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New Meanings to “Never Forget” 9/11 for Younger Generations…and Me

9-11 WTC Memorial

9/11 impacted me more this year than last, thanks to my students.

You might think that 18 years later the impact of an event like 9/11 would fade. Actually, I realized in reflection this year that the trajectory of my life shifted significantly because of that day.

As I was planning this semester’s coursework and assignments, I saw that I had class on 9/11, and I didn’t think much about it. Even the weekend before when I saw that 9/11 was Wednesday, I made what seemed like an insignificant mental note and refocused on my to-do list.

On most days my to-do list feels like a bunch of obligations I feel compelled to take care of, and the sense of responsibility outweighs pride and joy I might otherwise take in my to-dos.

Class starts with 10-15 minutes of a mindfulness and/or self-awareness journaling exercise. When I lined up each exercise with each class during the summer, I was mostly thinking of progression and pairing with class topics.

On my way to class that morning the DJs on the radio were recalling where they were when they heard the news. The female DJ shared that her mom woke her up that morning and told her to turn on the news. She was annoyed. But once she realized the severity of the situation, she felt awful for being annoyed by her mom calling.

She was in college at the time and went to class, because she didn’t know what else to do. She tried carrying on as though things were normal, but they were not. The professor told her to go home, call her mom. Then another student showed up and she told that student to do the same thing. “No one knows what to do right now.”

I had thought that I would let the day slide by without mentioning it, until I was on my way to class listening to the DJs recall their thoughts and emotions, forcing me to recall mine.

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No one knew what this meant, if we would ever feel safe again, or if we were just watching the beginning of the end of life as we know it. We knew that civilians and first responders were dying in scary and awful ways.

Many of us thought about people we knew living or working in New York City, or those we knew were supposed to fly somewhere that day. My brother was flying to the west coast that day. I was frantic until I heard from him that his flight was grounded in Pittsburgh. I was at work.

I was a young professional, finally having found my path in recruiting, eager to get to the next level and interface with client and candidates. It was taking too long. I was starting to get bored. I was wishing for change, and asking for change, but I wasn’t doing much more about it, like looking for a different job.

I loved my boss and the other women in my office. I was sure I would eventually learn new skills from them if I stuck it out, but I was more excited by my lunch break run than by the work I was doing.

Then one seemingly average, beautiful day, a call came in. It was the managing director’s parents. I heard her voice sounding shocked. My first thought was that something terrible had happened to one of her parents, but then she came in shaking with tears in her eyes and told us that a plane just crashed into the World Trade Center, and they think it was on purpose.

I can hardly remember what happened next. I know that we had dropped everything to search for news online. I might have found a live stream. The managing director went out to buy a TV to bring it into the office.

I had been working on a call list of management consultants in the DC area at that moment. There was no chance I would be reaching anyone now.

I know I called my brother. I called my mom, dad, and boyfriend.

Another plane hit. We knew for certain now it was a terroristic attack. Fear and shock left us bewildered.

What do we do? What can we do?

By 11 AM we were told that we could go home if we wanted. I didn’t want to be alone. I didn’t want to take my run in a national park. Who knew what kind of targets they had. Eventually, I went home and tried to process what was going on.

Returning to work felt strange. I had called candidates who were working on the exact floors where one plane hit. How could work ever seem important again for me or them?

There was a universal sentiment – what we thought was important may not be that important.Everyone thought twice about what they were doing with their time. Everyone assessed what was really most important in their lives.

Armed Forces enrollment spiked, as did people quitting their jobs, even in the midst of impending economical impacts of which we could not yet predict the severity.

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By the time I got to campus, I was in tears struggling to compose myself. I thought for sure that I should make mention to my students of such a significant day in our country’s history, but also wondered how I could keep from ugly crying, which I felt like doing at the time.

As class begun, I assessed my composure and decided I would introduce that day’s journal exercise by talking about 9-11, and it wasn’t until I spoke that the synchronicity of the events, to me being there with them in that moment, and what I was dedicating my career to doing, and the journal entry clicked. And the tears came, but I didn’t fight them.

