Repurpose Your Career | Career Pivot | Careers for the 2nd Half of Life | Career Change | Baby Boomer

Repurpose Your Career podcast brought to you by Career Pivot is a podcast for those of us in the 2nd half of life to come together to discuss how repurpose our careers for the 21st century.  Come listen to career experts give you proven strategies, listen to people like you tell their stories about how they repurposed their careers and finally get your questions answered.   Your host, Marc Miller, has made six career pivots over the last 30 years. He understands this is not about jumping out of the frying pan into a fire but rather to create a plan where you make clear actionable steps or pivots to a better future career. 
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Repurpose Your Career | Career Pivot | Careers for the 2nd Half of Life | Career Change | Baby Boomer








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Oct 29, 2018

Michael O’Brien is a Sales and Marketing Executive Coach, Resilience Builder, Motivational Speaker, and the bestselling author of Shift: Creating Better Tomorrows: Winning at Work and in Life. Marc and Michael share their common experience of near-fatal bike accidents and Michael talks about his life and career since his accident.


Key Takeaways:

[1:24] Marc welcomes you to Episode 102 of the Repurpose Your Career podcast.

[1:38] If you’re enjoying this podcast, Marc invites you to share this podcast with like-minded souls. Please subscribe on, iTunes, Google Play and the Google Podcasts app, Podbean, Overcast app, TuneIn, Spotify app, or Stitcher. Share it on social media, or tell your neighbors and colleagues so Marc can help more people.

[2:01] Marc is launching the 2018 Repurpose Your Career Podcast Survey. To improve the show, Marc would like to know more about you — how you listen to the show; if you read the show notes; what kinds of episodes are your favorite; and so forth.

[2:22] Marc asks if you would kindly go to (where you will be redirected to SurveyMonkey) to take the survey. Marc will publish the results in a couple of months. Marc thanks you in advance for doing this for the podcast.

[2:48] Next week, Marc will likely have a Q&A episode but he may decide to do something different. Listen in to hear!

[2:58] This week, Marc interviews Michael O’Brien, who, like Marc, suffered from a near-fatal bicycle accident. Hear how this changed his life. Michael is the author of Shift: Creating Better Tomorrows: Winning at Work and in Life.

[3:21] Marc and Michael have discussed how similar their accidents were, and how the paths they have taken are very parallel.

[3:33] Marc welcomes Michael to the Repurpose Your Career podcast. Marc and Michael met two or three years ago. It has been 6,298 days since Michael’s last bad day.

[4:32] Michael tells how the first of his life involved school, family, and the corporate ladder. He felt sales was his calling, since his paper route. He started selling copiers on commission but wanted to be in pharmaceutical sales. When he finally got into pharmaceutical sales, it was a 22-year long career.

[6:37] Eventually Michael came to his first downsizing, which was unexpected. It taught him to diversify his resume. At his next job, he had the opportunity to get into sales management but he went into pharmaceutical marketing management, instead, in New Jersey, where he and his family have stayed.

[7:33] Now, Michael helps leaders avoid getting hit by their SUV. He does that as an author and through speaking, but mainly as an executive coach. Michael loves helping leaders and shaping corporate culture. He has been doing so full-time since 2014.

[8:28] Michael tries to help people put their last bad day behind them and create better tomorrows. He tries to help people live a life that is purposeful, so they can be ‘the wealthiest person they know.’” Michael means by that, the wealth that comes from within, not just the wealth of ‘money and stuff,’ but happiness, joy, and fulfillment.

[9:02] Michael has a story about his own last bad day. He had brought his bike to a sales and marketing summit in New Mexico. Michael describes the experience of cycling and being hit head-on by a white SUV. The EMTs were scared for his survival.

[12:17] All he could do was look up at the sky and will himself not to fall asleep — to ‘stay in control.’ He remembers making a commitment that his life would change if he lived. He remembers every minute of the 19-minute helicopter flight to the hospital.

[13:59] Michael’s commitment was to stop chasing happiness. He relates this to something he had read from Zig Ziglar, who had talked about the ‘do, have, be’ way of living that many follow — work hard, buy things, and that will finally lead to happiness. Michael used to tell himself he would be happy when he got to the next thing.

[15:14] At each life milestone, Michael was happy for a moment and then found it was fleeting and he went back to chasing happiness. He knew it wasn’t a healthy way of living. He didn’t know the path forward but he knew it was a different path.

[16:10] In that moment of clarity on the helicopter, he knew he just wanted to live. Bound and braced, he could only move his eyes. He kept them on his flight nurse. He still has a picture of that flight crew. He sees it every morning with gratitude.
[16:41] Michael tells of his surgeries and how many units of blood product he needed. Many of his major bones were broken. His left femur had shattered and lacerated his femoral artery. Only his youth and good shape had kept him alive to get to the hospital.

[18:00] Michael spent 72 hours in the ICU, ‘jacked up on a whole bunch of meds.’ He doesn’t remember any of it, but he ‘was babbling like a fool.’ At one point he spent 45 minutes interviewing his wife for a sales rep position on his team and didn’t hire her. He said he had to call her back because he had other candidates to interview.

[18:48] Marc’s near-fatal bike accident was a year to the day later than Michael’s, on July 11, 2002. Marc has his own morphine-related trauma center story. He tried to go home and started pulling off his restraints. He had to insist on no more drugs.

[19:44] Michael, still loaded on drugs, tried to convince his wife they should buy Amazon stock. It was worth $15.00. She ignored that, and he forgives her since she forgave him for not hiring her.

[20:09] When Michael came out of the ICU, a few days later, the doctor talked to him about the accident and the extent of his injuries. The SUV driver had a revoked license and should not have been driving. Michael learned he would have a lifetime of limitations, dependencies, and future surgeries including total knee replacements soon.

[20:36] Michael’s quality of life was going to suffer. At that moment, he recalled his commitment that if he lived, his life would be different. It got different, but not in the way that he wanted. Michael became angry, frustrated, bitter, and even revengeful.

[20:54] Michael focused at first on the unfairness of the events and facts he had to face. He played up the victim story pretty well and everyone validated it. He was a mess. His wife was left taking care of him in the hospital and their two young daughters.

[21:52] When Michael flew home to New Jersey he had another aha moment. He realized he was dissatisfied with the toxic stew he was lying in. During his daily physical therapy one day, he saw some patients were progressing and some were stuck and moping. He knew he wasn’t showing up with the right attitude and mindset to get better.

[23:23] At that moment, Michael made another commitment that he was going to show up differently, going forward so he could be the best husband and father and person that he could be.

[23:34] He let go of comparing himself to others and showed up with a different lens — one of abundance instead of scarcity. He didn’t use that vocabulary, but he had that attitude. He decided to find some level of gratitude in his situation. Viktor Frankl said it’s not the events in our life that define us, but it’s our response to them (paraphrased).

[24:51] Michael determined to be known by his response to the accident, and not be known by what happened. Michael got busy that day trying to make his recovery something he was known for.

[25:07] Marc says so many of us get defined by what happens to us. We also like to compare ourselves to other people and those comparisons just aren’t fair to ourselves. Marc is a fan of ProBlogger’s Darren Rowse, who says to new bloggers, don’t compare yourself to someone who’s been doing this for 10 years. You’re brand new.

