Are you listening to everyone but yourself about what path you should take in your career?  Are you just staying in your current role or taking the next position because that’s what’s expected from you?

This year marks the 72nd anniversary of the movie, The Wizard of Oz.

In the movie, Dorothy is repeatedly told to follow the yellow brick road by everyone she meets and she blindly listens.  Are you just following the yellow brick road in your career? Have you been just listening to everybody else and now finding that you are either dissatisfied, not completely fulfilled, unemployed, or just stuck about what to do next?  Every day, just like advertising, we are bombarded with new stories of individuals who have defied the odds and achieved unexpected success.  Everywhere you turn people are looking for the secret formula, the yellow brick road that will just lead them there, if they just follow and not ask questions.

However, in my experience working with clients from all walks of life, unless you choose your path, you will never truly be happy.  Whether you choose to stay exactly where you are, or transition to another career, the key is that you choose.  One clue to help you uncover if you’re in the right spot is to review the last time you had a peak experience at work.  Take a moment to reflect when you were last on top of your game, when everything was flowing smoothly and you were motivated and enjoying your work. How long has it been?  Have you ever had a peak experience at work?  If you are feeling unmotivated and struggling to either go to work, look for a job, or drum up new business it might be because you’re not really clear that you want to continue what you’ve been doing over and over.  You see unless you have chosen this path for yourself, you will naturally resist, even if it’s unconscious.  This resistance will make it harder to move forward on your goals and will hold you back.

Yet, with more choices and advanced speed in communication, there are more resources available than ever before.  The Internet has changed our world and this is the first time we have ever connected to each other in this way.  From Linked In, to Facebook, to Twitter, our people connections are growing exponentially.  Yet, with all of this external stimulation, there is little time to focus internally and reflect.  Therefore, if you find yourself just reacting and riding the assembly line of life without pausing to figure out where you’re going, you will end up on the nowhere road and wonder how you got there.  Just like Dorothy, in the Wizard of Oz, everyone told her to follow the yellow brick road.

So, what does this all mean?  Let’s look at the bigger picture to understand some of the influences exerting pressure on us.  In our generation, in America, we have witnessed more life defining moments and fundamental shifts in how the world and business operates.  Since 9/11, there has been a lot of pressure to find our true passion or our life purpose.  Seven years later, in November 2008, the housing crisis fundamentally changed the playing field.  Everything we believed and were told to follow has fundamentally shifted.

How can you find your road map for success in career, relationships, and life when the world has turned upside down? One way to start is to frame our shared experience.

It feels like we have all stepped onto a “Rotor-ride” or more currently known as the Gravitron ride where the world has been spinning and our floor has dropped out. However, the ride hasn’t stopped, most of us are still spinning. Yet, we can’t operate in the same way. As you are becoming aware, it’s not business as usual anymore. The floor or foundation disappeared when the economy and marketplace shifted and historic business structures tumbled down the rabbit hole.

Yes, just like global warming, the job and business climate has changed.  However, crisis breeds opportunity if you know how to use it.

The very next action step to take is to decide if you want to choose what happens next in your career.  If you’re ready to step off the yellow brick road, define where you’re going and develop your strategic road map, then it might be helpful to work with a career coach to jump-start this process and make it easier.

Try a free coaching consultation with Wanda Ropa, your success coach, to get you started and get clear about where you’re going with your career, or with your life so you can develop a strategic plan that really works for you.  With clarity, success becomes a natural outcome.

Posted by Wanda Ropa, The Success Coach.

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Things Are Different Now

The world has shifted. All the old paradigms of success are being tested and put on trial as we watch in disbelief. As individuals and a society, we are now faced with redefining how we will thrive in these new and ever-changing times.  In the last fifty years, we have seen a social and economic revolution.  As our culture changed, so did the music.  The Beatles started the musical revolution and ushered in a new era that expanded our connections to the world.  Step into yesterday as the Beatles whisk you back to 1966 and take a moment to reflect on what the world was like in that era.

In the 60’s, the world was clearly defined. During the Industrial age, people usually went to work for one employer and remained there until retirement. As we experienced the Information Age and everything moved faster and faster, the world of work started to change.

