Tag Archives: bold dreams goals meaning women empowerment

4 Actions You Can Take While You Are Working *Only* for the Money

My job is soul-sucking.

It’s not the first time I have heard this phrase from someone that is miserable in their work. Many people that are deeply unsatisfied and unhappy at their jobs describe an oppressive (and sometimes hostile) daily existence including: a lack of trust in their co-workers or management, feeling pressure to perform without support (or sometimes active sabotaging), political game playing such as others taking credit for their work, experiencing subtle or overt sexism, finding the work meaningless, boring, or in some cases morally bankrupt, etc…

Others say they feel as though they are not living up to their potential or want to be involved in work and people that matter to them. At some point during the conversation, I usually ask:

So why not quit?

And the response:

I can’t afford it.

This is smart response. Financial security and taking care of your family are meaningful reasons to stay at your soul-sucking job temporarily. If timing is your choice, I never recommend quitting your current position without a transition plan and an understanding of what’s next for you.

Sometimes though, especially for those in high-paying and/or prestigious positions, the conversation leads to staying because of the importance of maintaining a certain lifestyle.

Reminder: A few weeks of family vacation where you worry about your work often, that beautiful house where you can’t sleep without medication, or weekend’s where you feel depressed and exhausted…is not much of a lifestyle.

Whether you are at a soul-sucking job or simply want to do something bigger or more meaningful, there is a third option. Stay while you plan your escape by:

  1. Saving. Reduce or alleviate the financial risk of making a big shift. Reduce your expenses, get a second job, support your spouse in working, or start a side gig. Most people that are unhappy at work feel that they do not have any other choice but to stay. Without some level of financial safety net, the risk and anxiety of leaving your job may be too significant.
  2. Dreaming. There is zero risk in dreaming about what you want. Carve out even five minutes a day to explore and be intentional about your work and life dreams by asking yourself the big questions. Reflect on what it is most important to you in the next phase of work and life.  With the right questions and process in a short time you will see patterns and a direction emerge. Reconnect with your dreams first and then get very practical about what is feasible and what would be a financially profitably way to approach it. Here are a couple of questions to get you started. Remember these are brainstorming exercises, so no filter and no right or wrong answer. This is between you and you.  Your answers may range from specific and small to visionary to vague: If time, money, or the opinion of others were not a factor, what goals and activities would you pursue? What issues, causes, and problems that need solving have you been particularly drawn to.
  3. Taking micro steps. Don’t stop with dreaming, because without action (and eventually a plan), you won’t make progress. Once you know what you want, then start making a list of infinitesimal, doable steps you can take toward it.
  4. Finding something meaningful in your work now. Bringing more of yourself into your life can help. Try one of these every day: write down one way in which you are contributing in a positive way to your company; start the day by recording one thing you are grateful for at work; reach out consciously to someone at work with a kind or encouraging word; go outside at lunch and breathe the fresh air; or brainstorm out-of-the-box ideas to help your company that would also fuel your own passions.

How about you, what one small, infinitesimal step can you take to begin toward work that is meaningful to you?


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One Reason You Don’t Have Clarity on Your Goals


CreativeCommons: BRTeaA firm has been helping me with a new product that I am working on. They are incredible in many ways…but completion is taking much longer than expected. Much, much longer. When they shot a few product photos for me, I realized what the problem was.

They never asked me what I wanted. 

Rather than taking the time (in this case just a few minutes) to ask me a few questions to understand what I needed and wanted, they did what was standard..defaulted to what they usually do.

Hmmmm…. Sounds familiar. I don’t know about you, but I still do this sometimes in my own life. Although understanding what you or I want our lives to be about is a bit more complicated than a photo shoot, the concept is the same. Often we go through our days without taking the time to step back and ask ourselves the big questions.

People – especially busy people – don’t have clarity on their life direction because they haven’t taken the time to ask themselves what matters most, what they really want their life to be about, and then made decisions based on that.

The moral of the story, if you want clarity about your dreams, start by taking the time to intentionally asking yourself what YOU really want. Not what is expected of you or others think you should do or is appropriate for your age or prestigious or easy…but what you really want. And then, act accordingly.

Take 5

If you don’t have clarity on your dreams, here’s a good place to start. Today, take a few minutes to brainstorm a list of what really matters to you….people, issues, causes, and values. Let me know what you came up with in the comments.

If you want an approachable way to ask yourself the big questions, here is a self-reflection road map to help you intentionally reclaim your dreams (and your life), check out the Reclaim Your Dreams Workbook for Busy Women available on Amazon.

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Suffering, Beauty, and the Dump


I was so taken by the majesty of nature when I arrived at the dog park today.

I shot this photo but I wasn’t sure if I would share it.

It was early morning and I was up and out by six am.

10 minutes earlier I had been buying a Venti at Starbucks. Since the rest of my Saturday would be full of work and kids’ activities, I decided to grab a cup of coffee to take with me in the hopes of creating an atypical, slower-paced, meditative walking space.

