Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dueling Hormones

By E

If you’re in your 40’s or 50’s and you have kids in the house, you’re probably familiar with what I like to call “dueling hormones.”

This is that ever-so-special time when mom is going through perimenopause and menopause, and her kids are going through puberty and high school, all under the same roof.

With all these hormonal fluctuations happening at once, things can get more than a little hectic!

This hormonal roundup can be tough on everyone involved, and I’ve heard more than a few stories that break my heart. From children going to stay with friends because neither child nor parent knew how to resolve the issues, to separation and divorce.

If any of this sounds familiar, let me assure you: You are not alone!

Fortunately, amidst the chaos, there is a real opportunity to take these challenges and turn them into a time of growth and connection. Often the anger or outbreaks that come with hormonal fluctuations on both sides are really just an overflow or projection of the same anger and frustration that we might harbor against ourselves. Working on yourself and your own personal growth, knowing your body and being prepared for perimenopause and menopause, will help ease the super-tense dynamics that can develop with the people closest to you.

One of the most difficult features of puberty for a parent to deal with is the communication shut down. Many kids just stop talking. They don’t want to hear anything from you and they don’t want you to hear anything from them! Your teenager is trying to find his or her own independence and confidence in their own decision-making, so this kind of push away is common and normal at this age. However, when you’re going through perimenopause and menopause, and you’re already feeling emotionally shaky yourself, it can be hard not to take this radio silence personally.

When communication shuts down completely, everyone suffers. So it is important to keep talking. Let them know that you still love them—that you are here for them if they need you and that you care, all the while respecting their journey towards independence. The best way to begin this process is to remind yourself that it isn’t about you. Try not to personalize their silence and their outbreaks. Remind yourself that just as you are going through your own hormonal roller coaster and life-changing experience, so are your kids.

You’re the parent, so you can be the first to give. Share your own challenges openly so they know what you’re going through, and you can give them an opportunity to relate to you, even if they don’t want to show it. Chances are your teen may be experiencing sleepless nights and mood swings just like you.

You may look at your teen and think an alien has swooped down and taken over your dear sweet child, but remember, they may be looking at you with the same thoughts! Of course, every circumstance is different, and it may take some tweaking to customize this loving approach to fit your own unique family structure, but the more we educate and empower our loved ones and ourselves, the happier and more compassionate the whole household will be. Ignore those rolling eyes, make eye contact and talk it out! You, too, can find hormone happiness in your house!

"E" is the pen name of Ellen Sarver Dolgen, author of Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness, a light-hearted, informative, easy-to-read book on menopause, and creator of, a resource treasure trove for women going through perimenopause and menopause.

Members of the Fresh Start Community, be sure to check out your Special Offers page to get your copy of E's fun-loving Shmirshky book. Not a member yet? Become one by visiting

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Career Reinvention: How to Change Roles, Industries or Professional Goals

By Sherri Thomas

There are times in everyone’s career that you feel like running away and starting all over again, and I’m here to say that you can do it!

I’ve reinvented my career four times, including being a disc jockey in radio, community relations director in television, regional marketing manager in a Fortune 100 finance company and a global technical program manager in a Fortune 100 high tech company.

If you’d like to change careers but worry that your salary would decrease, take comfort in knowing that each time I changed careers I received a pay increase!

Reinventing your career means repackaging your skills, qualifications and successes so that you can transition into a new job role, company or industry.

Here are four steps to help you transition into a new career more quickly, easily and maybe even with a higher salary!

1.What are your transferable skills?

These are skills that transition from industry to industry or from job role to job role. Examples include: managing projects, teams, clients or budgets, as well as negotiating contracts, or proposing and implementing ideas that generate money, save money or help the company be more competitive.

Other transferable skills include personal characteristics, such as demonstrating leadership or risk taking, training or mentoring team members, being goal driven, results oriented, a problem solver, or having the ability to influence senior managers. These are great skills to have, and they transfer from industry to industry. All kinds of industries and companies value employees with these types of skills and characteristics.

2. Match your transferable skills to job roles.

Read job descriptions posted on, and, as well as the classified ads in industry magazines, business publications and company websites. If you want to work for a specific company, check out their website’s online job postings. Learn the skills and qualifications required for various job roles.