Fifteen years ago, Daniel Goleman talked about the new rules for work as he wrote about emotional intelligence. According to his findings, it was no longer enough to have intellectual ability and technical know-how to do our jobs; it was now about personal qualities, such as initiative, empathy, adaptability, and persuasiveness. Ten years later, Daniel Pink cited further evidence of change, in A Whole New Mind, when he acknowledged that we moved from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age. With globalization and shareholders demanding more ROI, large corporations, small business owners and employees alike are experiencing uncertain economic times. Only one thing is certain, increasing your marketability increases your chances of thriving in this current economy.

So, how is the new economy working in your favor? Because now you get to be in the driver’s seat by creating your personal brand and leveraging it in the marketplace to get the results you want.

The new rule: When everybody zigs, zag. – Marty Neumeier

You can easily do this by radically differentiating from your competition by translating your natural talents, skills, and experience into your unique value proposition:  your personal brand.  Being in the driver’s seat with your career means that you treat your career as if you were running a business.  The first place to start is to have clarity about where you’re going.  If you’re not clear about your vision or where you’re headed, you end up on the nowhere road.  In the story, The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy was advised to follow the yellow brick road.  This was not a path she chose on her own.  She didn’t have all the facts.  As a result, her long journey ended with a wizard in Emerald City who had no answers and couldn’t help her reach her goals.  She just wanted to get home.

When we create our personal brand, we come home to ourselves.  We step into who we are and finally get comfortable in our own skin.  Think about individuals you may know that stand out from the crowd.  Do they have exceptional talent or have they discovered how to leverage what they have and translate it to the world?  Career coaching can easily help you identify and package yourself to fundamentally improve your career advantage so you increase your marketability and your market worth.

Neumeier acknowledges that your brand is not what YOU say it is.  It’s what THEY say it is. It’s about building your personal reputation, as well as your digital presence.

It’s about how others perceive your value.  The public’s gut feelings about the company, their products and services impact the best business brands.  It is not enough to have emotional intelligence and just understand yourself.  In today’s market, you need to understand how you impact the world at large or how marketable you really are.  Many of my career coaching and business coaching clients start working with me to get promoted, transition to a better career, be successful in their job search, start or develop their businesses.  Whether you’re an entrepreneur, climbing the corporate ladder, or just trying to land a higher paying job, the first place to begin is to examine your state of mind.  Are you clear about your vision?  Do you have clarity about where you’re going?  Once you have clarity, the decisions are easy with the right tools and resources.  If you aren’t clear or need support discovering the right tools and resources that fit you, try a free career coaching or business coaching consultation to explore if coaching is right for you.

Try a free coaching consultation with Wanda Ropa, your success coach, to get you started and get clear about where you’re going with your career, or with your life so you can develop a strategic plan to become more marketable that really works for you.  With clarity, success becomes a natural outcome.

Posted by Wanda Ropa, The Success Coach.

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Before starting career coaching and life coaching, my clients frequently ask:  where is Yoda?  How do I find Yoda?  What they are really looking for is answers.  Yet, as a result of our technological advances, people generally aren’t taking time to reflect and search for their own answers. Instead, addicted to instantaneous button clicking, our society breeds impatience, so we expect instant gratification and results, immediately, if not sooner, as my Dad used to say.  What have we become?  Let’s hear from a cyborg anthropologist what has happened in our current culture.

Join me for a closer pictorial look to see how our world has evolved and the impact it’s made on our lives.

From the first ride of the Pony Express:

To the assembly lines of the Industrial Age:

To the Information Age of computers, as we head into the Conceptual Age:

Dan Pink acknowledges that we have left the Industrial Age and entered a Conceptual Age. What if instead we are entering a dark age? The economy, the workplace, the political stage, your current state of mind all take its toll on your sense of self.

At the TED conference, Barry Schwartz discusses why too much choice is bad for us.
Too many choices cause:
1. Paralysis rather than liberation – people prefer to make no decision rather than make a complicated choice.
2. Less satisfaction with decisions as people have greater reason to regret the decisions they have made.
3. Unrealistic expectations.
4. Self-blame – when experiences are not perfect, people blame themselves.

