Four Favorite….

Career & Life Planning Resources for 2017

I wanted to share a few of my favorite resources for the New Year on Life & Career Planning- I hope you find these helpful!

Image result for new year

Favorite Podcasts:

  1. Success Talks: Interviews with various successful people from multiple fields (featured in Success Magazie)
  2. Michael Hyatt: This is Your Life
  3. The Tony Robbins Podcast
  4. TED Radio Hour– Various speakers on multiple topics

Best Books on Life / College / Career Planning:  (most are available as ebooks and on Audible)

  1. Living Forward – Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavy
  2. What Color is your Parachute for Teens –  Carol Christen
  3. Teens Guide to College and Career Planning– Justin Muchnick
  4. The Art of Work- Jeff Goins

Helpful Websites for Career Planning:

  1.  Occupational Information Network:
  2.  Career One Stop:
  3.  My Next Move:
  4.  Bureau of Labor Statistics:

My Newest Habits:

1.  Make small but consistent healthy choices. 

Often New Years is a time for dramatic resolutions that can quickly become overwhelming and lead to burnout.  If I had decided I should start running 5 miles a day I would quickly get discouraged and give up.  Instead I decided to make a few small changes that I can realistically stick with over time, including:

-Drink more water and less caffeine.  (It’s easy for me to drink coffee and sweet tea all day long- but that’s not the best way to stay hydrated and the excessive caffeine actually makes it harder for me to focus.)

-Do something physical for at least 10 minutes a day- even if it’s just a brisk walk.  (This one is not difficult now that I get to chase my very mobile 1 year old around most days- it’s not official exercise, but it wears me out!)

-Eat one more salad and one less fast food meal a week  (On work days I quickly default to the familiar cheeseburger and french fries for lunch- but all those calories just make me feel overly stuffed and lethargic by about 2:30.  I feel much more energetic with smaller portions and healthier options.)

These simple changes will have a positive impact on my health over time and are easy enough to commit to and stick with over time.

2.  Wake up 30 minutes earlier than I need to.

I’m using this time to pray, plan out my day, read, or spend some time planning for our future.  And it’s truly amazing the impact these few minutes alone have had on my mindset and productivity the rest of the day.  (My husband actually got me started on this when he started setting his alarm and getting up at 6am.  At first I was mildly annoyed to be woken up so much earlier than absolutely necessary- but when I decided to try getting up early too instead of laying there trying to squeeze in those last few minutes of sleep I suddenly had so much more free time in my day!  And where mornings used to be alot of frantic rushing around and stress, they’re now calmer, peaceful and actually pleasant- which is a nice start to the rest of the day.)

3.  Waste less time on TV, Facebook, etc.

 It’s so easy to grab my phone when I have a free minute, open Facebook and spend 30 minutes scrolling through other people’s lives.  Or to watch “just one more episode of whatever” on Netflix…6 or 7 times.   And while there’s nothing wrong with catching up with friends or enjoying a couple shows occasionally-  these activities have the potential to drain away a lot of my time with very little positive results to show for it.   I’m becoming more aware of how I’m choosing to invest my free time.

4.  Fill the void– Be productive with downtime; read, listen to podcasts, exercise or connect with someone.

We all have things we know would be beneficial for us but we “just don’t have time” for.  And while it may be difficult to find a whole extra uninterrupted hour in a day, we all have little pockets of time we can put to good use.   Five minutes to go for a quick walk outside, 10 minutes to read one chapter in a book or call a friend you haven’t talked with in a while.

We live in Houston so we spend a lot of time driving and in traffic- and I used to just flip constantly through several radio stations and get frustrated we weren’t moving any faster.   However lately I’ve been using my drive time to listen to podcasts and that gives me something to focus on and makes the drive time feel so much faster.  A friend of mine uses her drive time as prayer time and prays for herself, family and friends while driving.  How can you make better use of the little pockets of time we all have scattered throughout our day?

These are just a few of the resources and life changes I’ve found to be helpful recently and I hope they are useful for you too as you start off 2017!  I’d love to hear what positive changes you’re making in your life and what helps keep you motivated and focused on your New Year’s Goals!


