A week in San Miguel de Allende that might change your life!

If you’ve been thinking about career transition but haven’t been able to muster up the energy to take action, and you can clear November 30-December 7, 2013, please consider joining me in enchanting San Miguel de Allende Mexico for the Step Into Your Future workshop.

When I first started holding workshops in San Miguel de Allende, a colleague of mine joked that they sounded like the “perfect boondoggle.”  Imagine: paying to do a “serious” workshop in a beautiful, art and history filled town in Mexico! Three years later, I am pleased to say that many people have found that combining an opportunity to enjoy San Miguel and contemplate their life and career – works!

There is something special about stepping out of your day-to-day life and into another world.  For decades, San Miguel (www.sanmigueldeallende.com ) has been a haven for visual artists, musicians and a host of other people who seek a travel experience as opposed to just being tourists.  It is far from “undiscovered” and yet its UNESCO protected status and the fierce vigilance of its residents has kept it from becoming touristy and preserved its charm.

As part-time residents of San Miguel, my husband Stan and I revel in our Mexican neighbourhood complete with its crowing roosters, barking dogs and the occasional midnight mariachi band!  We like to watch visitors shift gears into a bit of the Mexican way of life when suddenly the only thing on your agenda is drinking coffee in the jardin (town’s central park) or finding the perfect rooftop bar from which to watch San Miguel’s legendary sunsets.

The list of things that make San Miguel special is long.  But what about the workshop part?  Since the program is the same, what makes taking the Step into Your Future workshop in San Miguel different from taking it in Vancouver, Victoria or Kingston?

Here are five things that I have observed or heard from workshop participants:

  • San Miguel is indeed magical:  several people have had this delightful Mexican town on their “must visit” list for a long time and find that the opportunity to be there – with the added purpose of examining where their career is headed – is a powerful cocktail.  Whether it is the chance to see what it would be like to live a different life, or simply the indulgence of time for contemplation, this is a good place to be.
  • Sun drenched terraces in November are good!  The workshop is held in a beautiful colonial house in the centre of town.  The house boasts several sun drenched terraces, private rooms with en-suites and lots of nooks and crannies for quiet conversation.  You can stay in this house for just over $300/week, or choose a nearby boutique hotel or apartment.
  • Unique bonding: the power of what happens in groups cannot be underestimated.  When you are with a group of people from different parts of the world and with diverse career backgrounds – in a neutral setting – you can’t help but form a unique bond.  (And for the introverts, don’t worry: lots of space to escape to your own devices!)
  • Revitalized energy:  Who knows if it is the sun, the town or the workshop – whatever it is, participants report that they come away with revitalized energy to make a change in their lives.  That change might be to bring new energy to what they are already doing, or to go in a completely different direction.
  • A virtual board of directors:  every workshop cohort has not only bonded during the workshop, but kept in touch afterwards.  Quarterly follow-up calls are scheduled not only to catch up but also to act as a virtual board of directors to support and hold each other accountable for the actions they committed to.  The San Miguel workshop has the added benefit of reuniting people who have not only shared stories and aspirations, but also margaritas and morning walks (also known as “Mexican butt lifts”, please ask!).

If this missive has piqued your interest in being at the Step into Your Future workshop in San Miguel de Allende, November 30-December 7, 2013, please check out http://www.oglov.com/step-into-your-future.html

Thank you and Happy Summer!

On the Work Train of Life – Is This My Stop? 5 Questions to Help you Decide if it is Time to Retire.

For a few years now, people have been asking me when I am going to retire.  At age 63, my answer is: “when I no longer enjoy what I am doing!”

Bit of a flippant answer, but I mean it.  I love the business development and coaching work that I do and I am having a good time doing it.  Isn’t that what we hope for at every stage in our lives and careers?

Many people in my age bracket, and younger, are obsessed with deciding when to retire.  Most common refrain being: “do I have enough money to retire?”   But I would suggest there are other questions that are equally valid.

The analogy with a train, let’s call it the work train, is apt.  I have a friend and colleague whom I would say got off the work train too soon.  It wasn’t his stop and I think he has regretted it ever since.  And it is not always easy to get back on the train, or figure out where your destination actually is.