So, what does this all mean?  With more choices and advanced speed in communication, there are more resources available than ever before.  The Internet has changed our world as we know it and this is the first time we have ever connected to each other in this way.  From Linked In, to Facebook, to Twitter, our people connections are growing exponentially.  Yet, with all of this external stimulation, there is little time to focus internally and reflect.  More than we suspect, outside influences control our actions. Therefore, if you find yourself just reacting and riding the assembly line of life without pausing to figure out where you’re going, you will end up on the nowhere road and wonder how you got there.  Even if you take a first step and start working with a career coach and life coach, it is too easy in our current age, to expect immediate answers and changes.  It takes 28 to 30 days to change a habit, introduce a new routine, practice, or start to reframe your situation and it takes another couple months to make it stick.  So, how can one expect to shift into the driver’s seat and get instant results?  However, with career coaching and life coaching, you will be supported to help make these changes stick.  So, what do you have to gain?  Yes, it’s about finding the Yoda inside of you that may be foggy or unclear at the moment.  Take the first step and get your life coaching and career coaching consultation from your success coach now.

Try a free coaching consultation with Wanda Ropa, your success coach, to get you started and get clear about where you’re going with your career, or with your life so you can develop a strategic plan that really works for you.  With clarity, success becomes a natural outcome.

Posted by Wanda Ropa, The Success Coach.

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The burning question in everyone’s minds these days is “how do I stand out amidst the competition?”

Whether you’re involved in a job search, trying to increase your corporate visibility, vying for a promotion, or trying to get new business, what is the secret to being noticed and being rewarded professionally? Do you constantly feel like you’re on display like an art exhibit constantly being scrutinized how you size up (or compare) to your peers and colleagues?

Take a quick pause break and enjoy the wonderful “Cows on Parade” exhibit in Marseille below where each and every sculpture is beautiful and stands out on its own.  We will take a look how you can apply this concept to your business, job, and career mobility.

Cows On Parade in Marseille

The Secret To Being Successful In The Marketplace Today

At a very early age, I learned the secret to being successful.  It’s very simple:  being marketable.

For centuries, merchants and currently businesses alike have known that the law of supply and demand drives their products and/or services.  In our current job market, there is a surplus of potential job candidates, internally, and externally applying for positions.  That means that it is much harder to be noticed.

Before starting career coaching, many of my clients struggled to discover what separates them from their competition, without success.  They used traditional ways to market themselves and found they didn’t work.  These days, it’s not enough to be brilliant, talented, and experienced.  It’s about creating your brand and demonstrating how you are remarkable in order to stand out from everybody else who is also brilliant, talented and experienced.

The following article by Seth Godin, In Praise of The Purple Cow uses the metaphor of the purple cow to differentiate company brands.  Godin explains that in order to rise to the top, you need to become remarkable.  However, he states, the opposite of remarkable is ‘very good.  The reason that most companies don’t become purple cows is driven by fear because we’ve been conditioned to ‘play it safe‘ and follow traditional methods.  Godin concludes: The current marketing “rules” will ultimately lead to failure.

What about branding individuals?  The principles are the same.  Your unique brand is a combination of raw talent, your strengths, skills, and experience that made you who you are today.  By demonstrating how you are ‘remarkable‘ to your target audience, you will become more visible and more in demand.  Career coaching and business coaching will help you discover and leverage your brand to become more marketable in today’s economic climate.

Are you ready to become a purple cow?  Are you ready to stand out and get noticed by your clients or customers, your organization, recruiters, or hiring managers?

Then, try a free coaching consultation with Wanda Ropa, your success coach, to get you started on discovering how to brand yourself and become marketable once again in today’s job market and business climate.

Posted by Wanda Ropa, The Success Coach.

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Healthy Tips About Sugar from Weight and Health Coach

If you are Trying to Avoid Too Much Sugar then You will Want to Know that it Ends Up in Many Foods and You Don’t Even Realize Because You Didn’t Know it Was Sugar

The sugar class of molecules consist of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen arranged in a ringed structure. Carbohydrates (a “macronutrient” category of foods) is the group sugar belongs to.  Other carbohydrates include starches, (You know, that piece of cake you had?  Bread, pasta, but even bananas, fruits, potatoes and grains).  Still others are celluloses, and gums produced only by photosynthetic plants.

