All posts by brmar

About brmar

Brenda March is the principal of MarchForwardConsulting.com We empower, engage and educate organizational leaders and employees to increase productivity, passion and profits. We also work with students and young adults to empower them to become happy, healthy, compassionate, and self-supporting adult leaders

An Account on Passions

12345My main objective in writing this blog is to connect to several different kinds of people that share on thing in common: a passion. Now, not everyone has to have the same passion. All that you need to get something worthwhile out of this blog is a relentless thirst to do what truly calls to you.

For those who think it’s too late:

When you had the opportunity, when the world was yours to take and your dreams just in reach, you let it go. You were told to take sides with practicality; get a stable job that could support you. You were told your aspirations were too far-fetched, or that it was too competitive for you to make it. So now, with a life of your own led by decisions you make, you’re unhappy. Maybe not with life in general, but with the place you go to work to every day. This time around, listen to yourself. If you’re financially stable and you want to make a change, there are ways to take steps backwards. Dive into the world you gave up so long ago. Find out everything there is to know, make connections and calls, and start putting yourself back out there. More likely than not, you have all the more resources than you did when you first gave up. As an adult, you have to realize that no one is allowed to make the decisions for you anymore. If you believe that shifting your life to reflect your passion can make you happier, then what prevents you from doing so? Life is short, so live happy. It is never too late.

For those who are discouraged or unsure in a place of choice:

If you are a high school or college student looking to pursue a major or career path that daunts you, and others are discouraging you, you’ve come to the right place. I’m currently a junior in high school with a passion for writing and film. Put the two together, and you get the “starving artist” major: screenwriting. If I had a nickel for every time someone made a queasy reaction to my saying this, then the “starving artist” stigma would be blown out of the water. My advice to those who “get me” is to give it everything you’ve got. Prepare yourself in every way possible. Job shadow, intern, work, create, study, experience, network, travel, question, and then some. If you can do that, there’s a surefire chance that you’ll fall into the path of least resistance in getting to study or train in the field you love.

There is often struggle to success.

Stephen King is a household name. Stephen King is a ‘New York Times’- bestselling novelist. Stephen King has sold over 350 million copies of his books.

Stephen King was once a middle-schooler tacking up rejection letters on his bedroom wall. If you are either of the above mentioned, remember that there is struggle to success. Even when you give it everything you have, there’s always a chance you’ll get shot down. However, with time and tenacity, your passion will indeed be achievable. Look at Stephen King; he wanted to be a novelist. This was anything but practical, especially for the genres of horror and fantasy. Regardless, he worked, and failed, and worked, and failed, and worked some more until he succeeded. It is only with active persistence that you can achieve your most illustrious dreams and goals. If your passion seems out of reach because the failure outweighs the success, the only thing to do is carry on (or, March Forward!).

An excerpt from Brenda’s book, The Project of You: Beyond High School, describes this blog’s message perfectly. Take a look at pages 188 and 189.

“WHAT IS PASSION? Passion is defined as a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing some specific activity. I believe my passions are the things that will make me feel sheer joy.

Your passion(s) may be the most important part of you. How you live out your passion is as unique as your DNA. And whatever your passion is, it ignites those around you and your larger community in a positive way. Imagine a pile of leaves, twigs, and logs without a flame; there would never be a fire. We are all fire starters once we have found our match. We are all meaning making machines!”

Get passionate. Crash into everything that you love full force, and see what happens. If you approach your passion that way, those who surround you will absorb your excitement and radiate it back to you in the form of support that could end up being emotional, social, or even financial. Start your fire today. What do you have to lose?

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Add to your toolkit for success?

What an honor and privilege to speak to Parents and Educators yesterday @

http://gettpa.org event. If you missed it, watch for it in 2018!

While learning about STEM careers, participants also learned what the theme of the event “ My Future is Bright” means. Each of the amazing speakers touched on the importance of face-to-face connections, self -awareness, confidence, and being open to new opportunities.   Our conversations focused on the value of learning success skills, not just academic success like GPA’s and SAT’s.  Academic achievement is key to demonstrate aptitude, commitment and desire to learn. But there are other indicators of life long success.

Focusing and doing well on your SAT score will get you into the college of your choice. But it doesn’t help you choose a career path or college major or get a job and it doesn’t improve the 3 C’s employers are seeking: Communication, Collaboration, and Critical Thinking.

Seeking opportunities to develop these success skills will be a gift to you that will last a lifetime.