Here are 5 Common Work Stops and the questions you may want to ask yourself to determine if this is indeed your stop:

1. The “I Have Enough Money” Stop – just as money is not the only reason we work, it shouldn’t be the only reason we stop working.  If you are in the lucky place of having enough money to live on for the rest of your life, perhaps this is your stop.  But, in my view, it shouldn’t be the leading decision maker.

• Question: Where does money fit on the scale of what is most important to me?  Are there other factors that are more significant?

2. The “Everybody Else is Getting Off Here” Stop – when you starting hitting a certain age, you look around and see many people your age getting off the train.  Maybe you should too?

• Question:  Take a look at the folks getting off at this stop: are they headed for a similar destination to you?  Have you made other major life decisions based on similar criteria to that of these folks?

3. The “Looks like a Nice Golf Course” Stop – how many times have you heard someone say, in response to the what are you going to do when you retire question, that they are just going to play golf, or work in the garden or lie on a beach.  Really?  For 365 days of the year?  For some people it works, for others they are bored to tears in a few months.

• Question: if you looked at your calendar for the next 365 days, how many of them do you want to spend on this activity?  What else will be in that calendar?

4. The “This is the Place I Can Do Good” Stop – this is a hard one to argue with.  If you have long had a desire to volunteer, contribute your talents to a worthwhile cause, start a values-based business – maybe this is your stop.

• Question:  Is this the best way for me to satisfy a desire to do good?  For some people, making a regular financial donation has a major impact and satisfies their need to make a difference.  For others, contributing their time is the ticket.

5. The “I Want to Spend More Time with My Partner/Grandkids” Stop – this is another good one.  Many of us have sacrificed time with our partners and families for work for too many years.

• Question:  What will it be like to actually have that much time with my family?  Does my partner want to spend that much time with me?  What happens when the grand-kids get older and are less interested in hanging out with their grandparents?

You may well have convincing answers to these questions.  The saying that nobody lies on their death bed and thinks “gee, I wish I had spent more time at work” is worth heeding!

“Keep working” is not the only answer.  In my view, the people who are happiest and most fulfilled in their older years are those that figure out where the fulcrum point of work and other pursuits lies.  Maybe there is a new business to start that also allows you to get off at one of these stops?

Beware the point that looks like your work stop.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but if it isn’t, it may be hard to find another train or destination that will carry you through the rest of your life in the way that you truly want.

This is a topic I love to discuss!  Give me a shout anytime you would like to mull it over!  linda@oglov.com.

Promoting You! 5 ways to help you get better at asking for what you want.

I have a client who is so articulate, compelling and charismatic that she could pretty much sell you anything.  Unless it was selling her own professional services or asking to get paid to do them!

“I can sell anything but myself”, she says.  Other people have variations on the theme: “I have trouble articulating what it is I can do” or “I can ask for a raise for people who work for me but when it comes to discussing my own salary, I am at a loss.”

Why is that?  Of course some people are just plain shy.  Even the idea of talking about themselves is abhorrent, much less asking for something.  There are also people who are not shy, but still go into freeze mode when it comes to making the ask.

And yet, we know that there are times when we have to promote ourselves and ask for what we need.  Others may sing your praises but can you count on them to get your story right?  As an example, I have some wonderful colleagues who have always been generous in promoting me, but they really know me as an Olympic marketing expert – work that I no longer do.  It is my job to equip them with the tools they need to continue to promote me for the business coaching and development work that is now my passion.

I am of the belief that you need to take personal responsibility for promoting yourself in a manner that is natural and works for you.  And it starts with exhibiting self confidence, even if you do not feel it.

