Category: Career Development

You Can, You Should & If You’re Brave, You Will

October 17th, 2016 by

Recently hiked to the top of House Mountain in Corryton, Tennessee. The climb can be rough in spots, but worth the view. Isn’t it always?

Ahhhhh the bucket list! I’ve been thinking about mine again lately. The 2007 movie inspired many of us with adventurous spirits to do more. So grateful to be living my bucket list adventure today!  Sometimes the best thing you can do for your career development is to do something different.

You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. – Stephen King

If you haven’t made a bucket list, you’re missing an easy opportunity to live a more fulfilled life. A bucket list defines where you want to spend your resources before other non-essential things swallow them up. We all have a limited number of resources (and an expiration date), but few of us live like we do.


How to Create a Bucket List


  1. Choose different types of activities that enhance your primary areas of life. For optimal life balance, we all have six primary areas to attend to: physical wellness, emotional wellness, spirituality, relationships, finances and careers. You might include a few physical challenges, like hiking a mountain trail. Or plan a few adventures with your family or friends, like indoor skydiving (did that, highly recommend!). It might be fun to include a few intellectual and travel items that will enhance your career development. Maybe you’ve even thought about earning extra money by turning a hobby into a business.
  2. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many items to check off. Your list is not set in stone, it can change over time, but always prioritize your list. Start with a “top 10” list. The top items on your list will be more meaningful to you than all of the rest of the list combined. Assuming it will take years to check off all the items, your list will change. You’re changing, so it’s only reasonable to expect your list to change too.
  3. Pick one thing that you can do this weekend. It might be buying tickets to see your favorite musician in concert or signing up for guitar lessons. Give yourself a feeling of accomplishment right off the bat. Some of the best things can be simple and easy. For example, traveling by car for a day trip adventure is easier than traveling to another country. Have bucket list items that range in difficulty from simple to difficult.
  4. Set goals that support items that will be challenging to achieve on your bucket list. If you want to live in Sonoma, California when you retire, you might set some financial goals and sign up for a wine tasting class. An easy first step is just buying a calendar with photos of Sonoma and hanging it by your desk so you can see it every day and keep the dream alive. Remember to review your goals regularly and remind yourself why you’re pursuing them.

Every day you’re writing a page of the story of your life, make it a good one!

Do you have a bucket list? Inspire others by sharing what you’ve checked off!

Choose or (Always) Lose

September 20th, 2016 by

The following article was reprinted with permission from the author, Captain George Burk, USAF (Ret), Plane crash, burn survivor, motivational speaker, author, writer. Visit his website at or contact Captain Burk at

There are times when all of us find it difficult to make a decision. I know I have! Sometimes, the best decision is the one we didn’t make and time and outcome(s) showed we were correct. There are legitimate reasons to not make a decision. Some of these reasons have to do with time, resources, lack of adequate information and or our desire and the will to take some type of action.

That said, psychologist Susan Jeffries tells a story that shows the inherent risk involved when people won’t or, choose not to, make a decision.

Once upon a time, she says, there was a donkey that stumbled upon two bales of hay. Both looked good and had a pleasing, pastoral bouquet. The donkey stood before the hay for hours, trying to pick which one the donkey would consume.

In the meantime, the donkey grew hungrier. Afraid he’d miss out on the best pile of greens, he did nothing. Just like the donkey, when people fail to choose, they get stuck.

“The irony of course, is that by not choosing, we are choosing—to starve,” Jeffries said. “We are choosing to deprive ourselves of what makes life a delicious feast.”

Jeffers, author of “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway,” explains why people find it difficult to make a decision. “Our need to be perfect and our need to control the outcome of events work together to keep us petrified when we think about making a change or attempting a new challenge,” she said. “The inability or unwillingness to make a decision leads to a real or imagined loss of self-esteem and self-worth, a lack of progress and growth and ultimately mediocrity.” So…lead, follow or get the ‘heck’ out of the way.

“Middleness is the very enemy of the bold.”
Charles Krauthammer, writer

To break that paradigm, Jeffers recommends turning away from no-win thinking and changing to a no-lose way of thinking.

Jeffers suggests to affirm: “I can’t lose—regardless of the outcomes of my decision.” As I’ve said many times before, learn to fill yourself with positive affirmations. Change your internal script from negative thinking to a more positive view— “I can’t” to “I will.” “I’m not a good speaker” to, “I will become a great speaker.” The examples are personal and professional and are endless.

