How to *Find* Yourself Professionally


How does one “find themselves” professionally speaking?  We all reach a point in our careers where we are trying to figure out either:

1. What we want to do
2. If what we’re currently doing is really what we want to be doing.

We are trying to find our passions that will enrich our lives.  Albeit “finding yourself” personally and professionally is probably one of the biggest struggles we will continue to face throughout our existence, I do think there are some strategies around this.  Recently I attended a DeGroote Executive Education Women’s breakfast series event where the attendees and I were mentored by Glain Roberts-McCabe, Founder and President of The Executive Roundtable.  Glain brought to light some great tips and practical tools to do just this.

1. Trust your Gut.

I know we have all heard this many times before.  Trust your gut.  However when push comes to shove, how much do we actually do this? We hear it but do we listen and follow it? A good question to ask yourself is when has your gut ever been wrong? Can you think of an example in your life that listening to your gut would have been a bad idea? I am straining to think of an example in my life to date.  Sadly I can only think of the opposite scenario.  Countless times of when, if I did listen to my gut, things would have turned out significantly better.

2. Create a Love it and Loath It List

Keep an ongoing list nearby and jot down things that either irritate you or excite you throughout the day.  As your list builds this will help you to recognize your own patterns and triggers.  This then gives you hard data to back up your gut feelings that may already be trying to point you in certain directions.

3. Clarify your values.

What are your values? Family? Health? Friends? Financial? Career? Knowing your values and what you need to be happy can help to point you in the right direction.  If you’re values are your family and your personal time then heading into a career that extends well beyond the 9-5 work day may not be a satisfying choice.

Watch out for the “shoulds” as you think about values.  I “should” choose family over work, I “should” choose finances over career.   If these are not your true personal choices then you are setting yourself up to fail. Taking a moment to be honest with yourself can save you from a road of disappointment and guilt.

4. Ask for feedback

Talk to those you work with and who know you the best.  Ask for three things that you are doing well and one thing you should change.  This helps build a picture for you of what other people see are your strengths and passions, as well as weaknesses.  The weaknesses may also point out directions that you are just not that into.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Further reading: 8 Ideas for Building Your Personal Brand from The Executive Roundtable resources

By davide ragusa

How *Not* to Title Your Blog Post

Writing and Blogging

So many times when I begin to sit down and write a blog post I get stuck on what the name of the post will be.  I’ve not even written a word yet and I’m already trying to nail down the “big picture” point.

I’ve not even written a word yet and I’m already trying to nail down the "big picture" point.

I cannot stress this enough to all you writers and bloggers out there. The best titles are always the one’s procured during or after writing a piece.  This is another golden rule in writing and one we are all familiar with, being the theory behind the perfect title is one taken from within the work of art. For instance in movie titles, you’ll notice that they always say the title somewhere in the movie. (In certain movies this can be very humorous and curious for when the movie title line will be used).

However as I sat to pen a blog post this morning I noticed I was making this very mistake.  I spent so much time trying to figure out what I was going to call my brilliant idea that I came down with writers block and forgot it.

So just as a reminder, which we all need now and again, when you sit down to write, do just that.  Don’t wait for the title or punch line to come to you.  It will appear almost magically as your thoughts form and your message develops.

“Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all”
Charles Bukowski

Linking up on LinkedIn: Creating your Online Credibility

Social Media

LinkedIn is a powerful tool and not to be overlooked when considering social media platforms.  It’s the one social media platform that you should to be on. However it’s not all social and maintaining your profile and connection list credibility is extremely important.

LinkedIn should be authentic.

My personal opinion and advice for LinkedIn is to treat it less like twitter and more like facebook.  Where you connect with people you know or have done business with.  I personally reserve my “connection membership” to strictly those that I have shaken hands with at some point in my life.  That way if someone asks me about a contact then I can honestly say where the connection stems from.

Be leery of those who want to connect that you don’t know.

As you are building your online brand and reputation you will also receive invitations from those you don’t know.  Sometimes if there is mutual contacts or circles you may want to connect with them and that’s fine, (although I stick to my shaken hands rule).  However Ive experienced those who have false profiles, those who just want to see my contact list, and those who want to be able to say that they are connected to me and create a false sense of security to those that know me.  Be careful of these types of connections as they ruin your LinkedIn credibility.

Remember that LinkedIn is not a popularity contest.  

It’s about quality of connections not quantity.  Don’t feel like you need to be in a rush to get into the 500+ category, especially if you’re just beginning your career.  Build your network through meaningful connections.  The goal here is to be putting the energy into a social platform that will work for you professionally.  To have contacts you can reach out to and clients you can keep in touch with.


“No legacy is so rich as honesty.” – William Shakespeare

Photo courtesy of

Cheers to 100 Happy Days


I accept this challenge, and challenge my readers to it as well! Who’s with me?

Outside the Box

I would like to think I’m a positive person. I tend to look at situations with an optimistic view. I rather look at the glass as half full than half empty.

But, that’s on most days.

There are those times when something really minor may have gone wrong and the rest of the day just seems to follow in a downward spiral. Those days I wake up on the wrong side of the bed and can’t help but get annoyed by everything and everyone that interacts with me. Now trying to maintain my optimism, it really does bother me that a day which consists of 24 hours can be ruined within minutes. I want to figure out a way to change that. Which is why the #100happydays challenge caught my attention.