Match your transferable skills to those jobs you want to go after. If there’s a gap between the required skills and the skills that you currently have, then look for ways to gain that experience. You can do this by taking on an extended assignment in your current job, or if you’re in between jobs then try freelancing, consulting or volunteering.

Also, attend industry conferences, trade shows, business networking events and association meetings. Talk to people who work in the industry to learn about their career path, key skills and advice on how to break into the business.

3. Blow up your resume.

The first thing I always did before I transitioned into a new career was blow up my resume. Trying to piece together a resume that highlighted the skills I used to get my last job with the skills I need to land my next job is like trying to weld together Lexus parts on a BMW. It doesn’t work. You need a brand-new resume.

Showcase only those jobs, responsibilities and successes that relate to the job you want. The hiring manager doesn’t care about every job you’ve ever had. They just want to know, Can you do their job? You may also want to get a professional resume critique to help you customize your resume and identify your transferable skills.

4. Attitude is the key ingredient!

I’ve found that getting a new job really boils down to two things: confidence and passion. I’ve never walked into an interview having met all of the job requirements. In fact, for the television interview, I lacked the two biggest requirements, which were a minimum of two years experience in television and a reel to show my TV work.

To compensate, I focused on my transferable skills, which were being highly creative and a solid copywriter. That got my foot in the door for the interview. But to get the job offer and beat out the other four job candidates, I was passionate about the company and the job! I also told the hiring manager that I absolutely knew that I could do the job!

There’s a kind of quiet confidence that we all have down deep inside. A confidence that comes from knowing what we’re capable of doing. When you transition into a new job role or a new company, you need to show the hiring manager that you have confidence in yourself and know that you’ll be successful in the job. When it comes to reinventing your career, it’s not just your talent but your attitude that counts!

Sherri Thomas is founder of Career Coaching 360, an international speaker and author of "Career Smart: 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand" on Amazon’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books. Career Coaching 360 provides career planning, management coaching and leadership development to help professionals change careers quickly and easily. Connect with Sherri at and on her website, where you can also grab a free Career Analysis Package.

Become a member of the Fresh Start Community of women

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Financial Planning Fundamentals

By Renée A. Hanson

If you’re interested in working with a financial advisor to develop a financial strategy, you may be wondering what the process involves.

Typically, good financial planning includes the following steps:

1. Goal setting. Your financial advisor will ask you questions to help you identify your financial needs and dreams for the future. For example:

  • When you envision your future, what’s next for you?
  • Where do you see yourself living?
  • What lifestyle goals are important to you?
  • Do you want to help provide for your children’s education?
  • How do you envision your retirement?
  • Do you want help to reduce the effect of taxes on your assets?
2. Fact-finding. After identifying your goals, you’ll need to assess your current financial situation. This involves gathering financial documents and account statements to determine where you stand. Your financial advisor can help you sift through this information to create a clear picture of where you stand.

3. Plan creation. After reviewing your financial documents, your financial advisor will work with you to establish a course of action to help you get from where you are to where you want to go. Your financial strategy may cover some or all of the following information, depending on your situation:

  • Your needs, goals and values
  • Current assets and liabilities
  • Investment portfolio recommendations
  • Retirement plan
  • Insurance audit and needs analysis
  • Estate planning analysis
  • Product recommendations and action items
4. Strategy implementation. After reviewing your strategy and consulting with your financial, tax and legal professionals on any necessary details, you’ll work with your financial advisor to implement it. This may include:

  • Establishing a regular savings program
  • Adjusting insurance coverage to meet current needs
  • Purchasing appropriate investment products
  • Repositioning assets
  • Setting up tax-efficient ways to transfer wealth

5. Regular reviews. After implementing your strategy, you should plan to meet regularly with your financial advisor to review your portfolio and ensure that it is up to date. Also, be sure to contact your financial advisor when you experience a life-changing event, such as a marriage, birth, death, disability or divorce, to ensure that your strategy and beneficiary designations are updated to reflect your wishes.

Renée A. Hanson, CFP®, CEP®, CDFA™, CFS, is a private wealth advisor with Hanson, Ayala & Associates, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Her passion is in helping women achieve their dreams and financial goals, regardless of life’s many obstacles. Renée is licensed/registered to do business with U.S. residents only in the states of AZ, CA, CO, GA, IA, IL, MI, MN, MT, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, PA, SC, TX, VA, WA, WI. Please visit: to learn more.

Become a member of the Fresh Start Community of women today: