Change Is Bittersweet – Farewell to Kansas City! Career accolades to all!

January 30th, 2012

Dear Former Clients, Prospects and Friends,

A person’s career path can take one in many directions. It may zig-zag; it may be windy. And it may not be that naturally ascending move-up, as some may desire.

Susan Ashley

With our troubling economy and this recession that has gripped us longer than we wanted, many of us found ourselves in a transition that we did not feel equipped to handle. Some of us remained employed and yet were able to move into another position in another company whether it was a step-up or a lateral move. Some of us landed in a new industry. Some took a few part-time jobs; some took a position lower on the totem pole, until they could find one that was more suited. Some of us were unemployed for months. Some of us moved to another state.

So many stories. All of them extremely important. Thank you to everyone who shared them with me in the last three years. Coaching is a very helpful component in the job search. Looking for the right job can be one of the hardest jobs there is.  Having the support, coaching and mentoring from one or many persons can be instrumental to success. There are no failures; if you experienced some setbacks, then it is a benchmark to your next success.

My husband has been working in Iowa for almost two years, and now it is time for me to join him. I will miss Kansas City; this is my home. Yet I will be back many times -  just a five hour drive from Iowa City to Kansas City.

Career services are services that I personally think are very helpful at every level of one’s career journey. So it is with that belief that I am transferring my business to a well established Executive Career Coach, Meg Montford. Meg offers coaching services and so much more! She will weave Kansas City Career Services into her own brand. Don’t be shy; continue with your inquiries. Please read her intro below.

Most of all: be proactive, keep taking that next positive step after the last, push yourselves, and live the life you want! Thank You, Good Luck and a Happy & Prosperous 2012 to all of you!

Sincerely, Susan Ashley

Meet Meg Montford

Hello Everyone!

With great enthusiasm I introduce myself to you. As a professional career coach and resume writer, I have offered career services to Kansas City area professionals since 1999 when I launched my business, Abilities Enhanced® – an online career services boutique. Over the years I’ve earned several career coaching and resume writing credentials to help me better help you. My “story” is on my main website waiting for you to read.Meg Montford

My hope is to get to know you better over the next few weeks through email messages, telephone conversations, and a get-acquainted complimentary teleconference. But don’t wait for me to contact you! If you currently have career needs, please reach out to me now. My office phone is 816.767.1196 and my direct email address is Let’s chat!

Change is never easy, whether it’s changing jobs, relocating, or doing a complete career reinvention. Job seekers know that, as I’m sure Susan does, too, as she starts her new life with a new job in a new city. I wish her all the best, as I know you do, too.

Some housekeeping notes: the phone number has been changed to 816.767.1196 at and there are a few other changes coming to the website in the near future, so please bear with us as information is updated.

As you and I move forward with this transition, please take a moment to “approve” my email address in your email system. It’s no fun if you miss important emails due to over-zealous junk filters.

I look forward to connecting with you very soon.

Wishing you career success in 2012!

Meg Montford, Executive Career Coach

Break Time

September 27th, 2010

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”  ~Attributed to both Jim Goodwin and Sydney J. Harris

Careful what we wish for, right? Every entrepreneur longs for success, for their concept to skyrocket and become something to be proud of. We’ve talked about how we all define success differently, and that’s certainly the case, but we still crave success as opposed to failure.

I’m thinking about success again, now, as I scramble to fit all the tasks that need to be done into the day. These past few months have been a blur of activity. Fabulous, productive, positive activity. Still, it sometimes prompts this little voice inside that says ‘now is the time to breathe.’

Because when we’re successful, sometimes we forget to breathe. We get so caught up in the doing that we forget the why behind the activity. So I’ve made a very entrepreneurial decision: I’m taking October off.

Now before you think I’m jetting off to work on my tan on a white sand beach, let me  clarify. I’m still working, organizing and most of all breathing. Just not doing it as publicly through the GUMP It Daily blog as I have been. I need to step back, reassess, and make sure that I am bringing you my A game. So I am giving myself permission to use October to refuel, rebalance and reflect.

As I do this, I’d love to read your feedback. Do you like getting thoughts from me each week, or is monthly more your cup of tea? Are there topics you’d like to explore or have I provided thoughts that have been helpful to you? Email and tell me.

See you in November!

Busy vs Productive

September 20th, 2010

Do you ever stop to notice the words we choose during the day? I’m thinking now about time, and how so many of us say something like “I spend my time…” or “I wasted so much time….”; but I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anyone say “Today I invested my time wisely”.  Why is that?

There is no shortage of advice about leveraging the time we have, and we all know that regardless of our level of success we all start with the same 24 hours each and every day. So why is that some of us get so much  more done than others? I’m going to be bold and say that it’s because productivity is not an accident. It is a conscious, ongoing decision to invest whatever time we have wisely. All too often, we mistake activity for achievement when, in reality, the two could not be more different.

