March 29, 2018

Getting References

Posted in Job Search tagged , , , , at 11:55 am by Yvonne LaRose

What Did You Just Say?

What Did You Just Say?

It was a conversation intended for a wide audience that included recruiters, HR personnel, hiring managers, job seekers, and applicants for an opportunity. When it was completed, there was an epiphany. Those who are seeking specific career advice would appreciate having notice about how to ask for a reference.

There are many times when a reference is needed. The need is not isolated to job search. There are applications for being a presenter or speaker. Some see the benefit in acting as a moderator for an event or panel discussion.

Then there are times when a quote is needed from a contractor. Invariably, the customer will want references and the ability to see the end result delivered to past customers.

Then there are the times when an informal request for a recommendation is made. It’s a statement in a discussion group or someone stops you in your tracks because you’re recognized as a person who has the pulse on where to find experts at something. They’re verbal requests, not formal applications. And then there are online references and recommendations, also known as reviews.

References come in many shapes and sizes. It’s good to have them. Not everyone thinks about giving one unless they’re requested. There’s an art and style to asking for a reference. And if the dreaded “No” is the response, it takes a lot of maturity to not take the matter as a personal affront. Asking for a reference and getting a “Yes” can cause exhilaration. An endorsement, one thinks. And when the time for delivering payload arrives, either the reference doesn’t happen or else it isn’t the type of reference that was expected.

Again, on learning about the negative result and the implied awareness that the evaluator didn’t know how or wasn’t able to say, “Sorry, I can’t do that,” is not a time for holding a grudge. It means there was something happening in that person’s life (or their interactions with you) the prevented them from the promised gift. Move on with the awareness of what to expect in the future.

Yes, asking for a reference takes art and style. And if the answer is some form of “No,” there’s going to be a little pinch.


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February 18, 2018

There Are Options

Posted in Career Options, Job Search tagged , , , , at 9:06 pm by Yvonne LaRose

As 2017 was about to close and as we approached the anniversary of the new administration, it became apparent that some were going through various forms of anxiety to the point of considering drastic alternatives. Some motivation, encouragement, and support were the ingredients needed. So I began making videos on YouTube for the sake of that population.

The early installments anticipate being a mirror of where the low point has brought us. We begin with some basics about rising from the ashes in order to get refueled and back to doing the positive things aimed at making new entrances through those doors of opportunity. (They really do exist, you know.)

Some folks have been knocking on the same types of doors for so long that they now have blisters. Some have resigned themselves to the concept that they will never get in and they should accept the notion that they’re not qualified. Nope. I’m not buying that idea. There are options. In “Another Door,” we discover there are other ways to get inside and even some things we were blind to that we’ve been nesting for a very long time.

Do you know someone who can use a shot in the arm? It’s easy to subscribe. Leave your comments here or at Yvonne LaRose, Lively Voice on YouTube.

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January 16, 2018

Who Said This Was Going to Be Easy?

Posted in Emotional Maturity, Job Search, Personal Image tagged , , , , , , , , at 4:04 pm by Yvonne LaRose

Some cracks in the wall need to be filled

Some cracks in the wall need to be filled

There are times when it seems we’re challenged to even exist. The tide of events seem to be building into a tidal wave that will crush us. No matter what strategy is used to overcome the obstacles, be it interview for a job, having the proper qualifications, submitting a resume and cover letter, getting a raise or a promotion, being recognized for some effort that will actually prove beneficial for the entire department, nothing works out and the whole effort falls apart. During those times, it seems as though the ones who would have you fail are delighting in your struggles. And sometimes it seems as though they may even be adding a little kindling of their own for the sake of the entertainment – watching you fail.

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes talk to God about those times of futility. The types of conversations that go something like, “God, this is so hard,” or “God, why doesn’t anything work out,” or “God, why can’t this be easier?” He doesn’t actually answer but the thoughts that come in response to those mental conversations are pretty on point.

“Who said this was supposed to be easy?”
“If it were easy, there’d be no victory. It would be the same as going through the motions.”

And other, similar responses. And then the appreciation of the situation begins to come into focus. “Nothing I do seems to work out,” ruefully thought while the desire to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over your head start to sound like a good idea. “All that work and nothing to show for it except nothing – failure, no results. Defeat.”