What do we mean by “macronutrient”?  Carbohydrates are large molecules made up of lots of smaller “building blocks” in the form of simple sugars.  Put enough simple sugars together in a chain or group and you get a carbohydrate. Simple sugars are an essential structural component of living cells and the source of energy for all animals, including humans. They are easily broken down for the body to use to make something called ATP (the energy molecule).

So why should we avoid too much sugar?  That will be in my next blog so definitely come back to read more.  Suffice it to say that sugar, in its white, processed form of sucrose is highly addictive and has more adverse side effects than raising blood sugar and adding empty calories that put on weight.  For now, realize that sugar has many names and forms. It is also necessary in the diet. The brain depends on it. So does our level of energy. Unfortunately, mankind is now inundated with the wrong kinds of sugar, as evidenced by skyrocketing heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.  So know your sugars.  Let’s first learn the different names.  There are dozens of different kinds of sugar under a variety of names:

  • barley malt
  • brown sugar
  • cane sugar
  • corn syrup
  • dextrose
  • fructose
  • fruit sugar
  • glucose
  • high-fructose corn syrup
  • honey
  • icing sugar
  • invert sugar
  • jaggary
  • lactose
  • maltose
  • maple syrup
  • molasses
  • powdered sugar
  • raw sugar
  • rice syrup
  • saccharinose
  • sucrose
  • sugar beets
  • turbinados
  • and more….

So now you know what to look for when shopping.  Next we will learn more about why sugar (simple sugar) is stay tuned for my next installment about the addictive nature of sugar…

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Boost Your Success With Feroce Coaching

At Feroce, we believe that the 5 most common reasons people are unhappy in their jobs or careers are:

1. Lack of FIT: they end up in the job by default, without an understanding of whether their strengths actually match the position.

(by the way, most employers don’t understand this either!)

2. Lack of FIT: they end up in an environment that doesn’t suit them. (right job, wrong company culture)

3. Lack of CONFIDENCE…they lack the confidence that comes from having the opportunity to do what they do best.
(Only 1 in 5 people have the opportunity to do what they do best every day in their work, according to the Gallup Research study from 1.2 million respondents in 101 countries.)

4. Lack of VISION – for their life, for their career, for their business.

5. Lack of VALIDATION – they aren’t rewarded for their strengths. VALIDATION builds momentum, contributes to the sense of FLOW.

Top Ten Reasons To Hire A Feroce Coach to Boost Your Career or Your Business:

1.  It’s all focused on You!  Since it’s all about Fit, learn what best fits you.  (match your skills to your role or your business)

2. Work with your very own strategic partner to help you every step of the way to achieve your business or career goals.

3.  Use tried and tested tools to develop your brand and launch your new role or new business.  (Or give your current one a face-lift)

4.  Leverage your existing skills and resources to become more visible in the marketplace.  (Big confidence booster)

5.  Achieve results with creative and innovative techniques customized for you.

6.  Boost your productivity, performance, and above all, your bottom line by uncovering what’s been holding you back.

7.  Get the clarity you’ve always wanted about what to be when you grow up.  With clarity, the decisions are easy.  Without clarity, you end up on the nowhere road.

8.  Develop your personal strategic plan and map out your road map to be successful and happy.

9.  Get the competitive edge to navigate in today’s economy and market, including office politics.

10. Learn the secrets your competition isn’t sharing.

The most successful people hire coaches.

Is it worth investing in you?  At Feroce, you get two free coaching consultations (risk-free) to explore if coaching is for you.

Posted by Wanda Ropa, The Success Coach.

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In my coaching (and in my practice), we are driven by the bottom line results – whatever the goal may be – whether it is achieving balance between work and play, increasing revenue, becoming an equity partner, etc.  When it comes to bringing in new work, the results are easy to measure.   Either you got a piece of new work or you didn’t.

Good Lawyer Marketing Requires You To Set A Clear, Tangible Goal.

