on-campus clubs. Most campuses have a multitude of clubs to choose from and depending on your previous background, you could discover commonalities with the current members of each club. Some clubs are very diverse and you might find christian graduate program students hanging out with Ph.D candidates in the same club or start your own!

Joining these clubs will help you find more people that you can talk to about the things you are interested in. Interest and social merging come from connections, finding those connection grows your social web, to become comfortable and involved.

Collaborate with your new friends on starting your own club. Speak to the admissions office or dean’s office in relation to starting your own brand. You can expand on the current English or Film societies, by offering to host after events for meet and greets. You can create a subreddit dedicated to your club on the social bookmarking site “Reddit,” then take your membership and mission statement to campus administration and secure a physical meeting spot.

On Campus Events

My college hosts concerts once a year where artists of all types come to perform for the student body. Lots of booths spring up with fun games, prizes, and people generally hang out in the sun while they listen to music.

A site like Eventbrite might feature ticketed events you can visit on campus. Campus newsletters can keep you abreast of social events, such as receptions and gatherings. A site like can help you find off campus events in your area where you can meet other students outside the pressures of school life. You may be feeling a bit homesick, and Meetup can connect you with people from your hometown in your new college home. This incorporation of events allows you to merge into the student body with a desire to want to learn more by connecting more.

Talk to Professors

Students often form bonds with professors, and they may refer you to a study group that shares your interest in the specific subject. Take advantage of office hours and discuss meaningful ideas with your professor. If your professor maintains a discussion group, inquire about the subjects and ask for an invitation to learn more. College is as much about networking as it is about learning, so keep the lines of communication open with your professors.

Not only will a professor be pleased with your ability to become involved, but it could lead to an offering of a student teacher, assistance, recommendation letter or heading a study group. Doing so brings admiration from your peers, while bringing a sense of experience for academia and business processing.

Visit the Library

According to The Digital Reader, 76 percent of U.S. libraries offer eBook lending. This permits you to review and catch up on books via your mobile devices. The library is more than just that place you go to study in silence. There are tons of books about topics you may not have considered without the exposure. There is interesting work and reading on subjects like quantum theory, or anthropological studies of African tribal societies.

Challenge yourself to check out a new book on a topic that interests you and you’ll be amazed at how much you will learn by stepping out of your comfort zone. You may discover a hidden talent or passion that comes full circle once you expand beyond what you know. You might even pick up a valuable job skill in the process. Visit your campus library website to check out new exhibits or talks posted there too.

Soak in the Vibe

Campus life is about exchanging ideas and learning new things. It’s also about escaping the stress of the classroom, so make your time outside more cultured by trying out new things. Join local clubs, attend on campus events, talk to your professors and visit the library – your college life will be one to remember.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on July 17th, 2013 in General, Personal Stories, Teens | No comments

13 jun

Cigarettes – Out of Your Body, Out of Your Mind

JennaSmithQuitting smoking is not an easy thing to do for many people. No matter how much they know they need to quit or even how much they want to quit, the fact is, the addiction factors involved in quitting are hard to combat. Because smoking is both a physical and mental addiction, both of these aspects need to be addressed in order to break the addiction once and for all.

Old Habits Are Hard to Break

People become emotionally addicted to smoking. This includes the social aspect of it as well as just the fact — for smokers, it’s the first thing they reach for when they are upset or stressed out. Although contrary to the medical fact that engaging in smoking increases heart rate and other things associated with anxiety, there is no denying the psychological aspect of the “calm” the smoker receives upon inhalation. In a sad — and roundabout — way, cigarettes become a smokers “best friend”; one who is there when they need them, any time, any day.

How Do You Say Goodbye?

Replacing some of the habitual physical elements of smoking can help for a lot of people. Having something to hold or chew (or both) is an old stand-by means of facilitating the effort. These days you can try alternative means while working quitting with products like e-cigarettes from an electronic cigarette store. These devices have been incredibly helpful to many, especially on a psychological level. Having something to hold — and actually draw on can help ease the transition. The e-cigs with nicotine delivery capabilities also help ease a smoker down gradually.

How Do You Stop the Physical Cravings?

Chances are, you can’t. That doesn’t mean you cannot speed through them a little faster. Your body will go through withdrawals when you suddenly deprive it of the nicotine (and other deadly or harmful substances found in cigarettes) that it thought was essential to living. Most people that successfully quit will tell you these withdrawal symptoms can be terrible, but usually only last a couple of weeks or so. Unfortunately for a large number of people, that’s too long.

Getting the Gunk Out Quick

The body’s natural daily process is to eliminate waste and toxins. With the advances of medicine and understanding, we now have safe and effective ways to detoxify our bodies any time we want. You should always consult your physician before starting any kind detox program — in fact they will be able to help you choose the one that is safe and right for you, but a rapid detox may help increase a person’s chances for success.

