Engaging Others Can Create Clarity and Confidence

Engaging Others Can Create Clarity and Confidence

When you make your career all about you, whether it’s in a positive light or a negative one, you reduce your potential to grow.

Many leadership consultants will tell you that being a leader is about the ‘we’ and not the ‘me’ philosophy. Career success is no different. After all, you are the leader of you and your own career, but it’s not just the role you have in getting to the next level, it’s also the people you involve along the way.

If there was one attitude adjustment I needed earlier on in my corporate career and business, it’s that I didn’t have to have it all figured out. That I didn’t have to have each and every detail mapped out before I took any action. I’m sure there were other adjustments I required, many of them as a matter of fact, but this attitude really caused a lot of stress in my life. Because I was caught in this wicked cycle of not knowing what I didn’t know and not being able to figure it out, I became a champion of overthinking, ruminating, and self-doubt.

Does this sound familiar to you?

When you make it all about you, whether it’s in a positive light or a negative one, you reduce your potential to grow. You miss out on opportunities that can lift you and support you to your next level of career by not allowing anyone else to be a part of it.

Instead of isolating yourself, brainstorm with other smart, savvy business professionals and possibly uncover the very solution you need or perhaps one even better. When you feel uncertain of your direction, reach out and allow others to point out your talents and gifts. These are the things you are naturally good at but may not be sure how to utilize. They can help. If you’re procrastinating, others can hold you accountable for your goals. There’s nothing like making a commitment to get it done and the deadline’s tomorrow, for some great motivation.

Are you playing small in your career? The right mentor can encourage and advise you to reach for more.

Do you get excited about an idea only to have your negative self-talk go on a rampage until you’re talked right out of it again? Have conversations with people who have tried it. They can share what worked and what didn’t so you’re not reinventing the wheel.

Quit the overthinking and ruminating and get clear on what is really important to focus on so that you are getting the results you deserve, just make sure you’ve got other people along for the ride.

This article first appeared at Debbie’s website HERE.

Debbie Peterson helps professionals get extreme clarity on what it takes to create career success on their terms! As a business keynote speaker, author, trainer, and coach, she helps organizations fill their leadership pipeline with high potential talent that reaches for and realizes success by harnessing the power of their thoughts.

To Learn more about Debbie, go to Getting to Clarity.


‘Amazing Grace’ celebrates a legendary talent

‘Amazing Grace’ celebrates a legendary talent

“Amazing Grace” (1972 production, 2019 release). Cast: Aretha Franklin, Rev. James Cleveland, Alexander Hamilton, the Southern California Community Choir, Cornell Dupree, Kenny Luper, Poncho Morales, Bernard Purnie, Chuck Rainey, Rev C.L. Franklin, Sydney Pollack, Clara Ward, Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts. Directors:  Alan Elliott and Sydney Pollack. Web site. Trailer.

Some things are worth waiting for until the time is right. In some cases, that may mean waiting for a very long time. But, when the wait involves seeing a legendary artist at the peak of her career, it’s possible to overlook the delay. So it is with the long-awaited release of the historic performance piece, “Amazing Grace.” (more…)

Crafting Your Flexible Career to Match Your Lifestyle

Crafting Your Flexible Career to Match Your Lifestyle

This is an exciting time for working women!  We are exploring flexible career options this month with two brilliant authors, Flex Career Expert, Kathryn Sollmann and Encore Career Expert, Nancy Collamer.

I’ve been fortunate to have designed a flexible career both when my daughters were young, and later when my step-father and mother needed me to step in as the Designated Caregiver®. I actually built an office onto my home and saw clients there. I later moved back to the corporate office while my daughters were in school, but ten years later when I was  47, I retired from my financial planning career to work virtually from home again to launch Smart Women’s Empowerment and Smart Women’s Coaching so I could write, speak, and teach women how to create prosperity and while living their purpose.

If you want to spend more time with your children or be available for aging parents or an ailing spouse and feel that your only option is to take a hiatus from your career, think again!  Kathryn Sollmann says, “Any time out of the workforce comes at a big price:  a woman loses up to four times her salary each year she’s out of the workforce.”  As a financial advisor, I can attest to this. Kathryn will be sharing how time out of workforce it affects not only your Social Security, pensions, and retirement savings, but also your confidence and ability to get back into the workforce later. Kathryn will discuss many new options, so don’t miss her show!