This particular day I challenged the students to think about Brules that they were following – BS rules made up by someone else about how to be successful and happy that aren’t authentic or in alignment with what would really make them successful and happy.

I told them how a good percentage of my clients come to me after or in the middle of successful careers because something is missing – some joy, some impact, some contribution that hasn’t made the time that they spent building their career as meaningful as they thought it was at one time. I urged them to make sure they were defining their own happiness and success. What they were learning would help them make sure that at any point in the future they can reinvent themselves and their definition of success.

These students were just kids when 9/11 happened. Some of them may have no memory of it because they were too small, and the older ones probably weren’t old enough to be told the truth of what had happened. Surely, at some point as they got older, they learned about these events from a 3rd party observational perspective.

Today, though, I wanted them to tune into that universal sentiment – If it all, life as we know it, our financial model, our sense of safety and responsibility, changed today, what would really be important for you to do with your time? What beliefs that you adopted from others could you let go of now and replace with what serves you and your own definitions of success and happiness?

My mission of making work a worthwhile way to spend time away from what’s really important was solidified by 9/11 the day and the aftermath – the recession, my layoff, my struggle to land meaningful work again, my realization that I no longer wanted to reject candidates, I wanted to help them.

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Fast-forward four years…

I was only 27 when I started Epic Careering. Credibility was something I had to fight to establish, but I knew that I didn’t want to waste another year making a handful of placements while hundreds to thousands of candidates stayed stuck and disempowered.

I knew that, like my parents, there were working parents everywhere coming home exhausted, overworked, and stressed out, wanting to have the energy to engage at home, but needing to disengage just to recover.

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Even the best work is going to present challenges. Innovation and progress can’t happen without those challenges. However, if people are going to spend their time away from their families and loved ones, at least that time can be meaningful, fulfilling, and well compensated.

If 9/11 hadn’t happened, I would probably not have been laid off, and I may not have had the personal experience of long-term unemployment that made me understand and help people through the emotions of that experience. In fact, I may continued to go through the motions of a job I was growing bored of, waiting for a chance to learn and do something more.

And if it hadn’t happened:

  • Would I still feel called to this mission?
  • Would I have gained such insights about what great talent craves if I had not gotten to know them as clients, only candidates?
  • Would I be consulting to companies on how to be better employers for sustainable, conscious growth?
  • Would I be teaching emerging students how to navigate the job market and become conscious leaders?
  • Would I volunteer my time to nurturing young entrepreneurs in an effort to spark future economic growth and innovation?

Likely not.

My to-do lists are mostly things that I GET to do in support of my mission. I am seeing that now more clearly, and I am grateful that my time, my energy, and my efforts are making a difference that is meaningful to me and others.

Coincidentally, my students were awesome at sharing their realizations. They went deep. They brought their emotions to the surface, and learned that this was okay.

I hope for them now 9/11, a day when too many tragically died, has birthed new vision of how they can apply what they are learning in college to craft careers that make the world a better place and work a better way to spend their time.

This blog is dedicated to my students, Cabrini COM Cavaliers, social justice warriors!

 

Van Halen – Right Now HD.flv

one of the best videos eveR……..wud remain true for any decade i guess

 

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

Top 5 Secret Weapons in Mission-driven Careering

How this mining thing stays in the side of the mountain is beyond me.

How this mining thing stays in the side of the mountain is beyond me.

“You may be right. I may be crazy. But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for.”

~ Billy Joel

 

The fall is coming, and that means that my freedom will soon be limited. Soon my husband’s busy work season and his swim season will start simultaneously, leaving me once again to feel like a single work-at-home mom of two spunky toddlers. While most parents enjoy the freedom that they gain when their kids return to school, I will be readjusting, adapting and experimenting with new regimens that enable me to fulfill my personal and professional missions while enjoying some sanity with my new time restrictions.

My missions?

#1 – Watch my kids grow up.  Be there while they are little. Witness all of their “firsts.” Be the one that raises them.

