Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Time of reckoning

Tax time is a time of reckoning..
We finished our personal and business tax filing yesterday. Whew! As I was gathering information for expenditures, income, assets, and liabilities, I realized that it felt like I was reconciling the last year of my life. Many things didn't work out as I had expected. There have been joys and disappointments, but for us it all worked out well at the end of the year. We've had years where April 15th wasn't a day to look forward to. But this year we have been very blessed. We bought a house, my business is going in a new direction, and my husband has set a tentative date for retirement.

So, why was this a year of blessing? Because we actually got a refund? Every year we are blessed in different ways, but I must admit that I am affected by the measures of success around me. I admit it! To measure myself by what I own would be to measure myself on the basis of greed. I remind myself everyday--well actually I often need to be reminded--that success doesn't come from money. I will continue to look for ways to make a difference in the world and those around me this year. Quite a noble goal!

This website is intended for informational purposes only. For professional personal/ career coaching, call or email Nancy for personal/career coaching, consulting, resources, and information to meet your personal needs. See links on the side panel for professional organizations. Copyright CLWD © 2005 Nancy Miller

Monday, March 09, 2009

What did you hear today?

Today I enjoyed a beautiful sunny morning in the community garden. A small group of us gathered around a block of dirt surrounded by walkways and imagined how the garden might look and what we wanted to grow. We took a few minutes to breath the air and notice the sounds around us. The sound of birds stood out in my mind. Someone else heard traffic. I seem to be very tuned in to the sound of birds.

My husband and I take long walks through the greenbelt that runs through part of Elk Grove. As we walk past the trees and small lake, my husband points out birds in the water, in the trees, and along the brush. He knows the birds by the sound of their voices. I have become very aware of the sound of birds. I don't know their names, but I listen to their different calls. I no longer remember the sounds of traffic. Because I pay attention to birds, that is what I remember at the end of the day.

Much of our lives are driven by what we choose to hear and pay attention to. What sounds do you remember at the end of the day? Did your day end with the sights and sounds you wanted to think about and dream about? You can choose what to focus on and remember, and your memories become a part of you.

This website is intended for informational purposes only. For professional personal/ career coaching, call or email Nancy for assistance with consulting, resources, and information to meet your personal needs.

Copyright CLWD © 2005 Nancy Miller

Monday, March 02, 2009

Looking for Band Aids

During difficult times people are often looking for a Band Aid rather than a vitamin. As a personal/career coach I am in the vitamin business, but right now people seem to be looking for Band Aids rather than vitamins to improve their business or employability. As a culture and a people we have over spent and over indulged. Almost everyone who could did to some degree or another. Now we want quick easy fixes for a big problem.

There may not be quick solutions, but there are things we can do. For one thing, take your vitamins. You can plan, prioritize your values, strengthen your relationships, and tighten your belt. This is a great time to find where the needs are, build up your business skills, and be grateful for what you have. I am very grateful for the material comforts that I am blessed with. As a family, we are doing better financially and relationally than we ever have. When friends were buying bigger houses, we began thinking about downsizing. We sold our house, paid all of our debts, and bought a car and investment house with cash. Friends thought we were crazy for selling our house and buying a house out of state. We thought we were crazy for renting an apartment close to work, walking, taking the bus, and paying cash.

I loved living close to town, walking, and feeling like I was in the heart of all that Sacramento has to offer—the good, bad and the ugly. I felt the discomfort and inconvenience of renting an apartment that flooded, leaked, and smelled musty. I gained empathy for people who were less fortunate than I was. After four years of renting, we had the opportunity to buy a house on a short sale. We weren’t just smart or just lucky, but we were able to tighten our belts for a time, and then find ourselves in a position to benefit from the change in the economy. In my experience, when I lost hope in the future, I spent more on immediate pleasures. For some too much optimism without a reality check led to over indulgence.

I love spending time with family, friends, and colleagues. I look for ways to use my counseling, coaching, and entrepreneurial skills to work in the community. I enjoy sharing what I have learned from my own insights, experiences others have shared with me, and trends in careers and entrepreneurship. Send questions, comments, and experiences as we share this journey together.