[26:05] The next day, Michael had a real test. He had an orthopedic appointment to see if he was ready to start learning to walk. The doctor told him he needed more time in the wheelchair; more time in the hospital. His new attitude didn’t give him new strength, but it gave him determination not to go back to his victim way of thinking.

[27:27] Eventually, day by day, or pedal stroke by pedal stroke, Michael kept working on his self-narrative, losing the victim story, and becoming resilient. Day by day, Michael was getting better. He decided he was never going to have another bad day. With his wife and his daughters in his life, there was no way he could have another bad day.

[28:21] Michael focused in on the things he could still do and the things he still had. He strung a few days of improvement together and then a few weeks and eventually, he got out of that wheelchair and out of the hospital. He still had about 10 surgeries ahead of him, setbacks, and hospital stays before he could get back on the bike as he wished.

[29:20] Someone told Michael, “Hey, listen! Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” Michael was at the beginning of a journey to get better and healthier. From the time of the accident to the start of his rehabilitation took three to four months.

[30:12] Michael’s wife and daughters had been coming to visit him at the hospital twice a day, 45 minutes each way. He was exhausted after a 15-minute visit, but he was anxious to get back home. He wanted life to be normal again. Nothing about being in the hospital was normal.

[31:25] Michael credits his employer with being really kind and very patient, to a degree that is rare. They worked out a system where Michael could go back to work part-time at first, through the rest of the year, working half a day and doing rehabilitation half a day. In January 2002, they gave him a pivot to run operations and get out of traveling.

[33:53] Michael was reluctant to give up his head of marketing position but he took the job and it turned out to be the best shift in his corporate career. He is so grateful they gave him the pivot opportunity.

[35:10] That pivot eventually landed Michael in executive leadership. All the time he was in recovery, he knew he was eventually going to go into executive coaching. This concept first came from David, a recent hire of Michael’s before the accident. David was the first executive coach Michael had met — before he even knew what that meant.

[36:07] When Michael got into executive leadership, he stayed in that role for six years, from 2008 to 2014. He had a team of close to 1,000 reps, with a P&L of around $4 billion. That was beyond any expectations he had ever had. In 2014 he got the last ‘puzzle piece.’ There was another realignment in the company

[36:38] The president of the company, Michael’s friend of 18 years, got pushed out and a new president came in. Michael knew right away they were not a good match. This was the puzzle piece that helped Michael make his last pivot. Michael told his boss in May, he would stay for the summer and September 1, he would start his own business.

[37:30] People questioned why he was making the decision. Michael told them he’d been working on the decision for 13 years and this corporate change made it clear that it was time for him to move forward.

[38:00] Marc notes how this pattern is very similar to the career paths of a lot of people he has interviewed. They start in a role that is not their favorite, an event tells them they need to do something different, they do nothing, then, a second event gives them the kick to go do what they want to do.

[38:27] Marc invites you to listen to Episode 7 with Mike O’Krent, or Episode 3 with Dr. Joel Dobbs for similar path career pivoters. We know what we’re supposed to do but usually, it takes some outside interference to get us to do what we want to do.

[38:49] If someone’s life has been touched, and they are inspired by Michael’s book or work, or a keynote, to lead a purposeful life, that’s the type of work Michael really loves to do.

[41:39] Marc shares his own bicycle accident details with Michael. Marc’s Toyota Corolla experience didn’t cause nearly as much damage as Michael’s Ford SUV experience. Michael regrets that he didn’t want to hear how lucky he was in the accident situation, with EMTs coming immediately. He knows it now.

[44:35] All the proceeds from Michael’s book Shift: Creating Better Tomorrows go to the charity World Bicycle Relief, giving mobility to girls in poor countries. Bicycles change the world for someone. You can reach out to Michael at

[45:49] Marc hopes you enjoyed this episode. He got choked up when editing this episode. Marc hopes you will be inspired by Michael’s story.

[47:06] Marc is soliciting members for the next cohort of the Online Community. For information, please go to

[47:48] Check back next week when Marc will likely be doing a Q&A session with listener’s questions.

Oct 22, 2018

Bob McIntosh is a career trainer who leads more than 15 job search workshops at an urban career center. He also critiques LinkedIn profiles and conducts mock interviews. Bob started the first LinkedIn program at MassHire Lowell Career Center and created workshops to support the program. Jobseekers from across the state attend his LinkedIn workshops. Bob has gained the reputation as an authority on LinkedIn. Marc has known of Bob for many years, but they had never met. Marc heard Bob on an episode of Mark Anthony Dyson’s The Voice of Jobseekers Podcast and knew he had to have Bob on as a guest.


Key Takeaways:

[1:22] Marc welcomes you to Episode 101 of the Repurpose Your Career podcast.

[1:34] If you’re enjoying this podcast, Marc invites you to share this podcast with like-minded souls. Please subscribe on, iTunes, Google Play and the Google Podcasts app, Podbean, Overcast, TuneIn, Spotify, or Stitcher. Share it on social media, or tell your neighbors and colleagues so Marc can help more people.

[1:55] Next week, Marc will interview Michael O’Brien, who, like Marc, suffered from a near-fatal bicycle accident. Hear how this changed his life. Michael is the author of Shift: Creating Better Tomorrows: Winning at Work and in Life.

[2:14] This week, Marc interviews Bob McIntosh. Marc starts with Bob’s bio.

[3:29] Bob leads workshops at an urban career center and counsels individuals one-on-one. The workshops range from resume writing to LinkedIn to salary negotiations. Bob is more of a job coach than simply a workshop facilitator.

[3:57] Bob developed the first LinkedIn workshop at the [then] Career Center of Lowell and since then, he has been updating workshops to meet the needs better of their clients. He finds great pleasure out of helping people find work.

[4:16] The average client age at the career center is about 55. What older workers need to realize is that between 87% and 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find talent. Employers want to know that candidates are tech savvy and use platforms like LinkedIn. Finally, LinkedIn is a great platform for landing a job through professional networking.

[5:29] To use LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook effectively says you are up-to-date. If you don’t use them, you are invisible. Bob has read that 40% of employers will disqualify you just for not being on LinkedIn.

[6:00] Bob says there are three components to a successful LinkedIn campaign, profile, networking with the right people, and being engaged on LinkedIn.

[6:27] It’s very important that LinkedIn users have a full profile with all of its sections completed. Bob lists the parts. It must include keywords relating to their occupation and areas of expertise that will make the profile searchable. Bob explains how to use them.

[7:24] Bob sees the profile as more of a personal resume than the resume itself. Bob says your resume can be in the first-person or third-person point of view. It’s a networking document, like sitting down and talking with an employer.

[7:57] Bob considers the uses of first-person vs. third-person point of view resumes. Most people use the first-person point of view.

[8:58] Try to have a tone on your profile that speaks personally, in first-person POV.

[9:04] Structure your LinkedIn networking with the right people. First, the people you work (or worked) with — supervisor and colleagues. Second, people who do the same type of work you do. Third, people in the same industry, with something in common with you. Then add people who do your kind of work in different industries.

[9:42] Try to connect with recruiters, in the same industry in which you are looking. Networking is a two-way street.

[10:18] For younger folks, focus on alumni and professors. LinkedIn’s See Alumni feature lets you see people who went to your alma mater.