If you’re planning for retirement or already at ‘retirement age’ but want to continue working—whether to supplement your income or to stay mentally and physically active—veteran career coach Nancy Collamer shows how to identify your favorite interests and expertise and repackage them into more than fifty ways to earn income.

I’ve always advocated that you want to retire to something rather than from something, by working at something you love during retirement — something where you can again make a difference, perhaps your legacy.  Plus, earning just $10,000 a year in your encore career is equivalent to having an extra $250,000 in your retirement account.  You may be thinking, “How can that be?”  It’s because you really shouldn’t be taking more than 4% from your portfolio if you want it to last for 30 years or more.  So you would need $250,000 earning 4% to provide you with an additional $10,000 in retirement income. Now ask yourself, which is easier:  Earning $10,000 doing something you love or trying to save another $250,000 so you can retire?

This is your chance to explore your options. It’s your opportunity to learn from two very smart women!  Get ready for some exciting shows.  Please help us share Smart Women with other women in your life.  Invite them to visit www.joinsmartwomen.com so they can receive this ezine and get free access to the Smart Women’s Academy!

Katana Abbott, CFP® practitioner, is a Wealth Coach™, host of the Smart Women Talk Radio™, founder of the Smart Women Companies with over 1 million subscribers globally, inspirational speaker and author of several books. She began her financial planning career in 1987 and became a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner. In 2003, Katana created Smart Women’s Coaching® to offer financial coaching and educational workshops for women in transition who are dealing with caregiving, death of a loved one, divorce, retirement or looking to create or grow a business.  She founded Smart Women’s Empowerment in 2008 to bring free financial empowerment resources and programs to women around the world through her team of Contributing Experts. To learn more about Katana Abbott visit www.katanaabbott.com.

Five Steps to a Sensational Second-Act Career

Five Steps to a Sensational Second-Act Career

Thinking about a second-act career? When you are freed up from having to work a traditional nine-to-five job, the options for how, when, and where you might choose to work expand exponentially. But choosing from that world of possibilities can feel downright overwhelming. How do you begin to make sense of it all? In my book, Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit From Your Passions During Semi-Retirement I outline a five-step process that I use to help my own clients. Here is a summary of the steps:

Step 1: Envision the Life You Want. When you think back to the last time you planned your career (junior year in college?), it’s likely that your decisions were based more on practical concerns, like paying the rent and putting food on the table, than on your personal hopes and dreams. But now it is time to switch things up. Instead of allowing your career to dominate your life, it’s time for your life to take center stage. Think about the role you want work to play in your life: How many hours do you want to work? Do you want to run your own business? What type of balance do you want to strike between work, family, community, play, and self? Once you’ve defined the type of life you want to lead, it will be far easier to focus in on the types of businesses and part-time careers that will best support your lifestyle goals.

Step 2: Look to the Past for Clues to Your Future. Your past experiences – from childhood to the present – hold important clues to your future direction. Of course, remembering fifty-plus years of information is no easy task. So before delving into the assessment piece of this process, I think you’ll find it invaluable to dust off the mental cobwebs by reviewing old photo albums, reading through performance evaluations, and making time for quiet reflection. I know it sounds like a lot of work. But you know what?  I think you’re going to discover that this trip down memory lane is actually a lot of fun–you’ll find yourself thinking about people, accomplishments, and events that you haven’t thought about in years.

Step 3: Ask, Analyze and Assess. As you reflect on and analyze your past accomplishments and experiences, you’ll start to see very clear patterns emerge about what you love, what you do best, and what you find most meaningful in your life and work. Those unique patterns hold important clues to what you’ll be happiest doing in the future and will allow you to make decisions based on a lifetime of data, as opposed to decisions that are made in reaction to your most recent life experiences.

Step 4: Research the World of Possibilities. The world of work has changed dramatically since we all started our careers (back in the prehistoric twentieth century). People are now earning income in ways that we never could have even imagined just a few short years ago: selling on the Internet, self-publishing books on demand, and teaching webinars online. Jobs we aspired to when we were younger have become obsolete, and new careers–like virtual assistants, app designers, social media consultants, and bloggers–have filled the void. Take the time to browse, consider and compare the full range of options. After all, if you’re going to make the effort to start something new, don’t you owe it to yourself to familiarize yourself with the full range of possibilities?

Step 5: Try It Out! No matter how intriguing a career idea sounds, you’ll never know if it is truly a good match until you’ve had a chance to try it out. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to test-drive potential new directions, including volunteering, interning or taking on freelance work. Going “back to school”, even if it is just a short workshop or seminar, will provide you with an opportunity to meet new people who can stimulate your thinking about your future career plans. Adult education is a big business these days, and there are more opportunities than ever for people over fifty to indulge in lifelong learning.