Ah, then the hearkening epiphany as you think, “But how can I accomplish anything more if I’m sitting on my butt playing Solitaire?” Indeed. How can anything be accomplished if you have the covers over your head and are striving to put yourself into a coma, become PVS (persistent vegetative state)? Who wants to hire a vegetable for some type of position where the company is supposed to be earning money and creating customer satisfaction from their products and services? None that I know of.

The old adage is very true, the Lord helps those who help themselves. So you need to continue to put forth the effort to overcome these obstacles. Apparently, you haven’t done everything because your results are still in the negative. There’s something that’s missing from your strategy. It’s time to examine it to find the missing piece. It’s time to get some input, maybe even some alternatives and fresh ideas. But you can’t get those things if you’re asleep. It takes being actively engaged in fine tuning the efforts in order to reach the goal.

All those things that didn’t prove fruitful actually were useful. They were practice runs. There is now an awareness of what doesn’t work. There’s also an awareness of what doesn’t work in certain places. You’ve gained some knowledge of the places you’ve visited and the people who are there; it’s more than just a name on a website or brochure. There’s appreciation of what the culture is and whether there’s a good match. (HINT: You were supposed to be sizing up that information.)

There are things that should be part of one’s daily routine that are above the mere basics. Reading and exercise are two of them. Conversation and socialization are two more (and not sitting around grousing with your buddies on the corner). There needs to be time spent learning more about some subject and fine tuning one’s expertise in that area. It takes being motivated. It’s important to stick with a regular schedule as though you’re still working and are still required to be at your work station on time and ready to start (or resume) the project. Those all lead to being mentally alert and able to do what’s necessary.

Yes, it’s been hard. It’s taken a lot of work and you still don’t have anything (that you recognize) to show for the effort. Okay, make that efforts. Who said this was going to be easy? Where’s the victory in easy?


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September 11, 2017

Using a Temp Agency

Posted in Career Options, Job Search tagged , , , , , at 4:26 pm by Yvonne LaRose

There are so many options for job search other than collecting unemployment. There’s working for yourself via the gig economy. There’s doing a full-blown job search (which may become protracted). And then there’s seeking interim employment through an agency.

As with any type of employment, there are qualifications and requirements in order to get started. Getting started can be full of surprises if you’re not aware of how to go about using one. Things are different these days. Here’s some advice about Getting in the Temp Agency Door.

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August 20, 2017

About Those Internships

Posted in compensation, Internships, Job Search tagged , , , , , , at 7:03 pm by Yvonne LaRose

Events such as end of semester and graduation were upon us when this post was started on May 19. Here we are approaching the end of August but the truths for seeking summer internships, and internships in general, is not history – it’s perennial.

It’s a time for reflecting on what we have as we jettison into doing things to actualize our future. It’s a time to do real world things to gain expertise and efficiency. And it’s a time to apply theory and principal to actual practice.

But what about that internship? What about negotiations for the first real job, or better yet, turning that internship into an offer of a permanent position. Time to think about what compensation should be negotiated, both for the internship and for the offer that could result from it. Also critical is to remember that this is basically a contractual relationship. There needs to be an exchange of consideration from both parties. So while there may not be an actual exchange of cash, there is some exchange that’s occurring in these types of relationships.

There are many reasons for seeking an internship. Perhaps it’s being used to see real-world application of the principles taught in a class. Yes, you’re still an undergraduate (or an advanced degree student) and not yet eligible for the real opportunity of a full time position. Does it make sense to work for free? Yes, and no.

No Monetary Reward Today, But Experience

If your working is being done for some type of fraternal, non-profit organization, then you won’t be charging for your services. In fact, you’ll be gaining practice and fine tuning your abilities so that they can be marketed in an organization that is revenue based. And you’ll be seeking the ability to use that volunteer experience as a resume entry. You’ll want to derive a reference from some of those with whom you interacted. You may even want to take away a work sample, if that’s possible. (Remember to get permission to use it. There may be proprietary issues involved.)

While there is no real financial reward for the engagement, there are other rewards in addition to the skills that are fine tuned and the contacts that are gained. There is also the reward of having company with like-minded individuals, opportunities to learn more about the industry or special interest associated with the group, being associated with an organization that has some form of prestige, and maybe the reward of being recognized for your work.