With all of my clients, we set many different goals in several different areas.  But the goals are never ambiguous, never easy to run away from.  There is always accountability.  As you know, without it, we keep with our big picture goals of “building my book,” “increasing revenue,” “achieving balance,” without any real or permanent progress.  That is because – just like our New Year’s resolutions (mine anyway), we have bitten off more than we can chew – without little steps, and without a little help.

To avoid this common problem, I often like to set the goal of getting a new piece of work in a week’s time.  (Of course, the bigger accomplishment from a bottom line view is the goal of getting a new client every 4 to 6 weeks, which I work with many of my clients on during the coaching process, as it is obviously more involved.)  This short term goal is helpful because it takes you actively through the marketing process in a shortened time frame, is pretty exhilarating when you achieve it (and you will), and it increases your revenue.

In my experience, though it sounds difficult, this is not as difficult to accomplish as one might think.  In fact, most lawyers (at all kinds of different levels) can succeed at it.  Then, why you ask, don’t people do it, and keep doing it?  I think it boils down to two reasons – first, as lawyers, we are overwhelmed with our day-to-day work and know that we have to “increase our book” but we have to do that “next week” or “next month.”  It seems daunting, overwhelming, and easy to put off.  Of course, as a coach, we make this a machine that is built in to your practice – requiring very little effort on your part – yes, effort, but not nearly as much as you are imagining right now.

Second, and pretty puzzling, we as lawyers are generally pretty nervous at failing, and don’t want to do one simple thing – just ask for the work.  Now, it is not a direct ask – generally – and requires timing and tact (okay so we all know someone that won’t be able to pull it off), but it is pretty simple when you change your mind set a bit. 

During our assessment and your coaching, we would determine what the best approach for you would be.  But for a vast majority of lawyers, I would ask you to think of a current client that is a mess (not personally – just in a business sense), and preferably one that you have recently achieved a good result for.  You may be handling a piece of litigation for them or a trademark, etc. – and you know they have a ton of other problems unrelated to what you’re doing.  Now, instead of that client’s litigator or IP lawyer, think of yourself as their business partner.  Your goal is to look out for their business, make it as profitable as possible, and avoid future exposure and expense.  So, of course, you are going to let the client know about what you have discovered, the negative impact that could have on their business (money – bottom line is what they care about), how the issue needs to be taken care of, and how you would suggest doing it.  Now, you might suggest that you can do it or a partner of yours – but you should always suggest an alternative method too (whether it be that you could find another lawyer for them or them handling it internally).  This impresses upon the client how you are looking out for them – not you.  And, they rarely, rarely take the alternative.  You will generally get the work.

There are a dozen other get work in one week methods that I employ, and I’m sure a few will fit for you – but the bottom line is you just have to do it – and you will succeed when you put your mind to it.  Then, we can tackle the bigger goals!   

Use An Experienced Lawyer Marketing Coach That Has Been Successful in Practice.

As you know, we advocate marketing coaches as a way to achieve this accountability, help you see the forest and the trees, and help you put steps in place to accomplish your goals.  When I built my business, my biggest successes were either while I was directly using a coach or while using steps that my coaches taught me.  But to truly understand what you need to do, and how you need to do it, you want someone that has the training and experience to get you there.  Not someone that teaches well, but can’t do (because not sure it that really exists).  In any event, when interviewing a coach, make sure you are hiring someone that knows the lingo and the challenges – someone who has encountered it and succeeded.

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Most people cringe at the thought of putting one together.  Attorney business development plans are nothing new.  Everyone has told us to do them – from marketing departments to business books.  Even when not told, it seems like a good idea to have a “plan” to get new clients and grow our existing books.  And, over the years, most of us have even created a lawyer marketing plan.  We might have even felt energized with our creative juices flowing when putting the ideas on paper.   I guarantee you that, when you wipe the dust off those marketing plans, they are filled with some great starting places for building a great book of business.  Another guarantee:  if you develop and implement an effective lawyer marketing plan, you will develop business.

 Most Attorney Marketing Plans Do Not Work

So if they can build our books and most every lawyer has been exposed to attorney development plans, why do they gather dust and never really implemented?  It is really simple – most attorney marketing plans do not work.  Don’t worry – it’s not your fault (mostly anyway).  Though we’re told to put them together, no one is really ever taught how to do it successfully – that is taught by someone who has successfully developed a large book of business because of their personal attorney marketing plan.  (That task, if you ever have gotten guidance, was probably left to a marketing staffer that is well intended, but missing the key experience of closing the deal.)