Finally, even if you can only do one thing each week, do start planning your second act sooner rather than later. Career reinvention is a process that can take months, or even years, to fully evolve. The earlier you start, the better off you’ll be.


Nancy Collamer is a semi-retirement expert and the author of Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit From Your Passions During Semi-Retirement. She writes a monthly blog on work and purpose for NextAvenue.org (PBS site for people 50+) and Forbes.com. and publishes a free bi-monthy newsletter about second-act careers.  In private practice since 1996, Nancy holds a MS in career development from the College of New Rochelle and a BA in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

To learn more about Nancy Collamer, go to MyLifestyleCareer.com





Is It Okay to Leave the Work Force and Risk Financial Security?

Is It Okay to Leave the Work Force and Risk Financial Security?

A woman who stays on top of ‘work + life’ issues tagged me in a recent LinkedIn post where a professional woman announced she was leaving the workforce to be at home with her young son. The post basically went viral with nearly 13,000 ‘likes’ from women (and a few men)—and more than 500 comments showing overwhelming support for her decision to change her title from Public Affairs professional at a major company to Family CEO.

I’m the first to say that work and motherhood can be a very difficult mix. When both my daughters were young, I continually fought off feelings of guilt when I would set off on the train to New York City, leaving my babies in the care of nannies. When I would share these feelings with my husband (including the occasional fear that my daughters would love the nannies more than me), he would remind me that most women must work and their children not only love them, but they turn out just fine. My daughters are now 19 and 28—they’re successful, independent young women who have loved me through three entrepreneurial ventures, work-at-home and at-employer offices, and periods when I had ten freelance projects at a time.

Despite the fact that I have worked steadily since age 16, I’ve always pursued flexible work that allowed me to be very present in my daughters’ lives. While working for leading companies and turning out high-profile projects, I was also a room mother, field trip driver, Pumpkin Festival PR Mom, lunchroom monitor, Thanksgiving paper turkey cutter, carpool driver, homework overseer, field hockey snack mother, Mommy and Me dance partner, Halloween costume maker, elaborate birthday party creator, and so much more.

That’s why I worry that everyone who ‘liked’ or commented on this woman’s post may not know that today, it is much more possible to work in a flexible way than when my daughters were young. A full exit comes at a big cost: every year out of the workforce a woman forfeits up to four times her salary. I’ve been coaching returning professional women since 2002, and I’ve seen that women stay out of the workforce for an average of 12 years. That’s 144 paychecks that are not earned, saved, and invested. It’s great if your intention is to return to work, but few return in “a couple of years,” and it’s very hard to recoup the cost of the typical gap.

Women will say that any amount of money lost pales in comparison to the loss of time with your child. But I have been on the other side of the off-ramping decision—too often helping women desperate to return after a once solid-earning husband loses a job, gets sick, or flies the coop. I’ve had a steady stream of women who suddenly wake up to the fact that multiple college tuitions have price tags that eclipse one household income, realize in the 11th hour that their retirement savings are woefully short, or are startled by the fact that once affluent parents now need around-the-clock care that strains their depleted nest eggs. Every day it’s a different story of a woman who felt justified leaving the workforce and paid the price of focusing on whatever financial comfort they felt that day. We all need to fund a long retirement that could last 30 years or more and so many life ‘you never knows.’ Life is long—and expensive.

Here’s the reality: if you feel you must focus on your children 24/7, they are the very same children you could burden if you run out of money down the road.

Though it is certainly controversial, I put my stake firmly in the ground: it’s wise for women to always work. I’m not talking about the kind of work that requires 60-hour work weeks, long commutes, overnight travel, and basically being on-call to employers 24/7. I’m not talking about the traditional tied-to-your desk corporate job and the quest for the most power at the top. I’m not even talking about the new holy grail for driven women—entrepreneurial ventures that can be exponentially scaled and sold. I’m encouraging you to develop your own brand of ambition and success—and pursue some kind of reasonable, sustainable, flexible work that fits your life throughout two big care giving roles – children and aging parents. Some work that keeps you earning, saving, and investing toward long-term financial security.