Free Resources for Personality & Career Assessments

I wanted to share a few helpful and FREE resources for people interested in learning more about their personality type as it relates to their career choices.   There are so many different personality assessments you can take online but these use the Holland Code- which is my personal favorite as it has only 6 personality types and it relates your personality type to career options that could be a good fit for you.  So I hope these help and let me know if you have any questions! – 60 questions for your Holland Code results  – excellent site for students researching careers  (Occupational Information Network by US Dept of Labor) – another good site for researching careers – 72 questions Holland test and information on careers and educational levels



Career Coaching FAQ’s:


What is a Career Coach?

A career coach is someone who is trained to help others navigate through the career planning process successfully.


What kind of training did you receive?

To become a Certified Career Coach I went through a certification program with the Career Coach Institute which included trainings, personal study, a final exam and practice coaching sessions.  I also attend coach training events for continuing education credits needed for certification renewal.


What topics do you cover in Career Coaching?

Topics covered in Career Coaching sessions include:

-Life & career goals

-Career options for personality types (using the Holland Code)

-Job market trends

-College options

-Gaining experience on the job

-Increasing marketability in the job search

-Resumes, LinkedIN, and interview preparation

-Creating a budget for young adults


Who is Career Coaching for?

I specialize in working with high school and college aged students who are making college and career related decisions.  I also work with adults who want to make a career change.


How does Career Coaching work?

Career Coaching is typically done one-on-one with a career coach and a client either in person or via phone or Skype.  Sessions are typically 30 minutes – 1 hour each with homework projects given between sessions.   I can also do group coaching sessions (usually less than 12 clients) or workshops on Career Planning for larger groups.


How do you charge for Career Coaching?

I charge $75/ hr for single sessions and I also offer coaching packages of 4 sessions for $250.  I have some coaching packages preplanned but topics can be tailored to best meet the needs of the individual client.  Prices vary on group coaching and workshops, please e-mail for more information.


Why work with a Career Coach? 

Career Coaching can help shorten and clarify the college and career process.  This clarity can also save significant amounts of college funds as it helps reduce the amount of time students are in school.  A lot of students graduating high school aren’t real sure about what they want to do in their future and this often results in students going to college, changing majors multiple times, often dropping out before graduating and even some who graduate struggle to find good paying jobs in the field they are educated for.  Better planning before college can help make this transition from high school to adulthood smoother and more successful.   (Click here to read some recent statistics on college students and career planning.)


How did you get started in Career Coaching?

I struggled greatly with figuring out what to do with my life after high school.  I had a ton of creative ideas that ranged from being an astronaut to a fashion designer to a zookeeper- but no real practical plans when it came to a stable career path.  My parents recommended becoming a nurse and since I didn’t have any better ideas that’s what I did.  But I never felt that nursing was a good fit for me and my first 2 years as an RN were proof of that.  I felt strongly during those 2 years that there had to be a better way to do life and I started researching career planning.  I discovered the field of career coaching and felt that this was a way I could help others avoid some of the stress I experienced in my career path.


What perspective do you coach from? 

My foundational belief with career coaching is that God created each of us with a unique personality and purpose and it is my goal to help clients discover their God given gifts and passion.  I strive to help my clients find the perfect career path for them- and to find a job they both love and can make a living doing.  I believe the best way to motivate students is to help them find their passion and purpose and set them on a path to making their dreams reality.



“Jennifer sparked awesome student involvement and interaction in her Career Planning presentation today- she is friendly, engages with the students, and shares very well thought out information.  She covered every aspect of career planning and each topic was valuable and presented in a way that was easy for the students to relate to and understand. I recommend Jennifer’s Career Planning workshops for other high schools because it is important for students to begin this planning early so they have a goal in mind when planning for college and careers.”

–Ms. Beckert, High School Teacher FBISD


“I would like to thank you for the awesome presentation today at Marshall High School.   I really enjoyed your material and the delivery.  Your presentation kept the students engaged more than any other presenter that have spoken to them. The students enjoyed it and one of the students even made the comment ‘when is she going to come back?’  It has been a pleasure to work with you.”   

-Ms. Hicks, High School Teacher FBISD


“We enjoyed your visit and your message. The young people we deal with are amongst the most misguided and needy of the message. I think the presentation was insightful and most importantly let them know that a future is possible.”   