Look at the world as a great place for opportunity and growth, and you will look forward to the opportunities for learning and growing that either path you choose will give you. Think of your glass of life as being half-full, not half-empty.

“One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.”
Helen Keller, writer

Even some of life’s most stressful events and we all have them —job loss, financial challenges, divorce, non-life threatening illness or worse—being burned and severely injured, for instance—have a way of leveling the playing field and giving us plenty of material that can provide us with internal fuel later, when we step-out to accomplish our next dream (vision) and goal. This can occur in the form of more contacts that expand our network or an important personal or business lesson.

“Traditionally, opportunities in life are thought of as relating to money, status and the visible signs of ‘success,’” she said. “Think of opportunities in a completely different light.” Through my personal life experiences, I’ve learned there’s nothing worse than an amputated spirit and without hope, one’s success and survival is significantly diminished if not lost.

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss in life is what lies inside us while we live.”
Norman Cousins, writer

Now, after you’ve refined and tweaked your thinking, begin to use the doldrums-busting steps below:

Do your homework. Securing relevant information is an important first step of the decision-making process and can keep you moving forward. “Don’t be afraid to approach the specific people involved relative to the decision to be made,” Jeffers said. Acknowledge what you don’t know. Seek out those who can help you learn. Enhance the positives and make the negatives disappear or at least, less apparent.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
George Santana, philosopher

Set your priorities. Start by learning and focusing on the here and now. The issues that drive you today may well be a different color or originate from a different source than those you had last year. Goals are dynamic and, if developed properly, will change as you make progress. “You have to keep reassessing them,” Jeffers said.

“You only get back what you expect, and if you start low you’ll end low.”
Colin Powell, general and secretary of state

Listen to your gut speak. Quite often, your intuition, your sub-conscious mind provides messages as to what choice is best to make at a specific time. There have been many times in my life when my gut instinct
told me the choice I wanted to make was the right one. But, for any number of reasons, I rationalized that choice away and made another choice. Later, to my dismay, I discovered that my first, intuitive choice would have been the best one for me. What that taught me is to trust my intuition, my “gut” more often and go with my first choice and then not look over my shoulder.

“Don’t look over your shoulder. Someone may be gaining.”
Satchel Paige, professional baseball player

Don’t worry. Be happy. Leave the gnashing of teeth and the wailing about how life’s unfair, the stomping of feet and the verbal and non-verbal “woe is me” to others. Learn to trust in your ability to handle whatever life happens to throw your way. When life gives you a lemon, you have a choice. You can become a sourpuss or you can make lemonade. Self-made lemonade tastes great!!

“It is pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness; poverty and money have both failed.”
Kim Hubbard, humorist

Begin to think as if you’re a lifetime student (which we are) at a college or university. Call it the “University of Life,” where every day’s an adventure and every meal’s a banquet. The University of Life is where you eagerly anticipate the new people you’ll meet, the challenges you’ll face and how those challenges will pull you—or drag you—to change into the person you really want and can become. Each experience, whether positive or negative, is a valuable learning tool, each are “Teachable Moments.”

“If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade.”
Tom Peters, business coach

The difference between a winner and a whiner is their attitude and a two letters. How well do you ‘spell’? EH?

Monday Motivation: The right way to the top

August 29th, 2016 by

pablo (26)

Regardless of where you work or what your title is, everyone must find ways to meet their individual goals and create a path to get there.  Is it easy to move up at your organization? Or will you need to weave around?  Make it a good and honorable journey, contribute where ever you can, and know when you get to the top, you earned the view.

Employment Opportunity: Director HSE, Matrix Service

August 25th, 2016 by

We just received this job posting for a candidate who is interested in providing leadership and direction of the HSE function for the Matrix Service organization, including U.S. and Canadian locations.  This position will manage the HSE organization through HSE professionals in each operating division.

Learn more or apply on-line here.

Monday Motivation: Failure is Better than “What if”

August 22nd, 2016 by

pablo (25)

It’s a funny thing about life. You never know until you try, but to try is to risk failure. If you don’t try. you’re stuck in the “what if” your entire life. Try and know. Even if you fall, you’ll learn some things on the way down to help you rise a better person.

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