[10:53] Bob recommends 500+ connections. 10K is not too many. The more connections you have, the more opportunities you’re going to have in terms of people reaching out to you and finding you.

[11:17] Once you have connected with people, every once in a while, ping them and let them know that you’re there.

[11:32] Marc suggests going through your connections once a week, picking two or three that you haven’t heard from in a while, and send them a “checking in” email. A significant number will respond.

[12:08] Bob suggests considering removing from your network people who don’t respond. It’s about communication.
[12:26] For your headshot: In 2003 it needed to be really professional. Things have gotten a little more informal. Aim for a headshot that reflects the sort of work you do. A banker would stay with a suit and tie. A job coach might wear a nice button shirt with a little bit “going on” in the background. No selfies.

[13:49] The background image needs to brand you. Does it reflect the kind of work that you do?

[14:14] Without a headshot your site is much less likely to be visited or seen. Know what message you are sending with your headshot and background image. Marc shares a couple of case studies from his jobs club. Your background image needs to explain who you are, what you do, and what you are trying to accomplish.

[17:43] Take that message into your summary and your experience section. What you are doing is showing value and branding yourself.

[17:54] Marc talks about the case of an obscure profession. He recommends finding people with their same degree and same graduating eras, and look at what they are doing.

[19:10] To find recruiters, type in the search area: recruiter, your industry, your location. That will give you a list of local recruiters in your industry. Vet them by their profiles. What is more difficult is to grab their attention. The invite you send them should show what your value is in your industry.
[20:53] Be nice to recruiters. Marc refers to the episode with Gary O’Neal. Gary is a recruiter for Austin HR (Now Asure Software). Recruiters are busy and may not always have time to respond back but you want to be a polite persistent pest with them.

[21:47] What job seekers need to understand is that recruiters are working for the clients which would be the companies. Endear yourself to them. The right type of recruiter can be of great help.

[22:08] Marc recommends sending a recruiter that has been very helpful to you a $5.00 Starbucks card, even if you didn’t get the job. Marc gives a client example.

[23:24] Engagement may be the most important step. It keeps you on your network’s radar. Bob gives some examples of how to engage. Don’t just ‘like’ what people share. Leave pertinent comments. Start conversations and keep them going.

[24:52] Marc gets a lot of spam comments on his website and he always hits the spam button. People who are just trying to get SEO off a post are not worth the connection. When people send Marc a blank LinkedIn invite, he accepts it and immediately sends back I accepted your connection. How did you find me?

[26:06] Marc gets 30 to 50 connection requests a week. He responds to them, 10 at a time. Bob’s thought is if you’re not even putting in the effort to send a personalized invite, why should we connect?

[26:56] Marc doesn’t connect from the mobile app because it is too easy to send a generic invite to “people you may know.” You can send a personalized invite, but it is easy to forget. Bob just did that yesterday, in error.

[28:01] Marc talks about folks in the CareerPivot online community doing remote job searches. He recommends them to curate material, share it, and tag specific individuals saying “You might be interested in this.” Share articles of value to your connections and be helpful.

[28:48] Bob notes that Mark Anthony Dyson is a great curator of information that he shares with his connections.

[29:05] Marc has four or five places where he looks for material. One of these is There are many things there that are useful to his audience.

[29:47] Bob’s final advice: If you want to be on LinkedIn and you want to use it in your job search, then it’s going to take work. It’s not just simply setting up a profile, connecting with people, and then simply being active on LinkedIn. It’s going to entail all of what was talked about in this episode.

[30:35] Bob re-emphasizes, LinkedIn takes work. Put in the time to use LinkedIn successfully.

[31:06] Marc’s number one problem with his clients is getting them to put themselves out there. They want to write their LinkedIn profile and put it on auto-pilot. However, they must compete with people all over the world for jobs. Show what makes you different. This is especially important if you are a little older.

[31:41] It’s not bragging. Don’t promote yourself obnoxiously. Be factual. Be proud of what you’ve done but don’t brag. On the other hand, don’t just remain silent. You have to make a bold statement because you want people to go on and read the rest.

[32:53] Marc thanks Bob for being on the Repurpose Your Career podcast. People can get in touch with Bob at If you send an invite to Bob, please personalize it! When people don’t personalize an invite to Bob, it’s a very easy decision it’s click “Ignore.”

[34:08] Marc hopes you enjoyed this episode, especially about activity vs. engagement. This takes work but it will pay off in spades in the future. You just need to work at it.

[35:39] Check back next week when Marc will interview Michael O’Brien, author of Shift: Creating Better Tomorrows: Winning at Work and in Life.

Oct 15, 2018

In this special Episode 100, Marc’s wife, Lotus Miller, is the guest. Marc has talked about the issues from his point of view, so now we hear about her experiences. Listen in for a forthright review of what she has found and what she feels about it.


Key Takeaways:

[1:27] Marc welcomes you to Episode 100 of the Repurpose Your Career podcast. When Marc launched this podcast late in October 2016, he never imagined you would be downloading this podcast in the thousands of episode downloads per month. Over 45K episode downloads occurred in the first nine months of 2018.

[1:58] Episode downloads have tripled since the podcast was featured in the May issue of AARP Magazine.

[2:06] Marc certainly didn’t think he would be recording episode 100 outside the U.S.A. A lot has changed since the show debuted. Since the podcast launched, the economy has done very well but not for everybody. Marc has written on the blog that the recovery has been very uneven.
[2:28] While the published unemployment rate for Boomers is 3%, many of our generation have dropped out and are no longer being counted. Health insurance is a political punching bag. This is why Marc is living in Mexico — for better health care and cheaper health insurance.

[2:54] Who would have thought a few years ago that people over 55 would be so poorly treated by our health system? Our world in October 2018 looks a whole lot different than it did in October 2016. Therefore, this podcast will continue to evolve.

[3:13] Marc says thank you to everyone who has written an iTunes review. Marc really appreciates when someone rates or reviews the show.

[3:23] Here’s what Marc has planned. He has a series of fascinating guests to interview. Next week Marc will interview Bob McIntosh, a renowned LinkedIn expert who will discuss how to use LinkedIn in your job search.

[3:36] The following week, Marc will have Michael O’Brien, who, like Marc, suffered a near-fatal bicycle accident. Their accidents were nearly identical and occurred one year apart, to the day.

[4:01] Marc will survey the audience in the coming weeks. Marc would like your input. What do you want from the next 100 episodes?

[4:11] Marc will launch a Patreon page in early 2019. Patreon is a platform for performers and content creators to raise money. This podcast costs about $400 a month to produce. Marc will be polling the community of listeners to see if there is an appetite for anyone who’d be willing to contribute to defray the cost for making this podcast.

[4:48] For Episode 100, Marc “rattled his brain” wondering what he could do to make this episode special. After consulting a number of folks, including the Podfly team, Marc decided on interviewing his wife, Lotus Miller, on her experiences about their move to Mexico.

[5:04] Lotus is not a recovering engineer but a former Registered Nurse and a massage therapist. A lot has changed for Lotus and Marc in the last two years. Marc has chronicled their journey to Mexico on the blog and in the podcast. What surprised Marc is the magnitude of the positive response. You folks like hearing about their journey.