Detoxification programs can help speed-up the removal of all of the chemicals that your body has has been storing and that you have become addicted to from smoking. If you can get these toxins out of your body safely, but faster, it makes sense that your physical withdrawal could potentially be over quicker.

Taking Care of You

Whatever methods you choose to quit, it is important that you take care of the whole you. Add a few healthy foods and beverages and omit a few unhealthy ones to your daily intake. Find supplements that specifically support purifying and strengthening the body. Surround yourself with people who will support you (unconditionally). Avoid stressful situations and the atmospheres that are prone to encourage smoking. And remember, you can quit smoking and start breathing easier. The first step, is up to you.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on June 13th, 2013 in Health, Personal Stories | No comments

30 may

Gifting Responsibly

JennaSmithGifting gives me great pleasure. I like to get everyone something special for their celebrate their day. I’m the kind of gal who comes back from a trip to with a suitcase full of souvenirs to give to my mom, my mentors, and my mailman. I never worried about cost, giving feels so good and generous. Until one day when taking a look at my credit card statement I realized I nearly gifted myself into the poorhouse!

I learned my lesson the hard way: moderation in everything, even generosity. Giving beyond my means stretched my budget thin for a little while. Now I approach gift giving more sensibly. I still aim to please. Now instead of simply swiping a card at the store, I exercise a little more creativity and spending smarts to show people that I care.

Opt For Experience

While I once felt pressure to pile my nieces with the latest in toys, now I focus on giving them an experience they never forget. I give them “Auntie Day Outs,” we’ll hit a nature reserve, fly a kite, and have a picnic. My area is full of low cost and free activities for families and kids and I take full advantage of it.

Spending these days together has truly enriched our relationships. The one on one time gives me a chance to get to know the girls. They both are so creative and so funny! And so different–the youngest loves to go on long hikes or bike rides; the oldest always want to go to the main library or the history museum. The experience and memories we make far outshines the thrill of them tearing paper off something they might get bored with in a week!

Bargain Hunt

I never even used to look at price tags. I guess I thought it made me seem wealthy. Now you can’t stand between me and a good bargain. I keep my eyes open for great deals when I go out, and make sure to check clearance racks and sale piles. I swear I have a talent for making exactly what I want appear at half price. The trick is to stare really hard.

Of course, the internet makes find deals a snap. I find amazing sales all the time online. I recently found great coupon codes for gift baskets to send to my aunt who lives on the other side of the country. I sent her a Breakfast & Bubbles gift set that fit exactly within my spending budget once I applied the code.


I make a lot of gifts at home know. I have to be careful though because making my own gifts can easily get as expensive as buying them. Handmade gifts are especially good for things like holiday gift giving because it is easy to make a lot of little trinkets at once. Lately I hand print sets of coasters.

I also started making my own greeting cards to send for holidays. Part of reducing my gift spending means that certain people on my list only get a card. Hand making each card allows me to personalize and ensure that the recipient still gets something special.

Gift giving still makes me happy, and I still allot space in my budget to make sure I can afford to be generous. I stick to the budget, though. It allows me to give presents responsibly!

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on May 30th, 2013 in Family, Finances, Personal Stories | No comments

17 may

Ariane’s Four Talks on Change

ArianedeBonvoisinHello! I’ve just added to YouTube four (4) videos that I wanted to share on Navigating Change. Some of them are nice and short, only five minutes long. If you’ve got a cup of tea and your journal, you can watch the hour-long talk I recently gave on “The 9 Principles of Change,” to a group of 500 executives. I cover personal, professional, health, family, relationship and financial changes. Enjoy and please share with anyone you know who is going through a change, thinking about a change, struggling or helping someone else with a change!

Click here to view Ariane’s Overview of Change.

Click here to view Ariane’s Questions about Change.

Click here to view Ariane’s The First Principle of Change.

Click here to view Ariane’s The 9 Principles of Change.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on May 17th, 2013 in Ariane, Career, Diet and Fitness, Family, Finances, Global/Social Change, Health, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Spirituality | No comments

25 mar

Workplace Confidence: Does Age Matter?

MichelleKerrigan“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Mark Twain

Mark Twain was a very wise man. And yet, age often causes such a chasm in the workplace, affecting teamwork, performance and innovation. Why?

A lot of it comes from perceptions driven by the media: seniors are slow and technology challenged; gen y is self absorbed with a sense of entitlement; and baby boomers are stuck in the past and glory days. Sound about right?

While many of these thoughts don’t originate with us, once we adopt them, they turn inwards, and we run the risk of putting ourselves in age boxes (18-24, 25-33, 34-45, 46-55). Like most things in life, it’s the stories we tell ourselves that get in our way.

