Build Your Personal Brand Part 1 with Jennifer Carole

As an experienced marketer who happens to love brand, one of the things I’ve often coached (mentored, advised) people on is building their personal brand. Here’s what that means: helping people articulate what they stand for and who they are in a way that’s personal, relateable and memorable.

Today, in part one, I am adding something new to my approach. Based on information I learned in coaching school, I want to start with helping you do a personal exercise to identify what matters most to you to clarify your direction.

Setting intention has been shown to be a powerful way to get what you want. So before we get into the steps I usually take, let’s start here. If you struggle with the exercise, you might want to start with the Wheel of Life to help clarify your priorities. Let me know what you think!

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Here’s the exercise

Preface: you can do this at any time. Doing this today, will reflect how you’re feeling today. Things might change, so you might want to revisit this exercise when your circumstances or perspective change.

On a piece of paper, draw four columns across the page. You can label them 1, 2, 3, 4 so if I refer to it, you’ll know which column.

In column 1: write down the three things you want most out of life right now.

In column 2: write down three things you’d like to do in your lifetime.

In column 3: write down three things that make you unique. (Yes, there are things that make you unique – it doesn’t mean other people don’t also have these traits, but in you, it’s special.)

In column 4: write down three improvements you can undertake (things you want to change, improve, create).

Now, for each column, choose one thing that really resonates for you. The one that speaks to you, maybe feels most true or most important.

Now the reveal

This works a bit like MadLibs. Write a sentence that goes like this:

I will [insert your column four choice here], using my [insert your column three choice here], to accomplish [insert your column two choice here], and in so doing, also [insert your column one choice here].

This is your new mission statement! If you want to share, shoot me an email. I’d love to hear what it is!

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Paranormal Investigator Stacey Scott

Stacey Scott is an experienced psychic medium (aka paranormal investigator) who gives accurate crime-related and paranormal case readings. She does it through a range of her gifts (different kinds of clairvoyance) to law enforcement agencies, victim’s families, and those experiencing paranormal activity in their homes, public buildings, etc.

Stacey has worked on a variety of cases, and the information and impressions she receives can contribute to and energize all manner of cases, especially cold cases, and those involving children.

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Here’s how Stacey can help your cold case.

Today, on the show, she talks about her process and how she discovered her abilities. I loved that she shared how she works with law enforcement on active and cold cases. Stacey does personal readings for folks and she explains how it works. She also doesn’t charge for helping on cases (wow!).

Finally, Stacey happened to also send me her notes on the Golden State Killer and I’ll be sharing that on The Lawyer’s Daughter podcast.

UPDATE

If you listened to The Lawyer’s Daughter podcast dated April 4, 2020, I talked about this bracelet in the last ten minutes of the show. Here’s the bracelet photograph Deb Domingo sent to me.

Here’s what Deb said, “The charms have names Roger (my Dad,) Cherie (misspelled,) Debbi & David (my bro.)After my turbulent lifestyle in the 90’s (trailer fire, storage unit loss, homelessness) it is a true miracle that I even still have this piece. For Mom to speak through it is beyond my comprehension.”

My heart is so full.

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Using Now for Life Design with Charlotte Smith

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The Wheel of Life

Here’s how to use the Wheel of Life. Charlotte explains how she uses the tool with her clients and it’s something you can do on your own. It’s a good time to plan. Use now to design the life you want tomorrow.

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The Wheel of Life – How to Live and Plan with Intention

The Wheel of Life is a tool we use in coaching to help us help you make thoughtful decisions about your life. All too often, there’s an interruption (coronavirus?) and we suddenly realize we aren’t happy. The reason can be simple, “I just lost my job” or complex, “I don’t need more money, my partner is amazing, but I just don’t feel very happy, and I can’t remember the last time I did.”

It turns out one of the secrets to living your best life is to live with intention.

A great place to start is a personal inventory. Re-create the Wheel of Life on a piece of paper and start to rate your satisfaction in the different areas (grab the wheel here). You might need to break down an area into subgroups (for example, you might break relationships down into intimate, kids, parents, etc.).

Start focusing on the areas that need work.

Immediately, you can start to fix the things that are broken right now. Are there small changes you can make? Is it time to reprioritize? If you’re struggling with determining what to do, check in with your values. Often values change over time – they don’t necessarily go away – but they can dial back to accommodate other values at different times in your lives.

For example, we often value independence when we first enter the workforce. That’s a solid lifelong value. But after about ten years of focusing on that value, we realize it’s not enough. If anything, we want less independence and more affiliation. That’s how values can flex as your mature.

Now visualize what you want in the future.