Here are three tips to develop your own lawyer marketing plan.

Tip 1:  Your Lawyer Marketing Plan Must Set Very Specific and Measurable Goals

As lawyers, we’re taught to think big picture.  Big picture is important and necessary, but successful  lawyer marketing plans require plotting out the details.  Somehow, most lawyer marketing plans are more theoretical than practical.  For example, a plan may be designed to “obtain new defense personal injury cases with injuries in restaurants – through insurance panels and direct contacts.”  That is a great start and the goal is pretty specific, but the plan doesn’t provide guidance.  The “how’s” and “when’s” are left unanswered. 

To answer those questions, a successful attorney development plan will:

Identify each step required to achieve the goal.  This makes us think through the practical steps.  Sometimes it will cause us to re-evaluate the goal (maybe it’s too aggressive or not aggressive enough) early on.  For the above example, our specifics might be:  1) make list of restaurant contacts; 2) research competition that has handled similar matters; 3) research and list insurance carriers; 4) identify adjusters and arrange meetings.

 Set alternative steps for accomplishing the goal.  There are always several paths to a goal, and many times we run into stumbling blocks.  But I have found that those that have a back-up plan or two keep at it and are successful.  If you only have one plan and it doesn’t pan out, you might just give up – feeling you did as much as you could.  In this example, while getting on the “panels” and arrange a meeting with the targets, you might also want to look to provide the adjusters (who make the decision to hire you) with something of value (a training or presentation) that they can pass along to their insureds and your future clients.  This is a win-win proposition and a great back up.

Set regular deadlines for each step – and meet them.  This is critical to success.  And a key that is often overlooked – you must set a task for at least every two weeks.  The key to lawyer marketing is to keep the ball rolling.  You have other deadlines and things going on, but this is a must.  (This is one of the reasons why attorneys hire coaches – we are good at setting productive tasks and following up; sometimes we’ll even help you with your homework!)

Regularly measure performance, and make adjustments.  Looking back at your plan, what you have accomplished, and what you need to do is another key step.  I suggest that you re-evaluate at least monthly or task by task, which should be every two weeks.  Adjust and fine tune as necessary.

Tip 2:  Effective Legal Marketing Must Have Short-Term Results

 Results matter.  To keep your attorney development plan effective and alive, I always suggest that one of your goals is to ensure a short-term success.  And, I don’t define “success” as some feel good; I mean real, bottom line, money in your pocket success.  This is what development is all about, and if you experience short-term success, you are more likely to continue working on lawyer marketing and achieve long-term successes too. 

 These are a couple of short-term goals that I suggest:

 Look at Your Numbers.  If you are like me, when you first heard the term “realization rate,” it triggers the eyelids to lower.  But, when in management, I learned the true definition –  getting paid for what you already do without doing more work.  What?  Yes.  As a development coach, I often set the short-term goal of raising an attorney’s realization rate (bottom line cash in door) by 4-5% within 30 days.  And, I do not take failure well – so, we accomplish that goal over and over.  Again, this is money in your pocket without doing any extra work.  (Call for a free consultation to get working on details.)

 Expand Work For Existing Client.  To be more specific, I work with attorneys in partnering with their existing clients to bring in two more matters (for that client or for one of the client’s contacts) in the first month.  Each relationship is unique and will require a specific game plan, but this is one of the easiest and most satisfying short term goals to accomplish.  (Of course, this short term goal should become a recurring monthly goal as well!)

 Real Accountability Required

Study after study has shown that if you are accountable to someone else, you are more likely to produce results.  More surprisingly, people are even more accountable to people they don’t know as well – maybe the excuses won’t work.  Of course, we believe that this is where coaching is key.  You have an objective, outsider that has built a large book of business that is willing to share these methods and keep you on track.  Well worth the money invested.  Even if we are not the right fit, we think hiring an experienced coach is essential.