Some examples of great skills to add to your personal toolkit:

  • Knowing what you want
  • Knowing how to ask for it
  • Networking skills
  • Empowerment to Ask for Help
  • Public Speaking Skills
  • How to Share Your Brand
  • You Are What You Post, think before hitting enter
  • Negotiating Skills
  • Interpersonal Communications
  • Learning how to engage a Mentor or Accountability Partner
  • How to find a job shadow or internship opportunity

This is especially true for women. A recent headline from the WSJ : As Skills Shift for High-Paying Jobs, Women See Advantages

Research paper shows top-paying occupations require more interpersonal skills such as collaboration and managing others.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/as-skills-shift-for-high-paying-jobs-women-see-advantages-1490101201

There are many workshops and programs to improve your 3 C’s, find what speaks to you.   My Spring & Summer student success workshops are now open for registration @ http://www.marchforwardconsulting.com/for-students

 The Time Management Workshop for students on April 2, still has openings, last day to register is March 28, 2017. Sign up now.

To view a sample of a Young Empowered Speakers workshop student click here:

Rhea: The Simple Solution

It is my hope that we can make an energy shift away from having people identify themselves based on measurements such as GPA’s and SAT scores, we are all so much more.  Neither number is an indicator of success. There are so many potential paths to take as an adult and if you limit your possibilities solely based on your perception of your academic success in your younger years, you may miss a great opportunity or not fulfill your true purpose.

Lessons from Linda Ron

LindaRonstadt

I had the amazing privilege to hear Linda Ronstadt share her life story @ WCU’s speaker series. I feel so fortunate to have so many opportunities being close to WCU.

Linda reinforced this Life Lesson for me:

Keep learning, trying something new, and staying positive!

From Rock N Roll to Country to Opera on Broadway to Mexican Music to writing her book Simple Dreams, she was always exploring and trying something new. While she had so many hits singing Rock N Roll, she was always ready for a new challenge. And even now that she is not able to sing due to Parkinson’s, she focuses on the positive and how she can give back.

This is an important lesson for all of us!  

Many of my coaching clients resist change because they have always done it that way or an unexplored fear is holding them back.

What you discover when you try a new process or procedure in your business or personal life, you will get a new and improved or streamlined result.

What is the overused cliché definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

It’s not easy to form new habits so try something new. Here are 10 simple ways for you to discover and develop new habits and skills:

  1. Take a class to learn a new skill or explore an area of curiosity
  2. Engage an accountability partner to question and challenge you
  3. Research areas of interest for your next career move
  4. Start a conversation with someone new in your field of interest
  5. Schedule an informational interview with a person you admire
  6. Volunteer for a non-profit or charity that interests you
  7. Write a blog post about something you are passionate about
  8. Read a book by someone you want to emulate
  9. Re-connect to a hobby or activity you enjoyed at a young age
  10. Join an intramural sports team or a gym or try a new routine

Experience is the greatest way to learn, so keep learning, trying new things, and staying positive!

This is my favorite of Linda’s many hit songs: Long, Long Time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-1t4-TDkIA

 

 

Follow your Passion?

I’ m sharing an excerpt from my new book that describes my thoughts on passions. And reminding you that my first book signing is on Thursday March 2 @ 7pm @ Chester County Library in Exton, Register here

Book Excerpt:  

My hope for you is that you find both things that you are passionate about that you do simply for the pleasure of the activity as well as an eventual career that connects to your gifts and gives you a sense of purpose.   If you are lucky enough to be passionate about both in your Beyond High School Plan as far as advanced schooling and your career choice, you will be driven and successful.  And if you have another passion like my friend Claire who loves music and is taking drum lessons just for fun, don’t stop because you “grow up”. No one makes Claire do that and she doesn’t get a grade, a paycheck or something to add to her resume by practicing the drums, but she is passionate about music. Or recall Kayla who was passionate about art but told that she couldn’t make a living as an artist until she learned about a career as a graphic designer. I have spoken to numerous students who loved painting or singing or acting or basketball or debate or any other activity that they were involved in during high school. Many feel that they don’t have time beyond high school or they need to grow up and focus on grades or career and should be “more serious and committed”. Never give up your passion(s); it fuels your positive energy.

I have had several young clients who were passionate about music and good at either singing or playing an instrument and their parents discouraged them from choosing this as a career path, saying that they could not possibly support themselves that way. While I thought these parents were discouraging these children’s dream, I have since reconsidered that position.