-Mr. Dobbs, Probation Officer, Juvenile Detention Center


“Career coaching has been very enjoyable and I am already benefiting from it.  It helped me plan out how to obtain my goals in small, do-able steps.”    

-James, High School Student


“Your workshop gave me a more solidified look at the immediate future and reinforced the importance of the decisions I make during these critical years.”  

-David, High School Senior


“This workshop gave me a head start on what to expect in life after high school.” 

-Cole, High School Senior


“Your presentation was funny and kept me interested the entire time; your personality is amazing.”  

-Jorge, High School Student


“I loved your presentation and it really motivated me!  Thank you so much!”

-Natalie, High School Student


“Your workshop really helped me organize my thoughts on my future.” 

-Briana, High School Student 

For more information on Career Coaching with Jennifer, please e-mail


Recent Statistics on College & Career Planning

cgUnemployment rates as of March 2015:

High School Dropout: 8.6%

High school graduates with no college: 5.3%

Associate’s degree or some college: 4.8%

Bachelor’s degree or higher: 2.5%

Approximately 44% of college graduates are unable to find a job in their chosen profession and take jobs in unrelated fields.  (This is often referred to as  underemployement.)

Many college students change majors three to five times- extending the four year degree to closer to six years.

The average college student graduates with about $29,000 of student loans.

The national ratio of counselors to students in schools is 471:1.

Career Coaching can help high school and college students prepare more efficiently for the college and career process than just letting them figure things out on their own.  For more information on Career Coaching with Jennifer please click here.

Not Quite Perfect


Often we have high (sometimes unrealistically high) expectations of how our life “should” be – which can leave us frequently disappointed when our reality doesn’t match up. But reality is that life is crazy sometimes, and really hard other times and seldom perfect for anyone for long.  There are always issues and when you get those issues resolved there will be new ones.  Life is dynamic, fluid, always changing.  We’re always learning, growing and seeing the world in new ways.

So if perfection is so difficult do we quit trying? No, but we also learn to love the imperfections, to celebrate today, to live now- not to put off joy until this happens or that happens or we finally achieve _______ .

So don’t stop dreaming and working toward your goals, but don’t put you life on hold until everything is perfectly organized – because it may never be- but it can still be beautiful.

Living your dream- or living the slash?

More and more lately I meet people who want to live their dream but are stuck living in the slash.  Writer / waitress.  Actress / barista.  Entrepreneur / Retail Sales.  Their time is split between what they want to be doing and a job that pays the bills.   Transitioning from the job to the dream can be challenging.  This can be more difficult for people pursuing non-traditional careers like entertainers, athletes or business owners.

Here are a few ideas to help chart your path out of the job and into the dream:

  1. Make sure you have talents (natural ability) and skills (learned ability) needed to be successful in the area you’re pursuing. We’ve all seen the American Idol auditions that someone should have redirected a long time ago. If you’re planning to make a living with your passion you must excel in it.
  2. Decide if you’re willing to commit the time and work necessary to making your passion a successful career. Some interests can be kept as a hobby but don’t have to be the source of your full time employment.
  3. Bridge the gap. Since success in non-traditional careers can take some time it’s usually helpful to have a dependable way to pay bills while you’re working toward your goals. One option is to look into some certification programs that can be completed in 1-2 years and can have a beneficial return on your educational investment.
  4. Network. Spend as much time as possible around people doing what you are interested in and ask them how they got started and if they have any advice for someone starting out in the field. One way to find these groups is to search for trade associations in your area and go to their monthly meetings.
  5. Volunteer or intern in your field of interest to start getting some real life experience and to make more connections for future career opportunities.
  6. Find a mentor who can help you walk through the process.
  7. Work hard and don’t give up.


Why I’m Never “Caught Up”

Last week I listened to an interview with author Steve McClatchy on time management.  It was a bit mind altering. I had to listen to it three times to fully process the ideas Steve was presenting.  I wanted to summarize some of the main points that really captured my attention here and I hope it is as helpful to you as it was to me.  (The full interview can be heard on Success Magazine’s February 2015 CD.)

  1. There are 2 types of activities we do in life.

-Prevent pain activities:  Things that we have to do or we will have negative consequences- our “to-do” list.

            Ex: take out the trash, clean house, laundry, etc.

-Gain activities: Things that move us closer to our big goals in life.