[5:26] It has not always been pleasant, like when Marc recorded Episode 29 from Lotus’s hospital room after returning from Ecuador five days early or grappling with health insurance and tax implications. Marc remembers completing his income taxes in Ajijic last April, digging through the insurance company’s portal for claims they had paid.

[5:54] Marc is a really smart guy, and he found taxes really difficult. What does the ‘average Joe’ do? It’s ridiculous.

[6:06] As Marc records this episode, they are preparing to drive back to Austin. As this episode is published, Marc and Lotus will be on a three-day drive to Austin to empty out their condo and prepare it to be rented. After 40 years in Austin, Texas, it’s time to move on.
[6:29] Marc will continue in the coming year to record episodes about their move to Mexico, but maybe not as frequently — you tell Marc what you would like. Marc has been very open about sharing the good times and the bad. It has not been easy, but many of you have told him you appreciate how open and frank he has been.

[6:48] Four podcast listeners have visited the Millers in the last four months. If you are interested, ping Marc.

[7:01] Marc welcomes Lotus to the Repurpose Your Career podcast. They are recording in the second bedroom of the casita. If it sounds like a concrete bunker, it is!

[7:21] It was a year ago that Marc and Lotus first visited Ajijic. The first things that got Lotus’s attention were all the dogs lying on the sidewalk in the sun and often sleeping. There were some dog droppings on the sidewalks. Some dogs were in fenced yards.

[9:57] Lotus thought the people in the neighborhood looked comfortable and happy, though not rich. When she greeted anyone in Spanish, they were always happy to acknowledge her with a “Buenos días” or a “Buenos noches.”

[10:55] Marc remembers when Lotus greeted a woman with “Buenos días,” and the woman corrected her with “No, no, no, no! ‘Buenos tardes!’” Lotus found the elderly ladies very nice to her.

[11:36] As time passed over a couple of visits, what at first seemed odd to Lotus, now she doesn’t notice. The dogs on the sidewalk seem normal to her. Most of them are not street dogs, they are just allowed to run loose. People feed and take care of dogs that are unowned. In general, there’s not much difference between owned and street dogs.
[12:57] One dog, Chiclet, seemed to be a street dog, but then somebody took it in. Marc and Lotus give details.

[14:09] The weather and foliage were much different from Texas. Everything is so green, in the rainy season. People had ivy on their walls. Trees bloom in the fall, covered with purple or orange blooms. Plans get Lotus’s attention because she loves the outdoors. The town and the lake are surrounded by mountains.

[16:07] Lotus notes that the native speakers of Spanish speak much faster than she can understand. Over the year, her grasp of it is coming along. Even in English, Lotus prefers slower speech to faster speech.

[17:54] Lotus loves the food in Ajijic. There are a lot of Italian restaurants in Ajijic! Lotus has met a lot of people of different nationalities, which may play a part. Lotus, from Austin, is accustomed to eating Italian food or continental food. In Texas, she rarely ate Mexican food, but she is eating a lot of it now and finds it so much better.

[19:06] Lotus finds the quality of food amazing; the sauces are very slowly produced in the morning. Lotus has not been a fruit eater but she is starting to enjoy the mangoes. She does not like the papayas. International companies grow various berries all year long, available fresh at half the price as in the U.S. Farms surround the lake.

[21:19] Lotus goes to tianguis or open-air markets. There are three she goes to, the Chapala Market, the organic farmers’ market, and the Ajijic Market. Lotus describes the markets and when she goes. She tells about one woman at the Chapala Market, who chops up a chicken on the spot as Lotus likes.

[24:07] The Chapala Tianguis is a sensory experience. Marc talks about the array of goods available there, in at least half-a-mile of displays.

[25:00] Lotus discusses the organic market. Lotus soaks vegetables in an iodine solution before eating them fresh but doesn’t need to do that with vegetables from the organic farmers’ market. The Ajijic Farmers’ market on Wednesday is a scaled-down version of the Chapala Market.

[27:12] Lotus talks about seafood. It is more flavorful than she has found in Austin. I Kilo of shrimp for about 100 pesos, or about $5. Lotus serves it with no seasoning. Marc notes both he and Lotus have lost weight without trying.

[28:12] Lotus tells about riding the bus. The driver takes off while you are still handling the fare. The buses run to cities all around the lake for a few pesos. When the bus is full people stand on the back of the bus and hand their fare up through the crowd. It is not unusual to see school children riding the bus by themselves.

[30:11] The back seats of the bus are very bouncy on the irregularly paved cobblestone roads with holes. Some drivers are cautious and others zip around, but they get there safely. Marc and Lotus have ridden the bus to Chapala and to Jocotepec. From Ajijic to Jocotepec (about 15-20K) costs 12 pesos or about 60 cents.

[31:51] Sometimes musicians will perform on the bus, maybe with their children.

[32:27] Lotus talks about the Lake Chapala Society, where Marc and Lotus are members. They have much to offer expats and visitors. Lotus takes Yoga classes there. Lotus knows of bridge groups, Scrabble, and Mahjong players. They have too many activities to list. They have the largest English library outside the U.S.

[33:42] Lotus has been checking out books and reading a lot; not watching any TV since they have been there. She is looking forward to bringing a U.S. DVD player, because the English DVDs she can rent cannot be played on a Mexican DVD player, only on a U.S. DVD player. They are U.S. formatted DVDs and Blu-Rays.

[34:21] There are many ponds and so much greenery. Marc and Lotus were eating at an outdoor cafe at the Lake Chapala Society and a very large avocado fell from a tree onto the awning and rolled off. They took it home and ate it later. It was so good. The avocados and other local foods in Mexico are always good and fresh.

[35:53] There are grocery stores that cater to expats, with lots of packaged foods.

[36:00] Lake Chapala Society assists children in schools and classes and offer art classes for children. They give back to the locals as much as assisting expats. The expat community has created and participates in many nonprofits in the area in the arts and the schools and spaying and neutering dogs and finding homes for them.

[37:07] In spite of their daughter’s prior misgivings, Lotus feels very safe and happy in the environment and with the people around her. It is a slower-moving life. Mañana means no more than ‘not today.’

[38:09] Most of the crime in the big cities is cartel against cartel. There are one million American expats living in Mexico, not to mention from other countries. Expats are very welcome by the government and do a lot of good for the community.

[38:09] There are a lot of similarities between Austin and Ajijic. Austin grows by 150 people every day. People are also moving to Ajijic like crazy. The rental market necessitated Marc’s and Lotus’s early move, to make sure they got the property they wanted. There’s a lot of gentrification occurring.

[39:49] On their first visit, and again, right now, it is a month of religious feast days with fireworks shooting off at 5:00 most days in the morning for a month. The events move from chapel to chapel carrying a statue to represent a saint. There are horses and bands parading as part of it.

[42:56] September 16, Mexican Independence Day is a big celebration of performances and fireworks, starting the weekend before. Lotus admires how the Mexicans celebrate things. If you don’t like the noise, “probably don’t come here.” Mexicans celebrate at the drop of a hat. Some chapels, from the 1600s, are rented out for celebrations.