#2 – Revolutionize job seeking into Epic Careering.  Empower one million people to discover, pursue and promote their passions and achieve their ideal quality of life.

#3 – Reduce the time and distance between talent and the companies that need it. Optimize productivity for organizations in the process, so that they can expand and create even more jobs – 1 million of them, as a goal.

#4 – I guess I also want a clean, orderly house and office, but I’ll settle for sanitary at a minimum.

 

This is pretty crazy, right? It’s certainly unreasonable to think that I could have it all.  Well, you can call me unreasonable. I’ve been called many things – tenacious, an idealist, a dreamer. You’re all right! I do believe that I can have it all. It requires a lot of expansion (which is code for inner conflict.) But know that if I’m asking you to take a leap of faith in your dreams and fill crevices of time with activities and resources that move you toward that, I am damn sure going to be doing it myself.

What may surprise you are my secret weapons for achieving all of this.

  1. Meetup.com
  2. Brain training
  3. Overdrive media console
  4. Social media
  5. My team

I have referred before to brain training, and I can tell you that meditation and hypnotherapy are also part of my regular routine. I will share more about these in a future blog.

This week, to take full advantage of the time that I have, I filled up my evenings with activities, events, and opportunities for learning and networking. Want to know what that looks like?

Here’s a peak:

 

Monday –

My client call in the evening was postponed, so I spent time reaching out to other thought leaders on social media, such as LinkedIn and Twitter. Simultaneously, I listened to an e-book on Overdrive Media Console that I downloaded from my local library – The Most Successful Small Business in the World, by Michael Gerber (author of the e-Myth.) I am learning how to multiply my business by 10,000 to achieve mission #2.  I also listened to this while driving to and from events and preparing meals.

 

Tuesday –

I had a mommy meetup at 6, and met two other work-at-home moms. I thought everyone in the meetup worked a 9-5, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that we could trade sentiments and tips about working from home and addressing some usual toddler behavior. My girls and I made a couple new friends. Then at 8 I attended a webinar on “Accelerated Goal Achievement” by John Assaraf (brain training) while getting my kids to bed. Even while my neighbor stopped by for some goodnight hugs from my girls, I learned how to confront the fears that stand to hold me back in missions #2 and #3. Then I worked on a cover letter for a friend and client who believes that this one particular company is the place that he can achieve Epic Careering.  Send him your most positive thoughts for a prompt, enthusiastic reply.

 

Wednesday –

I attended a webinar while playing with my niece and nephew and daughters in the pool, “Profiting from the Positive,” sponsored by Peoplefluent. I learned about this from a LinkedIn HR group. It was probably more appropriate for those in a larger corporate environment, but I got some great insight on how I can use positive psychology to provide my intern with the most beneficial feedback to conclude her summer internship and how I can elicit optimized performance from my clients as well. I finished that cover letter, updated a résumé, and flew home to get dressed for a meetup. Though I was late, I wouldn’t miss Gloria Bell speak at AWeber on “Building Business One Story at a Time.” I may have found the speaker I was seeking for my social media sub-group (hopefully, if Gloria is interested – fingers crossed) and I became aware of a greater opportunity in my social media outreach to connect with my audience in a more profound and powerful way.  Too, boot, I caught up with one contact I knew from another networking group, DIG. I learned so much more about what he does for small businesses. I may just have some leads for him. I also met another gentleman who shares my passion for non-toxic home products. If we hadn’t stayed late to chat, I might have only learned about his association with a bakery I used to live near and frequent (pre-gluten-free days.)

 

Tonight, though I would love it if I could meet with my client and attend the DIG monthly meeting, I can only meet with my new client, but I am so grateful to be able to do so.

I left a lot of my daytime activities out because, well, you don’t have all day to read this. My intern did spend a day with me at home to see how it get’s done, as well as what sometimes doesn’t get done, like laundry and dishes. I thought it would give her some insight as to how time can be optimized and how some challenges (not all – I mean they are kids who have accidents and make messes) to time management can be overcome.