I was speaking with a local musician, Andrew Lipke, at a house concert. Andrew shared a new insight for me. He makes his living as a musician and he said your parents are the first gatekeepers. You will receive many rejections as a musician and if you can’t overcome your first objection from your parents, then you won’t make it. In other words, if you truly believe it is your passion and your mission, go for it. It takes dedication and commitment to make it in any field but some careers such as music, writing, theatre, and other arts are more difficult to find a way to support yourself.

Even if you don’t find a way to support yourself playing music, writing poetry, drawing, painting, or any other activity that you feel passionate about, don’t stop enjoying it just because you are an adult. I’ve coached many adults who have become re-energized in their lives by re-connecting to their passions that they let go after high school or college.

Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.

~ Maya Angelou 

 

Early Exploration  by Olivia Hunt

The photo above is the amazing group of students that I was fortunate to advise this summer.  They came together as a team from all over the state to spend a week exploring potential careers in business @ PFEW.  Enjoy the blog below written by Olivia about the importance of Career Exploration.  ~ Brenda

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard the phrase, “junior year is the most important year of high school,” I would be able to pay my college tuition in cash, and buy a boat. While this idea has great conviction and solid reasoning behind it, I tend to disagree. But what about SAT’s? AP classes? Extracurricular leadership roles? Don’t colleges pay the closest attention to your grades junior year? Yes, yes, yes, and yes; these are all vital aspects of creating a solid path to college. But what about a career? Maybe you aren’t choosing to attend college, or just want to better understand what’s out there so you can select an adequate major. With the SAT’s, AP classes, extracurricular’s, and the pressure of grades, finding time to devote to self-exploration is incredibly tough. That’s why I would recommend starting this search as early as possible. For me, the process began near the end of freshman year, but it really took off as a sophomore.

In the last month of my freshman year, I discovered the existence of the almighty and ever so helpful career center. I decided to see what it was all about, so wandered on in and came across a bulletin board cluttered with ads for internships and part time jobs. Fast forward a year and a half, and I have been an intern for March Forward Consulting ever since. The first step to figuring out what you want to do with your life is deciding to do anything at all. I had no aspirations to become a blogger, businesswoman, or publicist, but I did end up realizing that I’m not so bad at writing, (and I even sort of liked it). I ended up in a creative writing class my sophomore year and fell head over heels for it. With each unit, I learned something new and exciting about the ways I could write, and it finally clicked during “playwriting”. Choosing a class that allowed me to explore a potential career interest was the reason I discovered what I hope to do professionally. If you have interests in subjects you’ve yet to explore; explore them. Sign up for the class, join the club, and pop it into Google. The more that you uncover about it, the better you can understand whether or not it could become your occupation. If you don’t end up liking it, so what? You learned something new, and you can cross it off the list of possibilities.

The earlier you can start, the better. As I mentioned before, junior year is tremendously overwhelming. Between academic and social responsibilities, free time is not frequent. Quite commonly, juniors refer to free time as “sleep”. Personally, I’d have to agree. My responsibilities in school include Student School Board Representative, Student Producer for the musical, Publicitor of French Honor Society, Student Council, National Honor Society, Best Buddies, Dance for Lives, French Club, Theatre Club, Student Life Committee, Food Committee, and probably something else that I honest to god cannot remember. On top of that, I take three AP courses, a level three language, calculus, and more. I don’t even have time for a lunch period. If I went on to tell you about my part time job, internship, competition dance team, and service work, you would probably stop reading, (if you haven’t already). “How do you have a social life?” This is a question I’m asked quite frequently by faces painted by expressions of horror. Somehow, against all odds, I still do. I juggle my time between a boyfriend, best friends, and even friendly acquaintances, but it is not easy. Yes, my case may be a little extreme. However, most juniors are at least half, if not nearly, as busy as I am. Crippling stress and mental breakdowns over tests, (literally, just tests), are not uncommon. So before it gets to that, all I can tell you is to use your time wisely. If you’re breezing through freshman and sophomore year, then devote your extra time to really going out into the world and experimenting with your interests. Let them pull you in all sorts of different directions and just see where they take you. Who knows, you might end up with a part time job or internship that guides you to exactly what you’ve been looking for. Look at my path to playwriting: it wasn’t a direct shot. Actually, I hope to pursue screenwriting, which is in a completely different business that I’ve yet to delve into. Upon my entrance to high school, I thought I wanted to be an architect, so I took the residential architecture class and started watching House Hunters. I soon realized that I was gravely mistaken. Then, I wanted to become an English teacher. This was a bit more on cue, but then again I realized that working in a school wouldn’t be a great setting for me. Bingo: writer. Cue further exploration, cue taking classes, yada yada yada… two years later and three of my pieces have been published in a professional literary magazine, as well as one in a book, and a chapter on the way. Testing out your interests is truly the only way to discover your passions, so don’t waste the time you have now just waiting for them to come. After all, you may not get the chance, (or time), again.