            Ex: write a book, get a degree, go on a vacation

Most of the activities in the Prevent Pain category are cyclical and must be done on a repetitive basis.  In other words- you’ll never “get caught up.”  Often we tell ourselves, “I’ll work on my goals when I get caught up with _________ first.”   But if we wait to work on our Gain tasks until we have time we’ll never get to them because we’ll be too busy taking out the trash and doing laundry.   This is why some days we can feel like we’ve been so busy all day long but didn’t really accomplish much.  One solution for this abundance of tasks and shortage of time is to delete or delegate some of these simple, repetitive activities.

  1. We must make time for what’s truly important.

If we want to make progress on our goals we must be intentional about scheduling time to work on them.  The same is true for relationships.  Leaving things to chance or spare time will never work.  Get out your list of goals and your calendar and schedule time to make progress on what you truly want to work on, and then guard that time and commitment carefully.

  1. Do your best work at your best time.

We all have a different time of the day when we work best, when we feel our most alert, energetic and creative.  Schedule your most important tasks for these times so you can make the most progress- and save the mundane chores for your less productive times.  Don’t waste your best energy doing laundry.

  1. Live in the now.

We have to train our brain out of the habit of just crossing tasks off the to-do list and learn instead how to live fully in the present moment and actually enjoy the life we’re living now.  Vacations can help with this.  Schedule one today!




Write your own Job Description


Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all the stuff you need to do and you don’t know where to start?   Or do you ever feel like you’ve been busy all day long but didn’t actually get much done? I get that way sometimes.  And for some reason when I get stressed I tend to clean…which is not always a bad thing because I like my house to be clean, but it usually isn’t the best use of my time when I have a lot of other things that I need to be doing.

One way we can help stay better focused and actually accomplish some of our projects and goals is to write our own job description.  Start by listing out your responsibilities and tasks you need to accomplish.

My list for my career coaching and speaking business included:

            Grow / Learn: read blogs, podcasts, TED talks, Platform University

            Create / Give: write blogs, videos, workshops

            Market/ Network: advertise, connect, book events

            Speak / Coach:  my actual fun “work” activities

Then analyze your schedule and work habits and assign your tasks to the best time slot.

Mine is here:

             Mornings: productive, active, energetic

                        Quiet time to focus

                        Do creative work / blogging

                        Network/ connect / book events

            Afternoons: usually less engaged mentally

                        Do busy work-  run errands, laundry, cleaning, etc

                        Exercise with podcasts

            Evenings: usually rather passive

                        Growing/ Learning: watch TED talks, Platform University

I’ve also found that To-Do Lists help keep me focused.  So when I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed I write out everything I need to get done and start ruthlessly working through it so I can cross stuff off my list.  There’s something quite addicting about crossing stuff off a To-Do list.  Lately I’m trying to make my list the night before so I wake up with a plan and don’t spend 2 or 3 hours busy but not productive.  It’s easy to find stuff to do, but without a plan sometimes you never get to the most important tasks.

One last thought:  pay attention to your most common time wasters-  checking e-mail, facebook, tv, whatever- know where you tend to get stuck and plan accordingly.  But don’t waste your most productive hours on activities with low returns.  Be intentional with your time so you can make the most of it in a focused organized way and avoid the frantic rushing around with little direction or accomplishment.


Sometimes life doesn’t work out exactly as we envision.  Sometimes there are bumps in the road in the road to success.  Sometimes mountains.  Sometimes quicksand.  Sometimes being a grown up isn’t as easy or as glamorous as we anticipated.

An unplanned pregnancy, a relationship ends, illnesses happen, jobs don’t work out.

So then what?  What do you do when you need to come up with a Plan B, or C, or D right now?

You have two options:

  1. Shut down / Get bitter

-Focus on the past, replay regrets – what should have been and what went wrong and make excuses for why things can’t get better.

  1. Keep going / Get stronger

-Focus on the future, keep moving, learn from the past and get better because of it.

The difference is your attitude, not the circumstances.  So when life gets messy and it’s not what you were planning for don’t just shut down.  Give yourself time to analyze the situation, reevaluate your goals and recalculate your directions- but keep moving.  Don’t get stuck.  Do the best you can with what you have to work with and remember you can’t control the rest of the world, but your response is up to you.

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