If this is you – not feeling confident but you still want/need to promote yourself – here are some tips that may help get you rolling:

  1. Get your story right – at the risk of sounding like a broken record, it really does all start with having a personal career story that reflects the “why” you do what you do, not just the what, how and when.  Get it so you believe it first, then crisp it up and get ready to take it out into the world!
  2. Develop a list of the people in your network – think beyond the obvious and be strategic according to what you are currently looking to do (get a new job, start a business, etc).  Then prioritize that list and keep it as a living document that you revisit and update on a regular basis.  And START NETWORKING – begin with the people that are easiest for you to approach and use them as a training ground.
  3. Pick a friendly venue – if it is easier for you to start promoting yourself to someone whom you are comfortable with inviting to your home or meeting in a coffee shop, do that.  If it is intimidating meeting someone in an office setting, you can build up to that.
  4. Dress the role you want – if you are looking for an office job, dress in business attire even if you are just meeting a friend.  This is true for both men and women – you don’t want the person you are meeting to sit there the whole time thinking “really?  Dressed like that he thinks he is ready to work in X?”
  5. Act the role you want – we all know the old adage “fake it till you make it”.  Maybe faking it is not in your definition of a natural approach, but use those first test grounds to act the role you want, in whatever way you can.  Want to start a consultancy?  What would it take for you to look and sound like a consultant?

ASK!  A belief in fundraising is that one of the biggest reasons people don’t donate is because they are not asked.  I believe the same is true of asking your friends and colleagues – your network – for what you need.  Set the stage, relax and just ASK.  The person may say no or it may not be something they can do, but you will not know until you ASK!

Your immediate network of friends and colleagues is a great place to get started.  Practice may not make you perfect but it will move you along the continuum towards being able to promote yourself and ask for what you need.

Linda Oglov

How spending a few days in a beautiful setting can give you a new perspective on your life and career!

The jury is in!  Verdict: taking a few precious days to focus on what is important to you, what you are meant to be doing, and how you can make that happen, works!  And if you do it in a peaceful, beautiful setting that is even better!

We started our Step into Your Future workshops in 2011.  Since then several dozen people have signed up to be part of a small group looking for a facilitated, safe and supportive opportunity to pull the seams out of their career, examine the fabric and decide what they wanted to make out of it.  Some people have started to sew a whole new existence, and others have decided to put the career back together again in a similar fashion but with perhaps a new lining or different trim.

The premise is simple:  bring smart, reflective people together in a gorgeous place and good things will happen.  And it doesn’t matter what field you are in, how old you are or how accomplished you think you are or are not.  In fact, here are a few of the common myths that have been shattered:

  • Everyone else will be smarter, or more senior, or more accomplished than me – wrong!  We have watched senior executives take advice and reflect on the words of someone in mid career, and that person in turn realize she is on the wrong track and it is time to make a change herself.  Get over it!  If you are ready to let the seams out of your career, even a bit, this is the right place for you.
  • Everyone else will be further along than me in thinking about a career change – wrong again!  Most people who come to the workshop have simply an idea that they want to make a change but they often don’t know what they want it to be.  If they do know, this is the place to try out a few patterns and see how it all fits together.  If it doesn’t work, you can start again.
  • I don’t need another workshop that is all talk and no action – right you are!  In this workshop, you emerge with an Action Plan.  Some people will just have a few first steps down on paper, others will have it flushed out and ready to roll.  But an action plan is guaranteed.

The workshops have been held in a range of lovely places over the past couple of years but we have now landed on just two workshops per year, in two fabulous venues:  Pender Island, BC and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

The value of these two beautiful places is not inconsequential.  Neither are the fun times that are built in (and optional!) to each workshop.  There is time to reflect, be challenged and make new friends and new connections.

So if you are ready – or think you might be ready –  to take a look at the fabric of your life and career, please check out and register at Step Into Your Future online.

Linda Oglov

OGLOV BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT INC.

12 Things I learned (or re-learned) about life and careers this year

‘Tis the season for lists and reflection on the year that is nearly ended – and far be it from me to break that tradition!  

I set a personal goal for myself to learn something new every month in 2012.  Not sure how that list stacks up but I do know that the wonderful coaching clients and workshop participants whom I have had the pleasure of working with this year have taught me a lot, or caused me to “re-learn” many things about life and careers:

1. Resilience – it never ceases to amaze me how truly resilient people are.  In the face of an endless array of adversity, people keep going.  I saw unbelievable resilience at the London Olympics in both athletes and the people who work in the business of the Olympics, but I see it every day in the people I work with in all walks of life.  Humbling.