Today women can have flexible full-time jobs with reasonable hours and work at home all or part of the time. There are professional part-time jobs that fit neatly into school hours and even include health benefits if you work 30 hours for a company that has 50+ employees. Job shares that keep your career moving with a 50% time commitment. Freelance projects or a consulting practice that allow you to decide how much you want to work and give you the freedom of time off during the summer or school vacations. And entrepreneurial ventures that never have to be the topic of headline news.

The bottom line is that today women have so many options to nurture both family and financial security. Always working is a form of caregiving for yourself and your family, too.

More reasons why it’s wise for women to always work and how to find the flexible work that’s right for you can be found in my book, Ambition Redefined: Why the Corner Office Doesn’t Work for Every Woman & What to Do Instead.

This post was originally published on my 9 Lives for Women blog.


As an author, speaker and coach, Kathryn Sollmann’s mission is to keep women working toward financial security in a flexible way—alongside child and aging parent caregiving roles. In her book, Ambition Redefined, and in discussions with women nationwide, she encourages no-apologies independence from the “lean in”, “break the glass ceiling” mantra: her message is to find your own brand of ambition and success, take full advantage of today’s more flexible workplace, chart alternate career paths that accommodate and fund life and tuck all generations of your family into a future that is financially secure and safe. A mother of two daughters (ages 19 and 28), Kathryn has worked non-stop since the age of 16 in many flexible ways. As her family needs ebbed and flowed, she negotiated flexible full-time and part-time schedules with demanding employers, launched a variety of entrepreneurial ventures solo and with partners, established independent marketing communications and career coaching practices, worked in a home office as a telecommuter and generated a wide range of freelance projects—while managing a household, carpooling, attending school plays, tending to sudden health issues of aging parents and in-laws, taking dogs to the vet and making yet another dinner.

To learn more about Kathryn Sollmann, visit www.kathrynsollmann.com

The Awakening

The Awakening

Happy Spring!  I just love this time of year, especially living in Michigan because our winters are so long!  Looking out at the lake as I write this, I still see ice covering part of it.  The gardens will soon be bursting with life and in full bloom. Such a happy time. 

I’m interviewing experts about credit, debt, and bankruptcy this month because anyone who has ever experienced being in major debt knows how it can suck the joy and the life right out of you.

I’ve been there too, and it was frightening.

There was a time when my husband and I were first married that we experienced this. I was a new financial advisor, and I was pregnant with my first baby.  My husband was unemployed due to a labor strike, and his only skill since age 18 was playing a French horn for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. To bring home some income, he took a job bartending at a Greek restaurant where he would come home with a few bucks each night. It was so depressing! We got to the point where we were paying our credit cards with the checks you get from the credit card company! The strike finally ended, and he went back to work with a plan.

It was at that point, that we decided that this would never happen to us again.  We made it our goal to do two things:

  • We paid our credit cards off. It took time, but we did it, and we never carry a balance. In fact, most months, my husband has our credit cards paid off before the statements arrive.
  • The second thing we did was to begin building an emergency cash reserve. We started with one month’s expenses, then three, then six, and finally we reached one year’s worth of expenses that we kept in a safe money market account. Now we only get 2% on this money, but it helps us sleep at night, and I love the ability to make home improvements like a new roof, for example, right from our account.

Building up that savings account took time, and besides investing in our retirement plans regularly, it’s one of the smartest thing we ever did. The next time my husband was unemployed due to a labor strike back in 2011, the strike lasted six months. Thank God we had that cash reserve!

I hope you enjoy the interviews this month with our financial experts. We will address the inner and outer workings of debt. Lynnette Khalfani-Cox offers four really smart debt tips in her featured article. I address the deep-seeded causes of debt in my article. You probably know others who can use this information. Please share it with them and invite them to join our Smart Women Community at www.JoinSmartWomen.com

Also, I’d love to hear how you like the shows and what topics you like to hear more of.  You can email me at katana@katanaabbott.com.  I love hearing from you!

Katana Abbott, CFP® practitioner, is a Wealth Coach™, host of the Smart Women Talk Radio™, founder of the Smart Women Companies with over 1 million subscribers globally, inspirational speaker and author of several books. She began her financial planning career in 1987 and became a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner. In 2003, Katana created Smart Women’s Coaching® to offer financial coaching and educational workshops for women in transition who are dealing with caregiving, death of a loved one, divorce, retirement or looking to create or grow a business.  She founded Smart Women’s Empowerment in 2008 to bring free financial empowerment resources and programs to women around the world through her team of Contributing Experts. To learn more about Katana Abbott visit www.katanaabbott.com.

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