As I was heading out of Starbucks, I noticed the grief-stricken face of a woman on the cover of the New York Times—I couldn’t pass her by. The mother’s daughter had been killed in a terrorist attack and a photographer shot the photo as she bent over her daughter’s coffin.

I took her suffering to the park with me (as I often do).

Then, when I arrived, Nature greeted me with this gift and the anguish and beauty were existing together.

(Until my phone rang.)

My daughter called to be sure I would be back in time to bring her to the dump to sell raffle tickets for her basketball team.

Yup, the dump.

And there it is—beauty, suffering and carpools to the dump.

Some days, life in the ‘burbs can feel so trivial in the backdrop of world events.

And hard to resolve in my head and heart.

But, today it all matters.

That mother was still with me as I soaked in the gift of awe-inspiring nature. And the drive to the the dump was meaningful in all its ordinariness because talking with my daughter is sacred.

I am taking it all in. Being fully in it.

Every bit of it literally exists in my cells.

Today, I am embracing life.

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The Back Story: Reclaim Your Dreams: A Workbook for Busy Women

“I cannot express in words how meaningful this has been… I’m so very grateful that you have created this process. I know this is a life-changing ‘pivot’ point for me!” -RYD participant

It’s scariest before you jump.

Reclaim Your Dreams – A Workbook for Busy Women is now available on Amazon.

To purchase click on the image or click this link:  http://amzn.to/1ZSllgj






And here’s why I created it:

While working through the editing process for my book for teen girls, Take 5 for Your Dreams, the editor emailed me her latest round of revisions and closed with this:

“I wish I had this book when I was younger.”

It would not be the only time I heard this sentiment. Once Take 5 was released, women purchased the book to empower their daughters and then quietly shared some version of that same sense of resignation. Most were moms with full and incredibly busy lives. Many were unhappy in their careers (soul-sucking and lackluster came up a lot), but between work and family and raising kids and volunteering and well, you get it….They never seemed to possess enough time and energy to consider and act on their own brave dreams and goals.

Others were in transition because their kids were a bit older or their nest was empty or they were getting a divorce. Some were generally ready for spectacular, but weren’t sure exactly what spectacular was and how to make it happen. Sometimes, the women that I spoke with had so many spectaculars to pursue, they became overwhelmed and didn’t make forward progress.

Still more were women in their 20’s and 30’s who were in the workforce but disillusioned with the corporate environment and had this aching feeling that their work wasn’t meaningful.

All of these women shared a sense that they were meant for more even if they were unclear about what that more was. They had read the self-help books and even tried the online programs but couldn’t find one that understood both their desire to pursue bold dreams and the reality of an overwhelmingly busy schedule.

What did I say to my editor friend that day?

“Me too, but it is not too late for you. Before you decide that it is, at least for a while, indulge your wildest dreams. Just for fun, consider what you would do, if you really could do anything you wanted.”

That’s why I decided to create the Reclaim Your Dreams program. And from there the magic ensued. The women that participated began reclaiming their dreams. They launched businesses and are writing books. They cleared space for what matters most. They returned to school and started to believe (again) that they would change the world. They made their health a priority. And are planning travel adventures.

And why I am releasing this workbook. Whether you are in transition and ready for a new dream or have that sense of longing that comes with feeling like your life does not reflect who you are or are. Or anywhere in between. Now is the perfect time to intentionally consider what matters most and what your boldest dreams are. I can’t think of a more important task in life (nor a better way to empower the girls and boys in your life to do the same.)

I hope you will join us! xo Paula

Reclaim Your Dreams: A Workbook for Busy Women is now available on Amazon.  To purchase click on the image or click this link:  http://amzn.to/1ZSllgj







What participants and readers are saying about Reclaim Your Dreams:

“I’m blown away…. I’m an avid reader and have devoured a gazillion self-help books over the years. Your work rings true.”

“I cannot express in words how meaningful this has been… I’m so very grateful that you have created this process. I know this is a life-changing ‘pivot’ point for me!”

Reclaim Your Dreams encouraged me to pursue my next life adventure by asking me simple but thought-provoking questions, helping me move beyond my daily life challenges. I was startled and pleased to learn that just verbalizing my dreams and passions could be so empowering.”

“You have helped me reclaim my dreams.”

“So inspiring.”

“I need to thank you! … I just finally feel like I’m doing something I love.”

“I’ve been wanting to do this for quite a while, and this really pushed me into getting going on it. I have much more creative energy. My passions are being rekindled and it has been so exciting (understatement) to explore them within such a simple but elegant framework. Thank you!”

“I love thinking about my day and finally putting MYSELF in it.”

“I liked the live your dream for 30 minutes exercise. I was surprised how much I felt I accomplished towards understanding my dream and really getting my head around the reality of the dream.”