2. Hold yourself – and others – capable – this is a lesson from the Royal Roads University executive coaching program I took a few years ago but I continue to learn and re-learn it.  The number of times I have been on the verge of offering an unsolicited opinion to a coaching client – only to have him/her come up with their own better solution…  I am constantly reminding myself to not only hold myself capable but hold others capable of their own decisions as well.  Try it!

3. You are not alone – like many people, my worst time for fears and doubts is the middle of the night.  Waking up and realizing that there are people around you who can truly help is a lesson we all need to refresh frequently.

4. Accept help – once we recognize that we are not alone, the next step is to actually accept help.  I think I signed up for  “I can do this myself” martyrdom at birth.  Constant reminder that I do indeed get by with a little help (or a lot of help) from my friends.

5. When it’s over, it’s over – some of you will recall that I made this statement after finishing work at the London 2012 Olympics.  It has been a very liberating experience to recognize, declare and move on from this statement.  Whatever it is that may be over in your life/career, I recommend calling it!

6. There is life beyond  I was connected in some way to the Olympic movement for nearly 15 years and longer than that to the world of major events.  It was a great run but so is what has unfolded outside of that world.  I am LOVING my career in business and career transition coaching!

7. Still searching for a cure for being a workaholic – nobody but me really sets how much work I take on or what I turn out in the space of a day, week, etc.  My new motto is: “just because I can, does not mean I should”.  I am a work in progress on this one.

8. Sometimes where you are is where you are meant to be  in my work with people in career transition, it is interesting to watch how sometimes people go full circle and realize the change they need to make, is to stay where they are.  I have learned that this realization is as big a change as any.

9. Story works – I have learned to be guided by the fact that “sometimes the turning point in our lives and careers is more obvious in the telling than in the living”.  Get your real story down on paper and you may be surprised by what it tells you.

10. Networking works  apropos of the point above about not having to do things alone and accepting help, I have decided that the care and feeding of your personal and professional network is as important as anything else you may do in your career.  Stands you in excellent stead when you are ready to make a change.

11. Action works – take a step, any step!  Action is the key.  At least make a plan to make a plan!

12. Life is truly short  having recently lost yet another dear friend who was too young to leave us, I am again reminded of this sad truth.  Don’t waste any time – make the best of life!

I wish all of you the opportunity to reflect on what you have learned in 2012, along with the health and wisdom to make 2013 a year that truly counts!  Very best wishes,

Linda Oglov

How taking a “wrong” career turn can land you on the right road

In July 2003, Vancouver was chosen as the 2010 Host City for the Winter Olympic and Paralympic games, and I had the distinct honour of working with the team of outstanding people who helped to win the bid.

As VP marketing for the bid, it was generally assumed that I would seek a senior position with the newly formed organizing committee, and stay on for the next seven years, through the Games.  And I did stay, for almost a year, working with transition committee.  And every day, I tried to ignore the small voice inside me that was saying, “It’s time to move on, Linda.”

After all, who leaves a job like this? I loved and respected my colleagues. And working for an Olympic Games is exciting and fun. But the Games are also a huge time commitment and so there is an inevitable sacrifice when it comes to family and friends. And since my best friend had recently died, I was acutely aware of how little time we get with those who mean the most to us.

So I interrogated myself, talked to friends and peers, and agonized over the pros and cons. I had a strong feeling that it was time to do something on my own. As the daughter of a horse dealer, I’d inherited a robust and independent entrepreneurial spirit. And as much as I enjoyed the camaraderie of stimulating colleagues, I loved having to live by my wits and be independent.

The decision to leave the 2010 Vancouver Games and set up my own consulting practice to work with companies that were looking to become sponsors of the event was without a doubt the toughest career decision I have ever made. And even once the decision was made, doubts ensued, and they were persistent.

For the better part of two years I woke up in the middle of the night thinking I had made a huge mistake and was on the wrong path – one from which I would never recover.  Success came early and quickly in my new role as consultant, but I couldn’t shake the idea that I had chosen to leave the best working environment that I had ever had not to mention the best working pals! (This feeling abated over the years but was not fully shaken until the Games were over in 2010.)