You can decide if the future is in five months or five years. That’s up to you. But as you think about what you want, you might want to once again check-in with your values. Maybe now caring for your parents is a high value, or owning a home, or having a child. It might be climate change or civil rights. Whatever motivates you is yours and important. Aligning your future with your values makes this exercise easier.

This is also when folks can tap the help of a coach. We go to school to learn that techniques that will help you discover your path. We don’t tell you what to do. Based on our life experience, we might offer suggestions, but we always ask first. You finding your path is essential. It must be based on what works for you. If you’re feeling stuck, you might need to do a little personal exploration first. I use a tool called the Energy Leadership Index (ELI) to help clients get focused.

The Life Coach Pod might offer inspiration.

Visit my YouTube channel or listen to the podcast. My aim is to provide a myriad of guests from all walks to life to inspire, encourage and support anyone looking to live their best life with intention.

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Improv! April Fools With Eileen Burke Woodward

Eileen Burke Woodward is one of the folks who taught me improv. I love playing with her and while we had no idea how this would work using Zoom, we gave it our best. When she’s not teaching improv or homeschooling her amazing sons, she does web design. What you may not know is Eileen is ready to team-teach with me on leadership coaching using improv. Learn more.

Of course the fact about her that I find most fascinating is her stint in the USAF. I think it’s because the Eileen I know is so willing to be bawdy and audacious, I wonder how she fit-in as a member of the military. That said, I’m glad she served.

Here’s what we pulled together for the April Fools show (note the nuance, this isn’t April Fool’s anything baby, just two fools enjoying the first day of April).

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Here are a couple improv videos to get you thinking (and smiling)

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Animal Care During Quarantine with Dr. Tom Mason

My college friend (we were on the same dorm floor at UC Davis a long time ago) joined us today to talk about animal care during our shelter in place. He talks about the status of veterinary care today and then what we need to watch for as we stay home with our fur babies.

My best story about Tom (that’ I’m allowed to talk about) is when he helped me and my roommate hide our kitty from our landlord (no pets allowed). The landlord knocked on his door (he lived upstairs) and Sophie, our cat, walked out right through his legs. “Not my cat,” is the way the story goes. He wasn’t lying!

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An experienced vet who’s working to bring positive change to the business.

Tom has more than 25 years of veterinary industry experience and leadership in two of San Francisco’s premier animal welfare organizations (The San Francisco SPCA and Pets Unlimited). Both operate The City’s two largest veterinary hospital and adoption programs. He brings a unique vision to veterinary practice management, practice leadership, and clinical operations, and how to utilize clinical advances and trends in technology to enrich client service and patient care.

Tom’s involved in an innovative new company working to support entrepreneurship in veterinary medicine at a time when large corporations are gobbling up our professionals. The company is called Curo Pet Care. If you’re a vet that’s interested, give them a call. He talks about this shift in the business at the beginning of the show.

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Moving Forward Financially with Jennifer Carole

I used to do a lot of writing for Financial Engines about saving, investing and retirement planning. I’ve always felt comfortable with money and I’m grateful, that for most of my life, I’ve done a good job earning it. When the virus hit, I knew I was screwed because I’ve been half-ass employed since May 2018 – yes, that aligns with when Joseph DeAngelo was caught (he’s the guy who killed my dad and stepmom).

Now here we are. Many of us unemployed or under-employed and for those with jobs, I’m sure you’re nervous about whether they’ll be here when we’re allowed back out of our homes. That’s a valid concern. With that in mind, let’s do a quick financial review so you can think things through before the panic really sets in (and if it does, be sure to listen to Heidi’s advice from last Friday).

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General Financial Health Check

Here are the top ten things you should think about right now based on the “Jen Carole School of Financial Management” which I’ve put together based on my experience and a little googling. I am NOT a financial adviser, lawyer or expert. There are lots of real experts out there providing advice so please do your homework before you make any big changes.

1. Take this money personality quiz. Yeah, I created this and it’s a good way to have a money discussion with your money partner. The point is, once you identify your money styles, you can have productive discussions about what matters most to you and your partner.

2. Focus on housing. You need this now and you’ll need it later. There are ways to get help if you’re struggling with your rent or mortgage. We also may need to consider renting rooms, sheltering the elderly, doing more to assist one another to get through these times. If you need income, this might be one of the kindest options out there.

3. Evaluate your debt. This matters, no matter what. Some debt you can let ride, other debt is very important because making those payments will ensure you have health insurance or a place to live (long term, right now rent waivers, where they exist, are not for very long). Where you can, negotiate lower payments. I believe making your mortgage payment is vital because this can tank your credit rating very fast. So can department store credit cards. But not paying off a medical bill typically doesn’t have the same impact on your credit score.