Hands-on Experience for a Grade

Some internships simply are not paid. However, they provide precious real-world experience. The compensation, in this scenario is credit for a class or units earned toward qualifying for graduation. The intern isn’t collating sets of copies from the duplicator; they aren’t fetching lunches or coffee for someone on the full-time staff. They’re actually involved in handling some aspect of the tasks involved in producing the end result. This is what the job will be when the student steps out of the university campus. This will be the realization of what the professor was talking about for all those hours of class time. This will make the difference between earning a grade of C or acing the final exam. This unpaid internship is done instead of taking a course on the subject.

Paid Internships

Let’s face it. A summer internship in another state means there are expenses that will necessarily be incurred. There’s rent and utilities, food allowance, transportation costs, household expenses, wardrobe maintenance, and those oh so essential toiletries. While being an intern in the big city is fantastic, someone has to cover those expenses or it simply won’t happen. Find out what the allowance is for the intern. Will the company provide intern housing or a housing allowance?

Research what the going rate is for an entry-level person in that position. (You’ll need to know this at some time in the future so that you’ll be up to speed when it comes to salary and benefits negotiations.) This is also the time to learn what the seasoned folks know – how to negotiate. This is the time to start honing your knowledge of what’s happening in the industry. This is the time to start pulling on the uniform of the career you’re about to begin.

Which Type Makes a Difference

There are many types of internships but they’re all learning experiences intended to create a better worker who can hit the ground running. Although there will be areas where you’ll be green, make certain you’re doing critical thinking as you go from entry-level to becoming better qualified not only for the job but for the career.


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March 3, 2017

Requirements for the Job

Posted in Career Options, Job Search tagged , , , , , , , , at 9:30 pm by Yvonne LaRose

Are you ready to apply?

Are you ready to apply?

A job posting from Monster crossed my desk this evening. The firm is seeking a family law legal assistant and calls for an “experienced family law legal assistant for CFLS”. (Do you know what CFLS stands for? No, it isn’t fluorescent light bulbs.)

In addition to understanding what type of family law is being practiced by this AV-rated firm, it’s important to comprehend the scope of what the work involves. This position is not for a newcomer but there is room to grow. The candidate needs to have 3 to 5 years of this type of family law experience.

The ad goes on to set forth some of the standard things one would expect for this type of role and firm: “knowledge of filing procedures and court forms, excellent grammar and proofreading skills . . .” Even a legal secretary needs to have these skills.

But the legal assistant or paralegal is another step along the professional spectrum. What’s the difference between the two? A legal assistant and a paralegal are simply two different names of the same fruit. Which is used depends on the preference of the speaker. Standard requirements for this type of work are easily found and are universal in application. However, the scope and breadth of the work can grow depending on the amount of trust, ambition, and accuracy the person has demonstrated and the willingness of the attorney to allow them to do more.

Also called for in this ad and also part of the standard expectations of the position are “detail oriented, reliable.” You want your case to get the correct consideration. You want all the pertinent information. You need to know what applies and which is the most relevant. Typos are not allowed. Poor grammar says the case was done in slap-dash manner and doesn’t carry a lot of meaningful weight. Furthermore, there are a lot of people depending on the paralegal to show up for work on time and ready to work. They are also expecting someone who will get their work done on time with no excuses.

There is an incentive for allowing the paralegal to do more because their time is billed to the client just as is the lawyer’s. The difference is that the paralegal’s time is billed at a lower rate than the lawyer’s, making legal services more affordable for more people. In addition to making legal representation more affordable, the paralegal’s assistance allows the lawyer to devote more focus on their caseload and strategies for winning the cases or having a favorable outcome for the client. The more responsible and challenging the work, the higher the paralegal’s rate will be.

Communication is important in any work setting. It’s important when people are dealing with others. So the requirement to have the “ability to communicate and interact with clients . . .” is to be expected. There is a need to communicate as a professional, of course. But there is also a necessity (because this is a family law situation) to be able to keep emotions from exploding, to be able to do an excellent job of explaining things in a manner that is easily understandable to the client (who may be in a very agitated state or in shock) as well as with others involved in the case and court or administrative agency personnel.