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Many of my clients decline opportunities for networking simply because they dread the piercing question:  “So what do you do?”  -As if, your sum worth can be captured by your day job or lack of it.  Take a look at the video below for a different perspective:

Brain Surgeon – That Mitchell & Webb Look, Series 3 – BBC Two

Remember that life is a mirror that reflects back what you feel inside.  So, if your last performance review eroded your self-confidence, or you are dissatisfied with your job, or are restless and searching for more, all of this will come across as you answer.

When you are in the driver’s seat, you have a road map, navigate with a personal strategic plan, have a clear vision and clearly understand how you can leverage your natural strengths and talents to support you to thrive or be successful and happy.  Ask yourself, when you take a road trip, what do you use to help you navigate:  GPS, an online road map, or a travel directory from AAA?  Why do you take more time and planning to design your travel experiences but fall short with designing a road map for your career and your life?

Right now is the perfect time to take a look under the hood and see if you’re in shape for success.  It is perfectly natural to come to the fork in the road and question if you’re on the right career path.  To help you evaluate if you’re on track or have lost your way, take a look at the top ten pitfalls and see if this describes you.

Top Ten Pitfalls: (You’ve lost or never had a career road map)

1.  When you wake up in the morning, do you hit the snooze button 20 times, thinking you can delay the inevitable?

2.  You are comfortable in your misery….so does misery make you comfortable?

3.  You are repeating the same career strategies and expecting different results:  this is Einstein’s definition of crazy.

4.  Your self-help book budget exceeds your paycheck.

5.  If you view your job as only a paycheck, who’s the slave and who’s the master?

6.  Your current job is sucking the life right out of you – like a human vacuum cleaner.

7.  You are calling in sick, hoping that when you come back, the players and the field has changed.

8.  You think “presence” on the job means surprise presents under your desk.

9.  You dread Sunday nights because Mondays keep showing up.

10. You are coming into work later and later, hoping that the job changes when you get there.

Does any of this sound familiar?

For years, the staff at Investor’s Business Daily has been studying people from all walks of life.  They have identified 10 common traits for success:

  1. How you think is everything.
  2. Decide upon your true dreams and goals.
  3. Take action.
  4. Never stop learning.
  5. Be persistent and work hard.
  6. Learn to analyze details.
  7. Focus your time and money.
  8. Don’t be afraid to innovate; be different.
  9. Deal and communicate with people effectively.
  10. Be honest and dependable; take responsibility.

Before you can use these 10 traits to become successful, you will need to create your personal strategic plan.

Identifying your strengths and creating your ideal work and home environment is the first step.


1.    What key strengths are you currently using at work?  Have you completed an assessment or instrument to measure your strengths or styles?  Which ones?  What did they measure?  How do your current strengths coincide with your assessment results?

2.    Remember one specific peak period in your life.  Now focus on this specific time when you were incredibly successful:  you felt you were at an all time high in your career, you were truly on top of your game and everything was just working well.  What was going on at that time?  Was it a period of rapid learning?  What skills were you using?  Who was involved?  What made this possible?

An opportunity happens when the conditions seem right.  The right place at the right time with the right action equals the right results.  So, the key to success is leveraging your opportunities or being prepared before they arise.  Here’s an example of how this worked for one of my clients.

One of my clients was stuck waiting on companies to decide her fate.  She only had applied to companies with posted positions in human resources and the training field.  Working in the coaching relationship for 90 days, she identified her strengths and created her ideal job description.  While interviewing for a lesser role as a recruiter at a company she really admired, she did something completely different.   She took out her copy of her ideal job description and handed it to the VP.  She acknowledged that working as a recruiter would not take advantage of her true talents and the company would be wasting an asset.  Yes, they were surprised and told her their first priority was filling the posted position but they would consider her offer and be in touch.  Two weeks later she began the negotiating process with this same company and even picked her job title and salary range.  It was a match made in heaven.  She agreed that life isn’t about finding yourself; it’s about creating yourself! And your perfect job!

Are you ready to jump-start your road to success?  Try a free coaching consultation with Wanda Ropa, your success coach to get you started and get clear about where you’re going with your career, or with your life so you can develop a strategic plan that really works for you.  With clarity, success becomes a natural outcome.