[45:03] Lotus is disappointed to miss The Day of the Dead, this year but it will still be there every year. Lotus is looking forward to the dry season, the winter. It should be mostly sunny. The dry season high is usually about 75 degrees F in the late afternoon with the low in the low 50s or even into the 40s.

[46:00] Marc and Lotus were there at Easter this year, and the Mexicans really celebrated that, so Marc and Lotus want to know how they celebrate Christmas.

[46:19] Lotus would advise first-time visitors to get the book, Moving to Mexico’s Lake Chapala, by Lisa Jorgensen. Marc also recommends this book. Lotus likes a smaller-town feel and that’s what she loves about Ajijic. Ajijic is an indigenous peoples’ name, not a Mexican name, by the way.

[47:30] Marc thanks Lotus for being on the Repurpose Your Career podcast.

[47:36] Marc notes that Lotus is very much on board with this plan. Your experience may differ. There have been a fair number of divorces after couples move overseas and one just loves it and the other just craves to return to the U.S.

[48:01] The one who loves it isn’t always the member of the couple that instigated the move. It’s not as simple as one might think. Half the people who retire overseas, return in less than five years. It’s half for health, and the other half because they can’t handle the cultural change. Lotus is pretty excited about what she has found.

[48:59] Watch for the opportunity to help Marc work on the third edition of his book Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for the 2nd Half of Life, with Susan Lahey. He will be forming a team of volunteers in the coming months to read pre-release versions of new chapters. Look for the sign-up sheet coming soon!

[50:19] Check back next week for Episode 101! Marc will interview Bob McIntosh, the renowned LinkedIn expert on using LinkedIn in your job search.

Oct 8, 2018

Jeanne Yocum presented this Webinar to the members of the CareerPivot online community and in this episode, Marc Miller shares her valuable insights with you, the Repurpose Your Career podcast listeners.


Key Takeaways:

[1:41] Marc welcomes you to Episode 99 of the Repurpose Your Career podcast.
[1:54] If you’re enjoying this podcast, Marc invites you to share this podcast with like-minded souls. Please subscribe on, iTunes, Google Play and the Google Podcasts app, Podbean, Overcast, TuneIn, Spotify, or Stitcher. Share it on social media, or tell your neighbors and colleagues so Marc can help more people.

[2:16] We are rapidly approaching the magic Episode 100 of Repurpose Your Career. When Marc started this podcast in October 2016, he didn’t think he would get to 100. Except for Thanksgiving and Christmas, there has been an episode every week for the last two years.

[2:41] Next week, Marc will put together a special program, the key piece being, Marc will interview his wife, Lotus Miller, about her experiences around their move to Mexico! Mrs. Miller is a former Registered Nurse and massage therapist.

[3:01] This week, Marc presents a special episode, which is the audio from a webinar that Jeanne Yocum presented to the Career Pivot membership community, called “Pricing Your Services — How to Get it Right.”

[3:14] Many of the Career Pivot membership community are becoming freelancers or consultants. Setting the right prices is one of the most difficult things for freelancers and consultants. Jeanne was on Episode 89 of the podcast talking about her book, The Self-Employment Survival Guide.

[3:32] There are quite a few community members who are realizing that they want to control their future and need to start their own business. It may be only something on the side but it is their business. They own it and no one can lay them off.

[3:51] This will give you a taste of what is available inside The Career Pivot Membership Community. Listen at the end of the podcast for how you can become involved in this community.

[4:04] You will find the slides for this presentation at or

[4:27] Marc introduces the webinar, invites questions in the chat box, and welcomes Jeanne Yocum.

[4:46] Jeanne refers to her previous webinar, “The Thrills and Chills of Self-Employment” and presents the topic of the current webinar, “Pricing Your Services — How to Get it Right.” In Jeanne’s 30 years of experience, she has seen people struggle with this and make pricing mistakes.

[5:25] Over the years, Jeanne has gotten the impression from some freelancers that they pulled pricing numbers out of a hat instead of doing the research and calculations necessary to get this very important decision right.

[5:44] If you get your pricing wrong from the start, this is going to hinder your ability to succeed, over the long haul. Ironically, this is the case, both if you set your prices too low and if you set them too high.

[5:58] Jeanne will repeat some very important points because they are points to remember and they cover basic principles to follow and mistakes people make.

[6:19] Let’s look at the factors that affect pricing.

[6:33] Level of skill — People of age 50 and over have plenty of experience in your business field, but people venturing into something totally different that involves new skills need to take that into consideration when setting your rates.

[6:53] Amount of experience — more experience allows charging a higher rate. Jeanne tells an anecdote from her own life.

[7:47] What your competitors are charging for the same service or product — You can justify higher rates with more skills and experience but not if all things are equal.

[8:10] Your community. Jeanne shares a personal experience. Word can spread.

[8:34] The amount of competition in your field. The more people in your area that duplicate your offering, the less you can charge for it. Very specialized areas without much competition are different.

[9:02] If you’re offering something that companies around you aren’t used to buying, they’re going to be more price-sensitive than if you’re in an area where the service you’re offering is very common. Jeanne talks of why she lowered her rates in Western Massachusetts, after working in Boston.

[9:58] The nature of your clients -- corporations vs. nonprofits, small businesses vs. large businesses. Jeanne often had to lower her rates a bit for smaller nonprofits. The same with family-owned or small businesses. You need to know to whom it is you’re going to market.

[10:35] Are you going after the businesses who are able to pay you more? If so, you will be likely facing more competition.

[10:49] What is your motivation? Many people work for nonprofits for their purposes. You won’t make a lot of money off of them but you may enjoy it.

[11:18] Jeanne says the biggest mistake people make starting up is overestimating the number of hours you can actually bill per week. If you worked in an agency, someone else was in the back office and in the field while you worked billable hours. In a startup, the sales and back-office tasks fall on you and your billable hours take a major hit.

[12:27] Overestimating your potential billable hours will cause you to charge a lower rate than you will actually need to survive and thrive. Nor will you get paid days off or vacations as you probably did working for your former employer. In your calculations, allow for these hours when you won’t be earning income.

[12:54] Another huge mistake beginners make is low-balling your hourly rate to get your foot in the door. If you charge too little, you can’t possibly survive.

[13:15] You can get pricing wrong by not doing your homework to understand what your skills and experience are worth in the marketplace. Different marketplaces bear different kinds of pricing. Jeanne is paying a graphic designer in Durham half of what she would have paid for the same services in Boston.

[14:07] In a rural area you just can’t charge the same kinds of rates as in a metropolitan area.

[14:13] Professional societies can help you find the information you need about your market area. Networking can help. Jeanne finds that recently, people are more open to sharing information about billing rates than they used to be. Tread carefully in this sensitive topic.

[14:32] Sites such as provide salary ranges for what somebody working in your job for an employer is making in your area. Then you have to add in things like paying your full self-employment tax and other overhead to come up with a billable rate.

[15:13] You need to understand that the same internet that gives you information about billing rates gives your prospects the availability to outsource work to labor markets that pay the worker less. You can also pick up clients from other parts of the country or the world, so long as you prove your value to them.

[15:58] In some fields there are potential customers looking for the lowest possible cost for services. Sites like and cater to them. These customers are often difficult and very hard to satisfy. Jeanne recommends her freelance clients not to use that type of site. Look for clients who will want a recurring relationship with you.