So did I make a wrong turn?  No.  It was the right decision for me:  it got me where I want to be, financially and in most other ways.  If I had stayed with the Vancouver organizing committee, I wouldn’t have had a fabulous few years working in London with partners of the London 2012 Games (and making a whole new set of brilliant colleagues!), a stint in a 200-year-old farmhouse in Andalusia Spain with my husband, or as much quality time on our gorgeous Gulf Island.  And I might not have decided to become an executive coach and made the transition to setting up a business coaching and workshop practice that I truly love and gives me the lifestyle I want.

Lessons learned?  LISTEN to that inner voice.  Know when it is time to make a move, and MOVE!  And get help when you need it.  At an Olympic dinner in London in 2007, I happened to be seated next to a wonderful executive coach who not only introduced me to the field but also coached me through <em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”” normal”=””>my career transition!

The other big lesson to note is: When navigating new territory, doubts about whether or not you’ve gone the right way, are inevitable.  Keep the faith and keep going.  Chances are good that it will lead you to exciting new – and profitable – adventures.

Promoting You! 5 ways to help you get better at asking for what you want.

I have a client who is so articulate, compelling and charismatic that she could pretty much sell you anything.  Unless it was selling her own professional services or asking to get paid to do them!

“I can sell anything but myself”, she says.  Other people have variations on the theme: “I have trouble articulating what it is I can do” or “I can ask for a raise for people who work for me but when it comes to discussing my own salary, I am at a loss.”

Why is that?  Of course some people are just plain shy.  Even the idea of talking about themselves is abhorrent, much less asking for something.  There are also people who are not shy, but still go into freeze mode when it comes to making the ask.

And yet, we know that there are times when we have to promote ourselves and ask for what we need.  Others may sing your praises but can you count on them to get your story right?  As an example, I have some wonderful colleagues who have always been generous in promoting me, but they really know me as an Olympic marketing expert – work that I no longer do.  It is my job to equip them with the tools they need to continue to promote me for the business coaching and development work that is now my passion.

I am of the belief that you need to take personal responsibility for promoting yourself in a manner that is natural and works for you.  And it starts with exhibiting self confidence, even if you do not feel it.

If this is you – not feeling confident but you still want/need to promote yourself – here are some tips that may help get you rolling:

  1. Get your story right – at the risk of sounding like a broken record, it really does all start with having a personal career story that reflects the “why” you do what you do, not just the what, how and when.  Get it so you believe it first, then crisp it up and get ready to take it out into the world!
  2. Develop a list of the people in your network – think beyond the obvious and be strategic according to what you are currently looking to do (get a new job, start a business, etc).  Then prioritize that list and keep it as a living document that you revisit and update on a regular basis.  And START NETWORKING – begin with the people that are easiest for you to approach and use them as a training ground.
  3. Pick a friendly venue – if it is easier for you to start promoting yourself to someone whom you are comfortable with inviting to your home or meeting in a coffee shop, do that.  If it is intimidating meeting someone in an office setting, you can build up to that.
  4. Dress the role you want – if you are looking for an office job, dress in business attire even if you are just meeting a friend.  This is true for both men and women – you don’t want the person you are meeting to sit there the whole time thinking “really?  Dressed like that he thinks he is ready to work in X?”
  5. Act the role you want – we all know the old adage “fake it till you make it”.  Maybe faking it is not in your definition of a natural approach, but use those first test grounds to act the role you want, in whatever way you can.  Want to start a consultancy?  What would it take for you to look and sound like a consultant?

ASK!  A belief in fundraising is that one of the biggest reasons people don’t donate is because they are not asked.  I believe the same is true of asking your friends and colleagues – your network – for what you need.  Set the stage, relax and just ASK.  The person may say no or it may not be something they can do, but you will not know until you ASK!

Your immediate network of friends and colleagues is a great place to get started.  Practice may not make you perfect but it will move you along the continuum towards being able to promote yourself and ask for what you need.

Linda Oglov

Career Transitions

Career transition comes in many forms. It doesn’t always mean a change in careers. It may be the realization you are exactly where you need to be.