Posted by Wanda Ropa, The Success Coach.

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©2007 Irene Chan (istockphoto)

Is the marketplace spinning you in all directions with no focus?  How do you get off the spinning carousel and get back in the driver’s seat?

According to Daniel Pink in, A Whole New Mind, we have moved from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age. With globalization and shareholders demanding more ROI, large corporations, small business owners and employees alike are experiencing uncertain economic times. Only one thing is certain, increasing your marketability increases your chances of thriving in modern times.

How do you increase your marketability? Marketability is a tenuous term and is referenced by a plethora of career articles. It’s defined as being in demand and therefore relatively easy to sell.  Marketing usually refers to products and services. However, we’ve all heard over and again that you need to identify the concept of You as a product. Once you accept this notion, you are ready to become an asset to your organization, to your internal and external clients. The core of everything you do embodies ‘your brand.’  Everyone is born unique, but how many are remarkable? Fear holds you back from being your personal best. According to Seth Godin in his article, In Praise of the Purple Cow: The opposite of remarkable is very good.

One’s natural instinct is to blend in, to be accepted. Marty Neumeier, in The Brand Gap asserts that human beings are social animals – our natural inclination is to go with the group.  But blending in may mean that your work performance is only very good. You don’t stand out and you are not as remarkable or marketable as you could be.

Conducting a personal audit of your marketable skills is the first step toward becoming remarkable, or a purple cow. Are you valued as an asset to your company? To your clients? Are you marketable as a product? Are you marketable to your current employer? Ask yourself, what do you do that’s really special? If you have trouble with this question, ask your closest colleagues, or your best friends. It is so easy for us to criticize or judge our own performance. How many of us look inside for the answers? If your current position is just a paycheck or if your heart isn’t in your business, how does that reflect in your current environment?

Many enlightenment experts acknowledge that life is but a mirror of what we feel inside. How does your external world look and feel? Even if you’re not in the ideal work or business situation, there must be something or many things that you do exceptionally well. The key is to uncover these great treasures. As individuals, we are all equal, but unique and special in our own right. To use our special gifts, talents, and abilities and promote them to a current employer or to our internal or external clients, we must first uncover them. Take a marketability quiz and see if you’re ready.

To begin you will need to conduct an audit of your previous roles and accomplishments. Identify a peak performance period when you were at your absolute best. Try to remember your specific activities, who was involved, and all the factors that impacted your top performance. Pay special attention to your workflow and successes. To guide you through this process of discovery, consider taking the free online assessment offered by purchasing the new updated book, Strengthsfinder’s 2.0.

Diane Stafford, career columnist for the Kansas City Star states, “You can’t change the other guy. You can only change yourself or your response to the other guy.” In this lifetime, you are the major star in the movie of your life. Everyone else is either a secondary or tertiary character, or maybe not even a character. How will this process unfold? The journey to becoming remarkable doesn’t have be an impossible feat, such as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. It can be as simple as the way you answer the phone, the special care you take with clients, the magic you create when you come into a room, or the special quality you add to a meeting. Think small, think baby steps.

The key to success is adaptability. Change takes us out of our comfort zone, activates fear, and stimulates the fight, flight or the freeze response. In the 21st century, it is our mind that gets in our way. So, how can we get results in an easy and effortless way? How can we get unstuck without struggle or the need to change? The answer is play. As adults, we have forgotten how easy and fun it was to play in the playground. There were no expectations. We just had fun.

Riding the Merry-Go-Round of Time

How do adults play?
When all we want to do is dismay.
What is the allure of sophistication,
Procrastination, dread, and indignation?
Conformity, tried and true.

Being silly is the cure
For creative spirits that are demure.
Visualize riding the merry-go-round of time.
Situate yourself comfortably as each chime
Signals reverting back yet another year
Passing adulthood by until you’re there!

A resurfacing of your inner child
Will bring about metamorphosis that is not mild.
Be prepared to jump in bales of hay
Giggling, laughing, imagining, in the name of play.
Counter intuitive to patterns of thought
Creativity and Innovation will be sought.

Wanda Ropa © 2007

Posted by Wanda Ropa, The Success Coach.

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