[17:01] How do you get your pricing right? Know how many hours you will be able to bill weekly. If you bill for 40 hours, that means you will be working nights and weekends doing the unbillable but very necessary work of running a company. That leads to burnout.

[17:41] Research what people with your skills make where you live. If you research thoroughly then you can be confident in telling a prospect your rate. Your confidence will help convince that person that the rate is reasonable and justified. If you are insecure about your rate, that will undermine your position. Don’t undersell yourself.

[18:40] Be prepared to respond when potential or existing clients push back. It’s inevitable that someone will push back about your proposed rate by quoting a lower rate from someone in India or Rumania.

[19:10] You have a load of good arguments to make is such cases. The time difference alone adds an unnecessary level of difficulty and definitely slows things down. Also, unless the person being hired overseas is a U.S. expat, there may be language and cultural differences that may impede client communications.

[19:39] Yes the overseas freelancer may speak English, but do they really understand all the American idioms that your client is apt to use. Will the client have to figure out new ways to explain things?

[20:03] Always be ready to talk about what backs up your proposed rates -- your depth of experience and breadth of skills. This applies to overseas and local competition. Jeanne tells a case study from her own career as a ghost-writer.

[21:36] Never ‘buy the job.’ If you low-ball your rate to get in the door, you will almost always be sorry that you did that. If the hourly rate does not pay your bills, you’ve made a big mistake. You’ll have to work an unsustainable number of hours to make ends meet.

[22:15] Once you have set a rate, that will be the rate your clients will expect to pay you, at least for a year or two. If your goal is to form a long-term relationship, do you want it to be to your disadvantage? Existing clients will not like your raising your rates and they may go off in search of a less expensive provider.

[23:04] Be very careful how you communicate price increases. Sooner or later you are going to need to raise your rates, even if it’s just to keep up with the cost of living. Jeanne recommends being as formal as possible about communicating price hikes.

[23:31] Jeanne started sending out letters for a January 1st price hike in late November. She sends out letters on letterhead, not emails, because people are prone to reply and push back to an email message, but rarely write out a letter to push back.

[24:08] The first time Jeanne sent out some price hike letters she could barely breathe until she knew the people had received them. She was positive that the phone would ring like crazy but it didn’t. When she was talking to customers a couple said they had gotten her letter but nobody pushed back. It depends on how you do it and how often.

[24:44] You gradually need to cull out low-paying clients from your roster or get them up to the rate you are currently charging. If a client really can’t pay a higher rate, bid them a fond adieu and recommend them to somebody just starting out, with a lower rate. The client will be happy, and your competitor may refer larger clients back to you.

[26:06] If your low-paying client is really a favored client, and you believe they could pay even just a little bit more, have a serious chat with them about this. If you can gradually move them in the right direction it’s worth a try before you write them off as clients.

[26:28] There are various ways to price. You can charge by the hour or you can charge a flat project fee. To charge a flat fee you need to be accurate about the time it will take to do the various tasks associated with the project. This can take a while to master when you get into a new field.

[27:16] When you have built up trust with a client, it is possible to get away from the flat-fee method. Once people know you’re going to deliver good work and on a timely basis, they aren’t as demanding about having you commit to a specific project fee up front.

[27:37] Jeanne has also had clients where there is a limit of how many hours she will put in during a month, and when that limit is hit, additional work is pushed off until the next month. This differs from a retainer agreement, as clients are not paying up front, so they are not getting a discount.

[28:02] With retainers, the benefits are that you get paid up front and you get paid regularly. The downside is that you generally have to give a discount on your hourly rate to retainer clients. Jeanne shares an example from her past.

[28:40] You need to have other options available in your head because you’re going to be asked. Some clients wanted a day rate, for attending conferences for them. Jeanne generally gave a day rate discount for a large chunk of time.

[29:15] Jeanne always required a 20% deposit from every new client before she started work on any project. Until she had that check in her hand, she wouldn’t do anything for anybody. Just be clear with them about that.

[29:50] 70% to 80% of Jeanne’s business came to her through referrals from her clients but she still kept to that deposit policy. People don’t know their associates’ payment habits. Once payment for the first project went smoothly, Jeanne dropped the deposit requirement for future projects. If the client was a slow payer, the deposits continued.

[30:54] If a client did not pay or was very slow in paying, then for any future work, full payment was required up front, before any work was done. Jeanne only ever had to do that with one client, but they understood that because they had messed up so badly. The other option is to drop the slow paying client entirely from your client roster.

[31:31] Offer a menu of services in your proposal. Offer separate pricing for each element of the project. This is helpful in introducing your services to a new client and facilitating the sales process.

[32:32] Jeanne covers common issues that come up regarding pricing and project costs.

[32:40] Mission creep occurs when a client adds “little tasks” to the project beyond what has been agreed. Get that under control ASAP. You should have already provided the client with a thorough list of action steps you’ve agreed upon, and who is responsible for what and what the deadlines are.

[33:12] Mission creep can get ugly fast, in terms of hours you will burn. Revisit the action list with the client, and explain what the additional tasks will add to the price of the project. Do not let someone expect a Mercedes when they’re paying for a Chevy.

[33:48] Slow payers can impact you. Never be afraid to fire a client, particularly one you have to fight to get your money or who argue over your fees. This type of person is a huge drain on your energy. Jeanne has a whole chapter in her book on strategies for getting your money from slow payers.

[34:47] Cashflow ebbs happen to everybody, so get used to it. Do what you can to protect yourself, like asking for deposits and getting clients on retainers, setting your prices right, to begin with, and most of all, never letting up on your marketing and networking. You’ve got to devote some time to generating business each week.

[35:28] If you ever decide your dance card is full and you no longer need to do any marketing or any networking, shortly down the road something will happen that will cause a client to fall off your dance card and leave a big hole in your cash flow. Jeanne tells of an unexpected client defection worth over $8K a year in her book.

[36:35] Jeanne invites listeners to write to her with questions.

[37:19] Marc reads a question for Jeanne from the chat box. “What percentage of time do you spend on marketing vs. product delivery of services you get paid for?” Jeanne never charted that. Her goal, when she was working full-time, was to bill at least 20 hours a week. Marc says he spends three-quarters of his time in marketing.

[38:27] Jeanne says it would vary by profession. Jeanne recommends at least one hour a day into marketing, networking, proposals, and prospect meetings.

[39:06] Marc asks Jeanne to talk more about billing by the value you deliver. She goes back to her client that tried to talk down her pricing, and how she defended against that by the value she brought to the table and her familiarity with the client’s work. Marc notes the value Susan Lahey brings to him when she helps him write a book.

[42:09] Jeanne talks about how all her experience with clients in the financial and insurance fields gives her expertise for financial services clients. You have to figure why your prospect would find value in you.

[43:14] Another chat box question for Jeanne: “Please elaborate on how to propose a retainer agreement and why a discount is needed.” People expect a discount if they are agreeing to write a check every 30 days. Retainer clients are not that easy to find and Jeanne was willing to accommodate them.

[43:53] It depends on the field. If projects are few and far between it is a hard sell. But you can guarantee a certain availability and readiness to a client with a retainer. Jeanne had few retainer clients but they were all clients she had for a long time. Pam, a listener explains her retainer experience at PR agencies.