What is important in this ad is the call for technical skills in certain areas and ability to use certain types of tools. It calls for people who are “proficient in WORD, Abacus, and Martin Dean’s Essential forms.” Notice that it says proficient in WORD, not Word Perfect. Do you know what Abacus is?

Reading a job ad and the job description seems like a walk through the park on the face of it. There’s a lot more to going through ads in order to determine whether you have the talents, knowledge, and skills necessary to be a viable candidate (as compared with just an applicant). It takes parsing through the language to make certain what the employer seeks is what you have to offer. If not, applying for the job is essentially a waste of your time and resources as well as a waste for the one reviewing the applications that are submitted.

Perhaps the cover letter will allow you to pause and consider what to say as you work on distinguishing yourself from your competitors by describing why you’re the best. Even in your darkest hour, this is the part that should bring you back into soaring toward your goals because you’ve done your own self affirmation.

Finally, consider whether being a paralegal is the right path for you. There are so many job titles that fall from the lips that related professions are seldom even considered but may be a better fit.

Read the ad carefully to know what is sought. Do your research. Then apply so you can get the interview for the job.

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November 27, 2016

Timeless Grooming from the Female Perspective

Posted in Job Search, Personal Image tagged , , , , , , at 1:29 pm by Yvonne LaRose

Getting ahead of the pack in the work world can be a race against the competition. But it’s easy to get tripped up by the issues that we’re traditionally told are not part of the formula for being the best for the job. Being the best for the job is supposed to be the amount of training that translates to executable knowledge and skill. It’s supposed to be about years of experience. And then there’s that thing about past work history.

A diverse office environment

business people team at a meeting in a light and modern office environment.

You’d think little dumb things like personal appearance wouldn’t matter. How much makeup do you wear, if any? Does it make people want to be around you? Maybe it attracts too much attention so that others want to constantly touch you – in all the wrong places and times. And that then gets us into clothing as well.

Then there’s the factor of age appropriate makeup and wardrobe. You Millennials think this is a walk in the park (that is, easy). But there are other demographics competing for the very same jobs and advancement that you are.

This job search, job succession thing is too complicated.

Those over 50 need to keep thinking about earning power and paychecks, getting hired and marketing themselves when just 15 years ago the rule of thumb was to start considering what to do in retirement. They’ve been told they’re worn out and no longer useful. Yep, competition is very high.

Take heart. AARP shared some insights into makeup and wardrobe and I want to share some of their advice with you.


Are you having makeup issues now that your years are more than 50? AARP to the rescue.

Maybe this is the answer to why so many women (on TV) seem to be overdoing the black eye makeup and overpowering clear red lipstick.

Oh well. Here’s what the writer suggests. AARP’s writer strongly urges using a lot of black around the eyes (lashes, brows, liner). The trouble is when you look at photo shots of women who have gone heavy on the black in order to emphasize the eyes. It’s overdone and defeats the purpose. In fact, many look as though they’re making a desperate effort to appear younger. Makeup is caked on.

Lighten up. There’s still the color palate thing, folks. You know, winter colors, cool colors, and so on. Blondes don’t need to gravitate away from browns and probably shouldn’t. Thin lines still work well for rimming and emphasizing the eyes.

The same principle applies to lip color. A flattering gloss works better than glaring red. And a flattering soft color won’t show up as easily on shirt collars and cheeks when that little buss of a greeting is Europeanly bestowed on a colleague at the after work coffee bar.


Dressing for success is the perennial issue. Age is not as much of a factor as much as what fashion trends are compared to your pocketbook and body dimensions.

While I like some of the suggestions in AARP’s fashion section, I still default to some advice given to me by my step-grandmother. When living on a limited budget, opt for coordinated pieces instead of one dress.

Coordinated pieces mean a small item can be washed out mid-week and used again rather than having an entire outfit relegated to the laundry bin – and you’re out of a mid-week wardrobe item until then or need to take up valuable space to wash and then wait for an entire outfit to dry. Smaller items are also less expensive and more efficient to launder.

Comfortably loose (so that bending and stooping can be done without tearing or ripping the clothes and still allows normal breathing) is much better than clinging or tight. What’s the right length? It depends. It depends on the time of day, the activities that will be routine, amount of hazards involved in the work, the norm for that industry, and many other factors.

Then there’s the matter of shoes. I’m going to stop here. We can talk about shoes another day. Just keep in mind that it’s you who is doing the work. The shoes only help you get it done and protect your feet as you’re doing the work. Wear them; wear the right size.


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October 29, 2016

Survivor and Disabled

Posted in Job Search, Personal Image tagged , , , , , , at 3:30 pm by Yvonne LaRose

There are many who have reached an unexpected status in the climb toward their goal, their dream career and a feeling of greatness in their own right. Some type of accident occurred. Maybe it wasn’t a physical accident but was an illness or even an unexpected turn of events. Injuries were sustained. A disability was the result. Sometimes it’s an obvious disability; sometimes not. Still, things are no longer done in the usual way – as they were done before.

The fact remains that the incident is now history. The person is a survivor. New skills need to be learned or old skills need to be adapted so that the race can be resumed and the competition for “best” can be turned into the trophy – a win – whether tangible or just the satisfaction of knowing the latest milestone was reached.

Building strength

Building strength

Yes, there is now a new type of weight to carry in order to continue. But it doesn’t mean stop and start letting grass grow around your feet. There will be no dust collecting on this survivor. However, it is wise to do some self assessment so the internal strength and confidence, the confidence of self is what’s projected during interviews and while interacting with others. The last thing we need is doubt clouding our objectivity as we interview for the new job or make a return to the old one.


First things first. Do that internal assessment. Find the person within. Make friends with them. Identify the innate strengths that were part of the package from the very beginning. Identify the newly acquired admirable qualities. They’re probably little things that were previously taken for granted. Acknowledge them and celebrate that they’re in your possession. Be a survivor of the race. Be a survivor – the one who got through the task.

Adaptation and Practice

So there’s something new in the picture. Maybe it isn’t obvious; it’s non-visible. All the better. It isn’t necessary to go around bragging (some would call it complaining or whining) about it. It’s simply something that is, like the nose on your face. When does it need to be mentioned? When an accommodation is required or when your endurance is tasked and you need an interval.

How to Toot a Horn

Meanwhile, there’s something else that needs to be done in the self assessment mode. That’s the time when the disability needs to be given serious thought. This disability has imbued you with the ability to adapt and develop new skills, maybe even new abilities. It’s forced you to identify skills that were previously overlooked. There were some critical things learned about bad habits that gave you this gift of disability. Be quick about identifying what those habits were so that can be countered in the future.

What are the new abilities? Why are they valuable? In what way will they make you an even better choice for the job or become a tool for being the best? Not only have you identified your own basis for validation, you’ve developed your own sales pitch during the interview or during the salary negotiations. (Just be certain it’s appropriate to make the disclosure. It may not be necessary except for convincing you of the advantage.)


Once you’ve seized your confidence in new and old abilities, it’s time to charm others with your beguiling self. Do a little boasting about how good you are in a charming way, sort of in the sports field jocular manner guys have of ribbing one another or putting out a comrade’s challenge. Let the boast be about how skillfully you can be at what’s a desired skill for the role. Have a little fun with it. (We don’t have to be so serious as to be boring and up tight.)


So it may take a little extra time to do something. Or adapters may be required. That only means you need a little focused practice so that the specific talent can become second nature. If we have Special Olympians who are setting and breaking records in all events, so it is with you in your new state of being. How well you execute your duties without complaint is a testament to how well you can blend into the culture where you want to be.

Likewise, being erect in your stance is a subtle way of showing confidence. Speaking in a clear voice and without whispering or mumbling, is another way to achieve that. Good eye contact also works. (Just don’t stare or glare.)

Of course you’ve been reading and attending webinars to stay up to date on current practices. As you go through your interview discussion and questions, there may be a very opportune time to observe how that subject was so interesting when you read it or got more insight about it during the webinar (class, organization meeting). The point is, you’ve not been vegetating; you’ve been involved and engaged and are eager to be totally immersed in being part of, and the cause of, the mix.

Are We There Yet?

So, Survivor, what are you going to be doing next? What are you going to tell me (in a subtle and pleasant way) about why you are an outstanding person because you are a survivor?

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June 27, 2016

Passed Over and Passed Up

Posted in Job Search tagged , , , , , , at 1:33 am by Yvonne LaRose

It’s in front of you, the dreaded email (in the alternative, the printed letter on company stationary, complete with watermark and logo) that bears the standard message.