You don’t have to be a lunatic like me. Your missions may be much more reasonable. Still, my secret weapons can do just as much for you, so take a little time to define your missions (if you haven’t already) and explore how my secret weapons can help you.

Teaching people the tidbits, nuggets and diamonds of wisdom that I gather through these resources and activities is what drives the services and products that we offer.  I am always looking for ways to be valuable to you, and I hope you know that you can let me know if there is something that we can do additionally.

 

What are your secret weapons?

 

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”

~ Henry Ford

Ahh. The end of the world as we know it.

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Over the past few years I have been doing some “light” reading on quantum physics in my “spare time.” I say it was light reading sarcastically; the content was so technical that I often had to re-read the same sentence several times to absorb its meaning. It was my “spare time” because I could rarely capture moments of silence to focus on these incredibly mind-flipping concepts. It took me a whole year to read one book (The Field by Lynn McTaggart.) It was substantiation that I needed, however.

When I first started Charésumé, The Secret was making its rounds in some of the circles in which I was networking. I didn’t read The Secret, but I did watch the video. I wanted to believe in the Law of Attraction (that which we focus on, we attract) because it meant that I had the power to create my circumstances and that I could create circumstances that led to success. At the same time, I didn’t want to believe in the Law of Attraction because it meant that my current circumstances, which were not very conducive to the success that I sought, were my creation as well. In the end, I wasn’t going to believe anything that had little scientific basis, so the books I read chronicled the progress of quantum physics studies and their implications on the universe and its laws. I found that some of the concepts in The Secret were supported by science.

So while I did have to confront that some of the unfavorable conditions in my life were my own doing, I also had to be proud of what I had accomplished knowing that it was more than luck. And, if I could figure out how to continually recreate the conditions that led to my successes, I might just reach all of my goals. I thought to myself, if I can just train myself to calibrate my energy, how easy it would be to make the impact and contribution that I’m driven to make with all of the collaboration and resources of an abundant universe.

In the past couple years I had been gaining a new understanding of reality while hype around the end of the Mayan calendar, prophesies of Nostradamus, and Harold Camping’s rapture predictions continued to build. It led me to wonder – if there was an end coming, maybe it was the end of thinking of ourselves as separate physical entities and the beginning of worldwide acceptance of our true energy nature. Furthermore, if the whole world understands the implications of their energy, then we can intentionally and naturally align ourselves with like-minded individuals who will give and receive generously to make things happen.

If this were the worldwide approach to success, everyone would approach careers from a starting point of passion and contribution. Adopting this paradigm requires that you have faith that the universe will furnish for you what you desire and what you need to fulfill on your missions, not just what you need to live.

The more I immerse myself in this new (to me) idea of reality, the more I meet people who have studied the same. Some of them have invested tens of thousands of dollars on their education, and they are realizing amazing results in their lives and careers. The old me might have met these people and believed that I was not on the same level, that I was unworthy of the kind of success that they have achieved, or that this level of success was for other people, not for me. Now, however, my recent breakthrough has allowed me to receive these people as kindred mentors and see myself as someone who can add value to them as well. Already (since mid-December) I have been approached for 2 jobs (I am not looking), was introduced to a powerful potential speaking partner, inspired 3 great talents to join my Board of Advisors for my mobile app, and managed to save money for the first time since I had kids. I’m learning new investment strategies and preparing the infrastructure of my life to support wealth, in anticipation of great wealth. I am asking new questions and getting new answers.

This is not the start of my journey, but I know it is a turning point. I am so grateful that you are reading this and that you are experiencing my journey with me. I would love to hear about your journeys. I hope you know me as someone who would jump at the chance to be of assistance to you. If I have wisdom, resources, or connections that will move you forward in an authentic direction, I am happy to offer it. I believe that this moment in time could be the end of the world as we know it, and what a wonderful world it could be if we change our approach to intention, vocation and collaboration.

Picture it. What would you give, do, have if you knew that money would always be there?

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