A Life Diet for the New Year

fullsizerenderGoing into the New Year, we’ll all be making resolutions of our own. Some will stick with them, and some will drop them by the end of 2017’s first week. Most of those who give up are the infamous dieters. Whether it be Weight Watcher’s, Veganism, whole-foods-only, or even the all powerful and evil lemon and cayenne pepper water cleanse, diets tend to be unsuccessful because they are just too harsh. If your nutrition is in check, but you’re still looking for the perfect New Year’s resolution, try taking a diet from life.

In Ms. March’s new book, The Project of You: Beyond High School, she discusses the similarities of meal planning and life planning in a thought-provoking chapter titled “Do You Like Green Eggs and Ham?” The following is an excerpt from such.

There are foods:

  • you love and you know that because you have tried them.
  • you don’t enjoy eating but you would likely eat them if they were the only things being served.
  • you hate and may not eat even if you are hungry.
  • you are allergic to and they are dangerous for you to eat.
  • you like but they don’t make you feel well. .
  • you have read about and always wanted to try.

Ms. March highlights “trying new foods” as an opportunity to further understand yourself and increase the variety in your life. Beyond high school, there are countless options of careers that you have to choose from. Looking into a new career field is as simple as trying new foods; you just have to be willing to take the first leap. Once you make the decision to consider the options that you usually set aside, you have opened yourself up to something that you may come to love. If this “new food” just isn’t fitting your taste, that’s all right, too! You can at least make some progress by crossing it off of your list of potential choices.

In the same case, it is also very important to understand what “foods” don’t work for you. In this New Year’s life diet, try cutting out everything that simply doesn’t strike a cord with your taste buds. With the given examples having to do with food, that would be bullet points 2-5.

If an aspect of your life does not bring you happiness, there is no point in keeping it around. However, immediately eliminating every “bad food” from your life diet would be too sudden of a change to adjust healthily to. Think back to those extreme diets that fail within the first week, there is no smooth transition, but rather an abrupt attempt at transformation that is doomed to fail. Gradually remove the “foods” in your life that you don’t have a particular liking for, starting with the least offensive ones and working your way up to those god-awful brussel sprouts.

Over time, you will create a new and improved version of your life that better accommodates your happiness- all because you made active decisions to let go of the negative. Now that sounds like a diet I could keep up with.

-Olivia Hunt

Wishing You the Gift of Feeling “Forever Young” This Holiday Season!

This is a photo from a family Christmas a few years ago, my 3 amazing children are now Happy, Healthy, Self-Supporting adults.  I miss those days but love our new relationships and conversations.  They are all grown up but I hope they still feel Forever Young.

Some of you may be fortunate enough to be surrounded by the unbridled and positive energy of young children this season. If that is the case, I hope it’s contagious. If not, try to recall that feeling of excitement and anticipation from your childhood. Most young children are open to all possibilities; they don’t worry about the outcome.

It’s easy to get caught up in the rush and potential stress of the shopping, cooking, decoration, and social obligations. But take a deep breath and relax and enjoy each little moment, connection, and conversation this holiday season. Be open and excited for any possibilities put before you,  without thinking about the outcome.

As my book coach shared last week:   “Small conversations can lead to big things.”

And as you all know change is an unavoidable constant. And small conversations can lead to big change. You never know what re-connecting to your inner child and re-connecting to friends and family members can bring for you.

While we all go through life trying to find Our Dharma: That which we must do”, and it often finds us if we stay open.

Bob Dylan never thought when he wrote his many hit songs, that one day he would receive a Nobel Prize for literature but he wasn’t focused on the outcome.  In his acceptance speech he wrote: “If someone had ever told me that I had the slightest chance of winning the Nobel prize, I would have to think that I’d have about the same odds as standing on the moon,”.

While Dylan’s “Forever Young” is not a typical Christmas song, this lyric is what I wish for you this Holiday Season!

May your heart always be joyful

May your song always be sung

And may you stay

Forever young

Listen to Dylan’s Forever Young:

And ENJOY every moment without considering the outcome !