Where does it start? With that decision to stop wasting or spending time and instead deciding where our investment of time will bring the greatest return.  Step one: Prioritize. You can’t do everything at once. Step two: Re-tool your to-do list. Because it’s impossible to map out every single minute of every single day, interruptions and surprises included, consider a weekly to-do list rather than a daily checklist. Constantly review and update, so you can see everything at a glance and choose what you can do that will fit the time you have available.

Try it for a week. Then reassess and see if you’ve gone from running in place to moving forward.

Can you do it alone?

September 13th, 2010

Can you do it alone?

It doesn’t even really matter what “it” is, if it’s important the answer is probably no. Not that we are incapable of action on our own. Rather, acknowledging that we need partners in the journey is a key step to increasing productivity, results and success.

Think about some of the greatest athletes of our time….Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky.  Crazy talented, skilled and blessed with a discipline that many of us would kill for yet still they all had coaches (coaches–plural). Why? Because even with the most amazing skills we all need a little prodding, encouragement and tough love along the way.

Having a partner who holds you accountable is a key factor in continuing to conquer our greatest goals, both professionally and personally. Think about losing weight; we’re much more likely to trek to the gym at 5 a.m. if we know our workout partner is there waiting. Professionally, we’ll work harder and smarter so as to not disappoint our project partner. There’s something about disappointing ourselves that’s easy; but to disappoint someone else? Unthinkable for most of us.

So why wait for a special project to find a partner in crime? Choose someone you respect, who will have no qualms about being brutally honest when necessary and who isn’t too much of a friend to hurt your feelings. Schedule a 30 minute accountability call once a week to discuss wins, losses and goals and challenge each other for better results the following week. What do you have to lose?

Are you ready to rock?

September 6th, 2010

Rock and roll is commitment. Rock and roll is passion and spirit. ~ Mick Fleetwood

Are you a rock star? The question has nothing to do with whether you can carry a tune or dazzle with a guitar riff. In real life, the question has everything to do with passion and execution.

Don’t we all want to be friends with the rock star? As employers we strive to pack our ranks with rock stars in various capacities and in networking we are smart if we can hang with the rock star. How often, though, do we do what we need to do to be the rock star? Let’s break it down…a rock star has superior talent, can harmonize with the band, has adoring fans, is a leader, and has that certain swagger that sets them apart from the crowd.

Regardless of discipline, becoming a rock star can be boiled down to three key elements: passion for what you do, never-ending hunger for knowledge and improvement and confidence in yourself and your abilities.  Concentrating on what you are really passionate about, being a life-long learner (whether that is through formal sources or simply the school of life) and cultivating belief in yourself will get you one step closer to that spotlight. But there’s one more aspect: execution. Rock stars have to take consistent action and continually execute their vision to retain rock star status.

So, tell me: are you ready to rock?

Time is free, but priceless…

August 30th, 2010

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.” -Harvey Mackay

How often do you find yourself wishing for just a few more hours in the day? Telling yourself that if you just had ‘a little more time’ you’d be able to be more efficient, more accomplished, more successful?

Is it time, though, or direction that you are lacking? If there’s one thing that is certain in life (besides taxes!) it’s that time is finite. We cannot create any more time. What we can do is make sure time is working for us rather than letting it run over us.

One of the most common time wasters is confusing activity with accomplishment. Surely you’ve had days–like I have–where you were incredibly busy but you accomplished nothing of substance. That’s because you confused activity with accomplishment.

Big question becomes, then, how do you accomplish more and give in to activity less? This is where our good friend the list comes in handy. I’m not talking just about your normal ‘to do’ list, but a list of what you want to accomplish today. Do you have one? If not, you should. Write them down, the big things as well as the small ones, and take it with you. The more you can cross off the list, the more you stoke your motivation to keep going!

What’s on your accomplishment list? I’d love to hear about it–shoot me an email and tell me!

Defining Success

August 23rd, 2010

“Success doesn’t come to you; you go to it.”  – Marva Collins

Do you ever feel like you read something and it was written so vaguely that it’s trying to appeal to every single person who might run across it? Think of all the articles and posts you read about success and being ‘successful’. How can someone write about what it takes for me to be successful when they aren’t in my shoes? Do they have any clue what it actually means to me, to be successful? I realize we’re all looking for the same things: happiness, financial stability, love, acceptance. So how can our journeys be so different when we’re working toward the same goals?

It’s because we’re not working towards the same goals. What I define as happiness might be vastly different than what makes you happy. So how do we start on the same level, and speak in a language where we actually understand each other? We start at the beginning and ask ourselves a few questions to define what we really mean.

Question 1: What would I need to be perfectly happy? Write it all down, every little detail, of a life that would make you happy. Think about your family, your finances, your health, your recreation, your love life, your spiritual self, your appearance….write it all down.

Question 2: Where in my life, right now, am I NOT perfectly happy? A little tougher, because this forces you to look at the reality of your life and admit what isn’t working. Start from the time you open your eyes in the morning until your head hits the pillow again at night….write it all down.

Question 3: When I look back over my life, when and where was I the most happy? Write down the circumstances, why you felt happy, who you were with, what you were doing and everything else you can think of about that time. Be honest, look for themes or common threads…..write it all down.

That’s a good start and gives you the knowledge you need to be able to start crafting a life that fits your personal, unique definitions of successful.

Defining Mid-Year Goals

August 16th, 2010

Last week we talked about reassessing those goals that we set at the beginning of the year. While it is important to revisit those goals and see where we stand, I think it’s equally important to dig a bit deeper and consider why we set those goals in the first place.

Take a look at them. Are they wants or shoulds? There is a huge difference, especially when it comes to motivation. Consider the vast difference between these two statements:

“I should lose 30 pounds this year” and “I want to lose 30 pounds this year”.

Which one do you think has a head start? Of course, when you WANT to do something you work at it more diligently than if you feel like you should do something. Let’s take that a step further and define the motivation a bit more clearly:

“I want to lose 30 pounds this year because I will feel more energetic, sleep better and fit into my skinny jeans.”

Listing the specific reasons why you are setting a goal allows you to see the final picture in your head; it transforms your goal from a wish to something you can *almost* touch and motivates you to keep going.

So go ahead, pull that list out again. This time, though, make sure it lists goals you WANT to accomplish and that they are clearly defined. Only then will you really, truly, be on your way to success.

Teetering on the Brink of Believing

August 10th, 2010

What could you do if you didn’t know that you could not do it?

I love that question.  I love to ask myself that, and I think it is a good one for all of us to answer.    At any given time, we can change our beliefs.   Many people think that our beliefs are stagnant; that we are born with them; and so the rest of our ‘being’ will just go along with that …. wouldn’t you know it?  That belief!

Nothing could be further from the truth.  I heard once that some people think a belief is a static concept – unable to change… or like a ‘frozen thought’.  This would mean that beliefs have nothing to do with our actions and results.  And they do.  In fact, there is no ‘one’ thing more than our beliefs that will decide how much of our potential we can tap into and how much we can accomplish.

Wow.  Think about that.   If we do not think we can do it, then we cannot.   IF we don’t know that we cannot do something, then we can try it, right?  Each one of us is creative whether we think we are or not.    We are unique and have our very own set of thoughts.   These are fluid, like beliefs.  And these can either give fuel to your ideas, or shut them down.  Please don’t restrict yourself.  Let go.  Know that you can do what you want to do.  Believe that you CAN.

There is a story that resonated with me when I heard Tony Robbins speak many years ago!  It is a simple story.   A young man fell asleep during math class.  He woke up when the bell rang and saw two problems on the blackboard, which he copied.  Assuming that they were the homework, he went home and worked on them day and night.  He could not figure them out.  He tried for the rest of the week.  Then he finally got the answer to one and brought it to class.  The teacher was speechless, completely stunned!  Apparently, the problem he solved was supposedly unsolvable.  If he had known that, it’s a pretty good bet that he would not have solved it.  Yet, the opposite happened.  He told himself he had to solve it and he found a way.

Do something today that you thought you could not do.   Ralph Waldo Emerson said that we should live our lives by surmounting one fear each day.   And since most fears are nothing more than:  False Evidence Appearing Real, another acronym: F-E-A-R.  Then we can change that belief ….that fear is fluid; it is stopping the flow of your ideas.  Put your foot down; don’t let it win.

So, what would you do if you did not know that you could not do it?  Go do it and have a great month!

August, a New Year.

August 9th, 2010

These past 4 weeks we’ve explored my GUMP philosophy: Gratitude, Uplift Someone, Meaningful and don’t take it Personally.  There’s a reason I say ‘GUMP it daily’; like showering or tooth brushing, practicing these disciplines every single day brings us in closer touch with not only ourselves but those around us, and reminds us of simple, yet profound ways of a life well lived.

I flipped the calendar this week to August.  AUGUST! I don’t know about you, but it sure snuck up on me. August is the 8th month of the year…which means that we’ve had eight full months to work on making 2010 the best year yet.

How’s that coming along for you? Have you kept up with the resolutions or goals you set way back in January? Do you remember what they are? Even if you don’t, the good news is that August is almost like a new year again…the school supplies in the stores, the beginning of a new academic year and for many companies a new fiscal year. It all adds up to a second chance at success.

So what are you waiting for? Dust off the list, add a goal or two, and get busy! You have a full FIVE months to go out and tackle the world! The even better news is that if you make the smart decision to NOT go it alone, telling someone your goals will hold you accountable to making better progress towards them. So find a buddy (or shoot me an email), hold each other to it, and kick it in gear!