Thank you very much for your time. While you have outstanding qualities, we regret to inform you that we decided on another candidate. We will, however, keep your resume on file in case something else comes up that requires the talents of a person like you.

Yes, the “thanks but no thanks” letter. The “no, not you” message. It lets you know that you were not selected this time and it says this opportunity is closed. Is all of that printed on the letter? No. It’s implied. Should you be disappointed? No.

There are many reasons why a person doesn’t get selected for a situation. The reason may be a single thing or a collection of them. It could be due to a deficiency. Or the issue was a matter of not the right match – personality, culture, location, attire, cultural experience.

Prevail, Progress

Achieve Words Indicating Wordcloud Prevail And Progress

Sometimes a rejection is a blessing in disguise. While it is wise to research a company before applying for an open position, there are many unexpected issues that can arise that you wouldn’t expect to be a factor. For example, your focus is employment in one of the professions that requires candidates for that type of degree to sit for a qualifying examination. If you work for one of the test preparation companies, you will lose your qualification to sit for the exam and apply for a seat in a professional school for that career. It could be deemed you had an unfair advantage because you trained others about how to pass the exam with a good to excellent score. That would be construed as a form of cheating. You’ll probably learn about that little disqualifying circumstance later in your education climb. For now, it was a blessing that released you to continue on your path.

Do you have in your mind what it’s like to work in your ideal company? You’ve decided how a person in the role you want will dress, how they will talk, how they will interact with others in the office – even the clients. Then you get the opportunity to do work in that type of environment. You dress according to the standards that have been manufactured in your mind. Then you arrive in the office – dressed to the nines – and discover everyone there is dressed as though it’s Casual Friday (even though it’s Monday). You’re overdressed. You adapt and so do they. But you aren’t invited to return. That first day make it seem you were riding in on your high horse and that office was everybody roll up your sleeves. Lesson: Moderate dress and moderate expectations lay the ground for a more successful encounter.

So there we have two different scenarios about losses that turned out to be lessons on disguised opportunities. The list could go on by why belabor the issue. Instead, let’s look at the opposite.

You did well in the interview. You have the skills. Your education was just right. You dressed appropriately for any interviewing situation and for every interview with that company. But the dreaded “thanks but no thanks” letter still arrived. You’re devastated. You send a “thank you” note that’s upbeat with some unusual words. You speak of the successful long-term relationship they will have with the person who was chosen and continue your search. Three weeks later, you get a call from a company that wants you to come in for an interview. Your resume was passed along to them by the company that rejected you. They were so impressed that they didn’t want you out there and not snapped up by a good company.

Or, you get a call from the original company to come in for another interview. There’s a position that just opened up in another department for which they believe you’ll be a perfect fit.

Were you really passed over? Maybe for that one situation. Actually, you just did all the right things and showed that you deserved to be in another, better position that’s closer to the goal you’re striving to reach.

Keep your standards high. Be open and receptive to others. And by all means, keep learning, growing, and getting better. You’ve earned it.

Oh. And remember to be thorough in doing your research before applying for the job.

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February 20, 2016


Posted in Job Search, Personal Image tagged , , , , , , , at 10:42 pm by Yvonne LaRose

Getting to "There"

Getting to “There”

Where are you going? What are you even doing? There are times when we feel nothing is working. We overlook the growth that has become part of our being and the small victories that have to do with our being better today than in the past.

“But it’s been so hard,” is the objection that can be voiced. “But I’ve so little to show for how much I’ve sacrificed or lost,” is yet another objection that is typically expressed.

To you, there is little. The fact that you are aware of your circumstances (as you see them) is significant because it means you’re still aware of how you may appear to the rest of the world. Still, those self doubts also show. And the fact that you’ve been putting forth so much effort has some residual benefits.

Keep pressing forward to meet your goals. Adjust them upward when you’ve reached a milestone. Be careful that you don’t push so hard that you are your own undoing. Take rest breaks in order to savor the accomplishments and let them soak in. Periodically reward yourself with some small token of favor.

Let me leave you with these thoughts: You’re working toward being a winner. Move forward and win with your new skills and stop playing in the kindergarten sandbox!

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