4. Do your taxes. Now. The CARES Act payments are based on your 2019 taxes. If they aren’t done yet, it reverts to 2018. If you want to get that money, you must get those taxes done. Tax deadlines have been extended, but remember, tax people get sick too, so expect delays.

5. Determine your approach to cash. In my humble opinion, you want to hang on the cash right now, so where you choose to spend it needs to be thoughtful and strategic. Some people might want to tap cash from their retirement savings (more on that below). If you choose to use that to pay off debt, really think about it.

6. Evaluate subscriptions, memberships. It’s so easy these days to sign-up for a low, monthly fee only to find we forget how many low, monthly fees we’ve signed up for. My credit card lets me look at recurring fees in a single view. You can also do it old school. Go through the list, trim what makes sense. Also, don’t be afraid to call your clubs, gyms, whatever, and see if you can suspend payments for the near term.

7. Continue to contribute to your retirement. This is especially important if your company matches. As long as they are giving you free money, take it. Take as much as you can. While the window for how much we can withdraw from our retirement is limited (see below), the value of free money can’t be ignored. Grab it.

8. Leave your investments alone. I am not an investment advisor, I’ve just been in the market forever and lost my shirt in 2008. But it came back. The advice from financial planners is if you can afford to, let it ride.

9. Watch the US economy. I spend a little time watching the economy and reading assessments of the future, and I have one here from Todd Tucker at the Roosevelt Institute. This is a liberal-leaning think tank – that’s why I find this interesting. I suspect we will see jobs rise in this sector and so we should focus on what will happen for both jobs and investments.

10. Buy with intention. Look at the supply chain (where did it come from, who is employed, does it require extensive shipping) and consider the need (is it plastic, is it just a long walk to the trashcan, is it necessary to sustain you or the ones you love). When choosing vendors, consider what you can buy locally so you keep your community thriving during these strange times.

Now about that 401(k)

The following content is based on a blog from a gentleman I used to work with at Financial Engines. Jeff Schulte is now CEO at ForUsAll, a company focused on making retirement plans cheaper, easier to run, and better at helping business owners and their employees retire comfortably. He wrote the piece for Plan Administrators (the people who run 401Ks). I’ve adapted it for consumers like you and me!

To help with the wide-ranging economic impacts of the Coronavirus, Congress has passed the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, commonly called the CARES Act. The Act has new rules that give us more flexibility to use our 401(k)s to help us deal with financial hardships.

Who is eligible for the new options?

There are two ways to qualify: those who have been diagnosed (or a spouse or dependent) with the virus SARS-CoV-2 or with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) by a test approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. OR those who’ve experienced adverse financial consequences as a result of being quarantined, furloughed, laid off or having work hours reduced; those unable to work due to lack of child care; and the closing or reducing hours of a business owned or operated by the individual due to the virus. And then, of course, other factors as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury.

The way I read this, there’s a lot of wiggle room and if you’re prepared to fight, you might have a good chance of gettimg what you need.

What are the new options?

The CARES Act gives us two new ways we can use our 401(k) to deal with the impacts of the Coronavirus.

Distribution. Those eligible (see above) can take a distribution by the end of year of up to $100,000, or their full retirement plan balance, whichever is less. The usual 10% penalty is waived and taxes (on the money you’ve withdrawn) will be spread across three years. Remember, these were pre-tax dollars you put away while working, so taxes are due. The idea was based on the notion that when you’re older, your tax rate will be lower. Also, you can redeposit the funds back into the plan (or a related retirement account) over the next three years and in doing so avoid paying taxes or receive a tax refund for the taxes already paid.

Loan. The CARES Act doubles your current retirement plan loan limits to the lesser of $100,000 or 100% of your vested account balance in the plan. It defers payments for the first year and the loan must be taken within the next 180 days. If you already have a loan, if you’re eligible, you can delay those loan payments until January 2021 but interest will continue to accrue.

Required Minimum Distribution Holiday. If you are taking distributions but might be interesting in stopping them right now in an attempt to wait for the market to come back and reclaim your losses, you might be eligible to stop those disbursements for the rest of 2020.

In all cases, you need to work with your Plan Administrator (the people who manage your 401(k)) or your IRA manager (the CARES Act seems to include these as well) to get the explicit details.

Thanks Jeff for the summary. Access to this cash could be a lifesaver.

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Managing Anxiety in Strange Times with Heidi Koronkowski

Heidi Koronkowski completed her Behavioral Coach Training at Anxiety Treatment Services with Dr. Dufford, Clinical Psychologist and Mary Szeles, Behavioral Coach. She also draws on her personal experience in overcoming severe panic and agoraphobia. Her goal is to provide context-sensitive coaching aimed at helping people live symptom-free.