[46:05] Jeanne explains how she worked the retainer with a big non-profit with a tight budget. If there were under the hours they evened it up in another month.
[47:58] Jeanne charged travel time at half of her regular rate (or one-way at the full rate). People in general understand they will pay for travel, but not at the full hourly rate.

[49:03] Roberta asks if it’s better to charge a straight per hour rate or a rate tiered by the task performed. Jeanne has never tiered her rates. Whatever she does is at the same rate. But she does have a “friends and family” rate, different from somebody she knows is going to be a long-term client.

[51:12] Martha asks Jeanne how often did she say to herself it would be so much easier just to get a job. Jeanne never said that in 30 years, after all of her experience in corporate America. It took Jeanne about a year to get things rolling — during a recession — and she never looked for an easier way.

[52:18] Marc thanks Jeanne for the webinar and for her giving attitude. Jeanne says she knows how hard it is to start over again after 50.

[53:15] Marc says Jeanne has been a real resource to the CareerPivot community. You can reach out to Jeanne at

[54:29] If you are interested in learning more about the community go to and sign up for the waiting list.

[55:11] Check back next week for Episode 100! This will be a special episode where Marc brings his wife to the microphone!

Oct 1, 2018

In Part 4 of this series, Marc covers the third feedback session with Sara for her personality assessment.


Key Takeaways:

[1:12] Marc welcomes you to Episode 98 of the Repurpose Your Career podcast.
[1:24] If you’re enjoying this podcast, Marc invites you to share this podcast with like-minded souls. Please subscribe on, iTunes, Google Play and the Google Podcasts app, Podbean, Overcast, TuneIn, Spotify, or Stitcher. Share it on social media, or tell your neighbors and colleagues so Marc can help more people.

[1:45] Marc thanks everyone who has rated or reviewed the show on iTunes. Repurpose Your Career has 25 ratings and 17 customer reviews. Marc would be most appreciative if you chose to write a review.
[2:02] We are rapidly approaching Episode 100 of Repurpose Your Career. Marc is thinking of interviewing his wife, Lotus Miller, about her experiences around their move to Mexico! Mrs. Miller is a former Registered Nurse and massage therapist.

[2:26] Next week, Marc will have a special episode — the audio from the webinar that Jeanne Yocum presented to the Career Pivot membership community, called “Pricing Your Services — How to Get it Right.” Setting the right prices is difficult for freelancers and consultants. Jeanne was on Episode 89 of the podcast talking about her book.

[3:03] Last week in Episode 97, Marc covered Part 3 of the “Can Sara Repurpose Her Career?” series. This week, Marc will play Part 4 of the series. If you have not listened to Episodes 93, 94 and 97, Marc suggests you stop here and go listen to all episodes, first. You will find the reports for these episodes at

[3:48] Marc welcomes Sara back to the podcast. Sara has done her homework. She tells how she makes decisions using her intellect and her intuition. She has her head and her heart involved.

[4:50] Marc looks at the homework. Sara was once told by a manager that she is a results-oriented decision maker. She wondered how an employee could not be results-oriented. She has learned that not everyone sees things the same way.

[5:56] When Sara has a problem to solve, she asks as many questions as she needs to get all the facts and then she takes the ball and runs with it to get those results. She likes being able to point to the results of her problem-solving.

[6:36] Marc reminds Sara that everyone does not think the same and he hopes that she will take time to explain to others how she thinks and decides, so there are no misunderstandings. Marc talks about teaching in mainland China and how differently the Chinese think.

[7:49] Sara looks at her Stress Report. There are three sections. They are Interpersonal Relationships, Schedules and Details, and Decision Making. Each section has two pages. The first covers what happens when you go into stress. The second covers what you can do to get out of stress. Sara will explore the second pages on her own.

[8:24] Activities to stay out of stress include things you are already doing, things you used to do but stopped doing, and eight choices of things you should try.

[9:16] Sara looks at Self-consciousness and Social Energy in dealing one-on-one and dealing in groups. Sara’s social needs are low, meaning she doesn’t want to be around people all day; her self-consciousness is also low, meaning she wants people to deal with her very directly. That is an unusual combination.

[9:59] Sara reads her results. It is likely that Sara needs straightforward instruction, praise that is free of sentiment, associates who speak up easily, people who get to the point, direct questions or corrections, freedom from group pressures, special time to be alone, time to be quiet and think, individualized benefits, and a few one-on-one friends.

[10:31] Sara says that what resonates with her are straightforward instructions, praise that is free of sentiment, associates who speak up easily, and the rest, except that she is not sure what is meant by individualized benefits.

[10:53] Marc explains individualized benefits as meaning, ‘You want to get stroked the way that you want to get stroked.’

[10:58] Sara reflects on what makes her feel valued (from the Career Reflection worksheet). She feels valued when she fills a need. She likes to be needed, personally and professionally. She likes to be depended on. It feels great when someone thanks her for a significant accomplishment, not just for the day-to-day minutia.

[12:01] Marc summarizes that Sara wants a level of importance and she wants people to recognize her importance. Sara agrees. She doesn’t want to be relied on for the smaller tasks.

[12:46] Marc wants Sara to have ingrained within her the knowledge of what makes her feel valued at work, and to be able to communicate that to others. Marc always loved getting recognition from his clients. Developing software that he never saw anyone use was meaningless to him and didn’t give him ‘strokes.’

[13:46] In Sara’s three pages of needs, there are 30 needs. There will be overlap. Marc will ask Sara to synthesize her 30 needs down to 10 needs and to write an open-ended question for each and what she is listening for.

[14:11] Marc cites Jim Camp’s Start with NO, a negotiation book. The art and science of questioning is to get the other side to ‘spill the beans.’ Marc asks Sara to do the same thing, based on her own needs.

[14:34] Sara’s things she can do to build resistance: Identify a person or group that interacts with her in an objective manner and spend more time with that person or group. Build a hit list of things she knows have gone well and use it to help gauge her success.

[15:00] Sara can find opportunities to assess real signs of success and identify areas that she needs to improve upon. Build a relationship with a coach who, without being shy about it, can help her evaluate how well she has done in a situation. Set aside quiet time for herself every day. She needs solitude to recharge

[15:22] Sara can take active steps to protect herself from interruptions when she is working on an important or stressful task. Allocate at least one weekend a month just to be alone with that one person who is most important to her. The more difficult this is to do, the more important it is.

[15:39] Sara can prepare herself for big holidays or hectic social periods by spending more time being quiet and alone.

[15:47] Sara is already setting aside quiet time for herself every day to recharge and taking active steps to protect herself from interruptions during important or stressful tasks. She has also learned to manage the interruptions. She prepares herself for holidays by spending more time by herself. Marc also avoids holiday parties.

[16:56] Sara knows when it’s time to find her happy place in a corner of a room away from other people. Marc talks about the difficulty introverts have in being social.

[17:42] On page 5, Sara reads about managing her needs for insistence and restlessness. Sara is low insistence, which means she does not like rules imposed on her. Sara’s restlessness rating shows she does not like to be interrupted.

[18:15] Sara may need freedom from close controls, a minimum of structured routine, direct access to everyone, unusual and stimulating tasks, flexible rules and policies, a minimum of abrupt changes in routine, consistently applied policies or rules, only one or two tasks at a time, protection from interruptions, and predictable schedules and tasks.