Case in point: When asked to speak at Hunter College about navigating change, I was nervous about addressing a room full of students in their early 20s. In my 50s, I found myself thinking not like Mark Twain, but like Will McAvoy, the anchorman character in the hit show The Newsroom, who has that awful fear known as ”Am I still relevant?”

As I help people address issues with confidence, it’s odd that I even think of this, but that’s exactly why I think of it. If you let it, negative perceptions can shake your confidence to its very core.

So, as I arrived in the classroom, I kept trying to talk myself through it: “It will be alright…just 20-30 minutes, and I’m done and out of here, before they start yawning…..loudly.” See? We can really get fluent in ‘crazy’ when facing fear and doubt.

90 minutes later—yes, 90 minutes–I was in a deep Q and A with the students. I kept looking over to the professor, wondering when to sit down, and she mouthed—“as long as their hands are up, keep going.”

I found that the students were just as nervous as I, if not more so. They were concerned about all the changes they were facing—definitely at a much faster pace than I’ve ever experienced.

They were also frightened of entering the workforce, and being considered too young, too inexperienced, too inferior. In essence, give or take 30 years, they felt just like me.

They were so relieved when I told them that everyone has fears—no one’s immune. It’s what you do with your fear that matters. You can let it stop you by worrying about the future or getting stuck in the past. Or you can get in the here-and-now, and ask “What’s the next positive step I can take to move myself forward and who can help me?”

It was then that I realized the most relevant lesson of all: No one succeeds alone—no one. The success we felt in that Hunter classroom was a team effort—timeless and transcending all barriers. We can all learn from each other, and we should.

In the workplace, embrace this practice of working together, and there’s nowhere you can’t go. Performance, productivity, and innovation are driven by collaboration and must be unencumbered by preconceptions because they limit us and everyone we touch.

We all have something of value to bring to the table—our different strengths and experiences.

Age, like fear, doesn’t matter. It’s the confidence to move forward together that does.

Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan. All rights reserved.

For over 25 years, Michelle Kerrigan has been helping businesses and private clients achieve workplace success by developing the practical skills they need to improve their confidence. Based on her own leadership experiences, Michelle provides an invaluable road map for conquering fear and doubt, navigating change, and solving day-to-day challenges, resulting in more effective management and leadership, increased productivity and growth. Michelle also writes and speaks about achieving success, and is currently working on a series for public TV about self esteem and workplace confidence. More at and

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Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on March 25th, 2013 in Career, Global/Social Change, Personal Stories | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

21 jan

How to Talk to a Crush at Work This Valentine’s Day

JennaSmithCrushes at workplace are common, so if you have one at your co-worker, it’s nothing new. However, if you want to take things a step further and talk to your crush on this special day, then here are few tips that can help you strike that most-wanted conversation…

1. Ask Her to Lunch: Business associates and colleagues often discuss work over lunch. So asking her to lunch is a pretty harmless request, for which you won’t have to venture much out of your comfort zone. However, if you’re nervous about it then invite some of your other co-workers to join you.

2. Give Non-Threatening Compliments: Valentine’s Day is when women are more receptive, so why not show your interest to your co-worker by paying her some nice compliments? The only thing you need to be careful with is your choice of words. Be subtle in your approach and avoid saying anything that may look inappropriate.

3. Walk With Her Through the Building: If your workplace is in a building where you have to move from one place to another, then make use of this time that you travel through the building with her. Even spending a few minutes with her on this special day can do wonders if you don’t do or say anything uncomfortable while you’re walking.

4. Tickle Her Funny Bone: One easy way to begin talking to your crush is to crack some jokes because humor will make it easy for her to let her guard down and connect with you as a person, not just a colleague. However, do make sure your jokes are squeaky clean so that you don’t end up offending her right on Valentine’s Day.

5. Get Her Coffee: Sometimes even the smallest gestures matter a lot. If your crush likes coffee, then why not bring her one on this special day? It’s a great way to break the ice and get a conversation started. She will see your gesture as sweet and not aggressive. If you see her comfortable then you could take things forward and arrange for regular coffee dates.

6. Stop By Her Desk: While there are many indirect approaches you can take to spark a conversation with your crush this Valentine’s, the most obvious and direct approach is to stop by her desk for some official work, and get the conversation going where you try to ask her out.

7. Have Flowers Delivered: Flowers and Valentine’s Day go in hand hand, so what you can do is order some good flowers like daisies at and have them delivered at her desk. This will let her know that you’re interested in her and will make it easier for you to approach her.

Go ahead and use the tips that we discussed above with complete confidence, and don’t miss out on the chance to talk to your crush and ask her out on this Valentine’s.

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Posted by Jenna Smith on January 21st, 2013 in General, Personal Stories, Relationships, Things We Love | No comments