#100happydays#100happydays, n.d. photograph, viewed 22 May 2014, <>

How does it work?

It’s pretty simple. You submit a…

View original post 269 more words

Photo By Vee-O

The Concept of Slowing Down

Inspiring Songs, Wellness
Beginning the Day in a Frenzy

We all have mornings when we are rushing out the door with our adrenalin already pumping.  Where we scarf down our food or reach for that protein bar as we feel we have no time to eat breakfast.  Frantically we are reviewing our calendar and putting together our items for the day.  We rush out the door and put our 10 different items in the car.  We begin driving through traffic in an absolute panic about the Christmas list of activities and “stressors” that await us in the day a head.

Slow Down

This morning was one of those mornings for me.  I was so mentally busy it wasn’t until the end of my commute that I thought to turn on the radio.  When I flipped it on, (as sort of a last ditch effort to calm myself) I got more than I bargained for.  The song “You’re going to miss this” by Trace Adkins came on.  The words spoke to me as he talked about a young lady rushing through life and always looking to get to the next stage.  She wasn’t stopping to think about and appreciate the current stage she was in.

The Weekly To Do List – just boxes to be ticked?

This hit me instantly as I thought about my week so far, meetings, seminars, courses, family responsibilities, friend commitments, Yoga (which I left halfway through class as I felt I didn’t have time to be there), downtime. The on going to do list.  I had rushed my week as I have done for so many other weeks.  I have been simply racing to check off the “to do” items.  I wasn’t being 100% there during the activities as I was already thinking about the next.

The concept of slowing down.  Embrace the “Stressors”.

You're going to miss this

We all know this philosophy, we’ve heard it before, but for me this morning, it was time to hear it again.  I’m going to miss this.  I’m going to miss right now being so busy and having a full life.  Instead of thinking of my week itinerary as a “checklist” and “stressors”, I need to focus on the positive side and embrace the “stressors” as a part of life.

I have a great job where I’m constantly learning and challenging myself in.  I’ve started healthy activities, Yoga and Pilates, that I’m really enjoying.  I’m attending industry seminars and events where I’m gaining valuable information and connections. These are things to embrace and motivate us.

A Change of Perspective.

Sometimes a change of perspective is what we need to get us to slow down and appreciate how good we have it in the moment.  It’s Thursday today, I have two full days left in the work week.  You bet I’ve changed my perspective and I’m going to make the most of these next two days.  I hope you can to.


Relevant Links:
Trace Adkins – “You’re Going to Miss this” Video
Trace Adkins – “You’re Going to Miss this” Lyrics
Photo By Caroline Gutman

The rejuvenation of creativeness

Career, Wellness

There’s something so exciting about the anticipation of going on a trip. The days leading up seem shorter, those you cross paths with seem more cheerful, and your work – so much more enjoyable. A pending vacation can bring out the best in people!

Creative JuiceThere are lots of benefits to be had from taking a vacation. Namely, the rejuvenation of creativeness.

As I make my way to the Buffalo airport, I am excited about the prospect of heading to a new destination. Full of fear of the unknown of course, but full anticipation for my soon to be replenished cup of creative juice.

As an event planner and friend maker by trade, this is one cup {creative juice} that needs constant refilling.

Personally I find the best way to get creatively refreshed is to go somewhere new and be exposed to something out of my normal. Be it, a far away destination or a local one, a new culture or a new scene. Sometimes all I need is to walk a different direction to be inspired.  Recently I attended a seminar from the DeGroote Executive Education women’s breakfast seminar series where the keynote speaker, Carey-Ann Oestricher suggested to spice up the creativity in your team meetings at work by trying walking meetings!  A great tip to be sure, and one I hope to try soon!

What do you do to be inspired? What can you commit to doing differently today to stimulate your own creativity?


// While I have promoted the DeGroote Executive Education women’s breakfast seminar series event from the perspective of a participant, I’d like to disclose that I do work for the DeGroote School of Business.  This post and blog is written from a personal point of view and all opinions are my own.  It bears no connection with the DeGroote School of Businesses or McMaster University.
By Fré Sonneveld

The Beginning of The Balanced Belle

Writing and Blogging

It’s often said that in order to write a novel, one must write.  

As otherwise stated:  Just sit down and begin writing.  It doesn’t have to be at the beginning of the piece. One just needs to begin pouring thoughts and ideas to paper or device.  This is just what my first blog post is, just writing to “inspire the novel” sort of speak.  The effort of beginning something new and enjoying the thrill of exploring the unknown.

Often times when we set goals it’s beginning them and taking those first few steps that is the largest obstacle we will face.

Writing a blog has always proved to be a challenge to me.  Like many others, I feel there is always someone better out there to speak to subjects.  More qualified, more experienced, or more passionate about the topic.  (The other answer is procrastination. I’m talking years.)

However, if only the brightest star were allowed to shine, then so would the beauty of a starry night be lost for all to see.  A lofty goal to be a shining light, but none the less, this is my goal for this blog.  To inspire and be inspired.

A toast to starting something new today, for me, and I hope, for you.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Ernest Hemingway