Heidi suffered with anxiety, panic and phobias for over 15 years. After finding limited success through talk therapy and medication, she had a severe relapse and realized she needed to find a different kind of help. Dr. Dufford’s Anxiety Treatment Services relies on cognitive-behavioral tools and techniques that change the thought processes that fuel the anxiety. As a result, she has truly found freedom from anxiety, panic and agoraphobia.

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Tips for reducing anxiety

Today, on the show, Heidi shared a list of what you can do to help lower your anxiety. Here are her tips:

Set limits on information.
Limit how much you watch or read about the virus. In fact, moderate your intake of news in general including politics, the economy and all the information being shared right now. Try to consume it no more than one or two times a day. By constantly feeding your brain information about these scary events that are generally not in our control, your reinforcing a fight or flight response. To stay mentally healthy, we need to normalize our lives as much as we can.

Engage in the here and now.
Meditation lowers anxiety – here’s a great app that has guided mediations at no cost. Going out into nature works like meditation. If you can’t leave the house open a window. Hear the sounds, smell the air. Use all five of your senses. Go barefoot and let your feet feel the ground. Smell the flowers. Touch the leaves.

Be grateful.
Hopefully you can shelter safely. Now appreciate that. In fact, consider how many times you’ve said you wish you had a day at home. Take time to do projects or nap or watch a movie. Spend time with family.

Get creative.
Knitting, crocheting, painting, writing, baking are all great for helping anxiety. The key is to do something that feels productive and is tactile – using your hands and your body to create something engages your brain in healthy ways.

Have sex.
Sex releases dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin, which can boost your mood. There are six positions that are linked to relieving anxiety. Just remember, you have to decide if you want to end up with a baby in nine months – so be careful!

Tap your higher power.
Spirituality, however you define that, has been shown to reduce anxiety. It delivers hope, you’re taking positive action and you’re connecting to others energetically.

Finally, remember to connect with others. Check on your friends and family. Listen to them talk to make sure they’re doing okay.

Know that you are not alone. We are all in this together.

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Identifying Core Emotions with Melissa Santangelo

Today’s guest, Melissa Santangelo, The Groovy Goddess, is the founder of a full service affordable holistic fitness, wellness and skin care center, Spa Santangelo. Located in a serene spot among the redwoods of Felton, CA, with flowering gardens and her mosaic art, she created her dream by opening the first of its kind spa in the Santa Cruz Mountains, in 2003.

Certified in Yoga, Pilates, massage and energy work, Melissa is an expert in the field of tender loving care (TLC), detoxification, weight loss and stress reduction. She has led classes, workshops and written many articles on the subject of holistic care. She talked with us about how to identify our core emotions and using that awareness to shift from the blues to productive happiness.

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During the show, Melissa refers to a few interesting concepts on the show and I wanted to provide some images and links to help you understand more about the topics.

Follow her on Facebook. Her Chakra Dance information is here. And her website: SpaSantangelo.

Vibration

She talked about moving from low vibration to higher vibration. You can learn more about that from the work of Dr. David Hawkins. These two images gives us two ways to conceptualize it.

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Unknown copyright.
Wheel of Emotion

Then Melissa explained the Wheel of Emotion. This tool is amazing and could be a good way to draw out someone who is having a hard time expressing themselves. I found this article to share because I think looking at it through a writer’s eyes is interesting.

Copyright unknown.
The Chakras

And finally, we had an interesting discussion about the chakras and if you haven’t traveled this crunchy path (that’s what we call it out here in The Land of Fruits and Nuts), please take a look. It’s an interesting way to explore grounding and spirituality. This article does a great job of explaining.

Copyright Integrative Yoga Therapy www.iytyogatherapy.com
Oil Pulling

Finally, Melissa talked about a technique she uses, called oil pulling. If you’re looking at this sideways, here’s an article from WebMD talking about its value. Here’s her video with more information.

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The Mind Body Connection with Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson spent more than four years as a personal trainer in San Jose. He loves his career helping his clients become fit and confident. Ron believes our bodies are such an essential part of our well-being, our personas, and how we are seen in the world – he understands the mind body connection. He realized working on his own body, that real transformation was possible.

Ron believes to experience equanimity and well-being, it takes more than just changing one’s physical strength. It is also takes understanding of how we feel within ourselves. This awareness has led Ron to expand his life’s work and integrate life coaching with personal training. He is determined to help his clients live a more well-rounded life.

Update: If you look closely at Ron’s podcast, you’ll find an interesting one with me! I spoke with Ron and Gloria on Life’s a Shuffle about insecurity and confidence. It was an amazing discussion.

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