The term career transition can mean several things: you are looking to change jobs; you like your current job but need to improve some things; or it is time to completely reinvent your career and go in a new direction. Or you may be approaching that magical age that used to be called “retirement” but have tons of energy and interest in either carrying on or finding something new.

And sometimes it is simply affirmation that you are where you should be. As Will Rogers once said: “Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there”.

The Step into Your Future career transition workshop can help. Those who participate almost universally have one thing in common: They want to figure out what their story is now and what actions steps they need to take to create their future.

My job is to set the framework, establish a safe environment, ask the thought-provoking questions, and bring the group – usually of diverse backgrounds – together. Bonding and finding common ground in the workshops is one of the real benefits. As one recent workshop participant said: “We quickly established a safe zone that allowed us to share, laugh and grow.”

Here is what participants in the recent workshop in Kingston ON had to say:

“As a busy professional, I rarely dedicated quality time to thinking critically about career transitions situated in the broader context of my life. Linda is a gifted facilitator with a light yet effective touch. I truly feel that this workshop has helped me come into my true power.”
– CM, President, Consulting Company

“I felt inspired and on a high for days.” – KM, Executive, Personal Growth Foundation

“The workshop was amazing and for me affirming.” – KM, Accountant

“There is a book in me and it is going to get written!” – SH, Communications Expert

During this four-day intensive workshop conducted in a retreat-like atmosphere, you will create the foundation you need to Step into Your Future with purpose and confidence:

  • Day One: Examine your game. Tell your story.
  • Day Two: Play to your strengths; and work on your weaknesses.
  • Day Three: Start to take action – get your game plan in place.
  • Day Four: Declare yourself – tell us your new/renewed story and plan.

Join us. The next Step into Your Future workshop is April 26-29, 2012 in Victoria, BC at the beautiful Inn at Laurel Point. I would love to have you with us. There are just few spots left, so if you are ready to step into your future, please call me asap at 604-288-7031.

P.S. Oglov has arranged a very special workshop room rate with the Inn at Laurel Point, but reserve your room now, because it expires at midnight on April 12! As part of your stay, you also will be offered a unique tour of Victoria’s culinary treasures by Tour de Fork!

WIN more business with “Better Pitching” Workshop

Not winning all of the business you think you should? The “Better Pitching” workshop, created by Bill Baker and I, can help your business team find its pitching groove. This full day workshop will permanently reshape your thinking about pitching, and arm you with dozens of immediately actionable tips and techniques that can help you improve results – no matter what business you’re in.

Here is what the managing partners of a major national agency recently had to say about our workshop:

“Loved the session…the feedback from our team has been great and I personally felt it was a very, very beneficial session. “
“As a next step, we’ll use this as a jumping off point for (our company’s) new business manifesto and begin to implement a new business system…(we have) a very galvanized team.”

What would make the difference in your career?

What keeps you up at night? What is the area that you think could make a big difference in your career? I would love to hear from you! Also please contact me if you are interested in direct assistance with career transitions, need individual business coaching or think your team could benefit from the Better Pitching workshop.

I can help create an environment that touches the spots in your career that need to grow, expand or that actually need to be defined. Here is a sample of topics that could be addressed in upcoming workshops, webinars and via other outlets:

  • What does it really mean to start your own small business? You have the check list (hire accountant, register for tax purposes, etc.) but what are the things you may not have thought of? What will make the difference between success and failure?
  • Freedom 95? How do you keep your career going or find something new – that will take you to that magical retirement age – or will you ever retire? The experts tell us that 84% of boomers expect to work after age 65, and 63% of us will never retire. What does that mean for YOU?
  • Reflections on Life During the 2012 Summer Olympics – and After! I am gearing up for working with the stellar iLUKA team during this Summer’s London 2012 Games. I look forward to sharing my perspectives in future newsletters.

Let me know what you think about the above topics and what interests you these days. I look forward to hearing from you.

And please remember that you can share this news with colleagues by clicking the link below and you can also opt out of receiving these emails by clicking below.

Thank you!

Linda Oglov