[18:45] Sara disagrees with the minimum of structured routine. She seeks it out and makes it for herself. Marc reminds her that she is a structured anarchist. She would very much prefer the structure to be her own. Sara agrees. She does not want others to impose it. Direct access means she does not do well with a bunch of gatekeepers.

[19:51] Unusual and stimulating tasks and flexible rules and policies, and consistently applied policies or rules also resonate with Sara. Sara likes consistency, in general.

[20:17] Marc also considers it to be a need for fairness and Sara agrees. Regarding working on one or two tasks at a time, Sara is not a believer in multi-tasking. Marc also has a low restlessness score and he does his best work when he is not interrupted.

[20:56] Marc keeps his phone away from himself when he needs to concentrate. He turns the automatic download in Outlook off. People with low restlessness scores tend to have ‘bright, shiny object syndrome’ and their productivity goes way down.

[21:27] It can be very stress-reducing for Sara to protect herself from interruptions, and she can boost her productivity be avoiding interruptions. Sara also is happiest when her tasks are not tightly controlled by others. She would much rather be asked than told to do a task.

[22:34] Sara reads some things she can do to stay out of stress. Sara can set aside time each week to follow some new interest or satisfy new curiosity, indulge her sense of adventure whenever possible, and use vacations or hobbies to try new activities.

[22:54] Sara can create frequent opportunities to discuss future goals, plans and activities with her family and/or coworkers; make schedules that allow her flexibility in executing tasks and plans; and develop work schedules that allow her to spend significant periods of time on one project, without interruption.

[23:14] Sara can use time management skills, gatekeepers, and any other means to protect herself from distractions and obstructions from working on tedious tasks and arrange major work schedules in such a manner that she can fit in a few interruptions without getting behind.

[23:37] Sara can establish routines for the beginning or end of the day to provide background structure when life gets busy.

[23:50] Sara is already doing the last activity. She has established alone thinking time for every morning getting ready for the day and in the evening getting ready for bed. She follows them even if she goes traveling. Marc wants Sara to be very aware of keeping those patterns as habits.

[25:35] Sara has not yet regularly set aside weekly time to follow new interests or satisfy curiosity but she has tried it from time to time. She indulges her sense of adventure whenever possible and tries new activities on vacations or as hobbies. She sees that finding the time to do more of that would bring her greater satisfaction.

[26:15] Marc reminds Sara to take time out during the day to do something creative. So far, she is not taking enough time to do that. She is very task-oriented which keeps her from taking breaks. That frustrates her. Having a creative streak and being so orderly is an unusual combination.

[27:02] Sara looks at managing needs for physical energy and thought. Sara is rated moderately on physical energy — she’s not inactive and not extremely active. Sara is rated moderately low on thought. Sara reads her 10 likely needs.

[27:26] Sara may need a minimum of prolonged activity, stimulation of new ideas, friendly low-key surroundings, time for reflective thought, unhurried work conditions, quick decisions from others, forceful and definite bosses or peers, and a minimum of ambiguity in situations.

[27:59] Sara may also need thoughtful suggestions from others and opportunities to take action quickly.

[28:03] Being moderately low in thought means Sara likes to make big decisions in a fairly matter-of-fact basis but if there is no right answer, or there is a lot of ambiguity, it is likely to cause Sara stress. Marc relates a client example.

[30:24] Sara lists the needs that resonate with her: stimulation of new ideas, friendly, low-key surroundings, time for reflective thought, unhurried work conditions, quick decisions from others, thoughtful suggestions from others, and opportunities to take actions quickly.

[30:50] The ‘thoughtful suggestions from others’ need is in the same vein as the preference to be asked and not told. Fairness plays into this. The cohesiveness of the team is really important.

[31:25] To avoid stress, Sara can plan schedules and projects so she can stop and think about where she has been and where she is going, give more time to abstract or philosophical thought and activities, and avoid taking on too many projects or social obligations when things are getting hectic at work.

[31:50] Sara can develop a relaxing, low-key hobby or recreation and make use of the curative powers of this activity often, and build family plans and goals, carefully using a thorough planning procedure so that she looks at all the factors and options for important decisions.

[32:11] Sara can develop contacts with aggressive but careful thinkers who can help her think things through carefully without holding her back unnecessarily, work out rules with those close to her that allow her to move quickly on little issues but help her to be cautious on important ones.

[32:33] Sara can remind family and co-workers that she needs fast-paced action when decisions are required and ask them to push options aggressively while helping her avoid black-and-white thinking.

[32:46] Sara tells which activities resonate with her: getting fast-paced action when decisions are required and help to avoid black-and-white thinking is important to Sara. Marc encourages Sara to develop a relaxing, low-key hobby or recreation and make use of the curative powers of this activity.

[33:22] Marc asks Sara to use her creative streak to figure out the activity and to give herself permission to take the time to go off and do it, understanding that she will be a better person for it. Sara just finished an assignment of making a personal video that related to work, to be used at work. She was very excited to have that creative outlet.

[34:57] Marc asks Sara to give herself permission to sit with that feeling — the combination of knowing her project was wanted and being able to be creative with it. Marc asks her to bookmark it mentally so that when something else comes up, she can bring this feeling back. Sometimes she may need to go ask for similar projects.

[36:25] Sara compares her work role to being typecast as an actress. Marc explains as we hit our 50s and 60s, staying in our role becomes exhausting to us. The stamina of our 30s and 40s is no longer there.

[37:17] Marc gives Sara homework. Synthesize the 30 needs down into about 10. Then write an open-ended question about each need, and know what to listen for  when she asks these questions — if the answer feels right to her, or if she should run away as fast as she can go. She needs to know her red flags and pay attention to them in interviews.

[38:08] Sara also needs to take her assignment of usual behavior, strength phrases that she translated into her own words and turn them into a narrative. This will be her story to share about herself. The key piece is to write it the way she talks, not the way she writes. Marc suggests saying it into her phone then transcribing it.

[38:47] Sara’s third assignment for this session will be to talk to three people at work she knows and trusts and three people from her personal life and ask them each for three to five phrases that describe her.

[39:10] We behave a certain way at work and another way in our personal life. Marc wants Sara to note the words both sets of three people use, and look for overlap.

[39:37] Marc will do one feedback session more with Sara that will not be recorded for the podcast, so this podcast series is completed.

[39:49] Sara says she has learned from the experience so far that she is a lot more comfortable with what she is seeking. She has been aware of a lot of what was discussed for a while but she is now more comfortable in articulating it and leveraging it for a future job search.

[40:28] Sara synopsizes what she learned about herself, that now she feels like she has the understanding to rebuild her LinkedIn profile and the words and phrases to tell her interesting story in a professional setting.

[42:42] Check back next week when we will hear Jeanne Yocum discuss pricing your services — how to get it right.


Mentioned in This Episode: Jeanne Yocum

The Self-Employment Survival Guide: Proven Strategies to Succeed as Your Own Boss, by Jeanne Yocum

Start with NO: The Negotiating Tools that the Pros Don't Want You to Know,
by Jim Camp Sara Part 1 Sara Part 2 Sara Part 3

Sara’s Reports



Birkman Assessments


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