Apr 10

Career Uncertainty (Certainty) in Today’s Climate

finding career passionDisclaimer: This is not a political article. It is an article of hope and clarity.

How many times have you heard stories about folks who thrive during the darkest times in our history – 2008 economic crash perhaps comes to mind. There were companies and individuals who lost their shirts. Then there were individuals and companies who not only survived the “crash”, but went on to take the world by storm. What made the difference?

Today, many of us are asking these questions. And, what will always prevail is that we are in charge of our own lives. The thoughts we think, our past beliefs, our current behavior and actions will “dictate” what happens next for us and for those around us. If we lose our focus, we bring all the repercussions along for the ride. It starts within.

By now the “blame game” has become commonplace. We spend inordinate amounts of time expressing our views (me included) on social media in outrage and frustration or simply to distract ourselves from the truth of what is going on in the world. But when you consider 1) the time spent, and 2) the outcome, would it simply make more sense to invest in a journal or a notebook and extract those feelings daily, leaving the world to sort out its differences?

Creating a Career We Love – Regardless of the “Climate”

Despite what you or anyone around you says or thinks, it is more important than ever to pull back and self-reflect to thrive in today’s career/work environment. There are opportunities for you to love what you do no matter what the political or social climate. Grab a piece of paper and write down your thoughts on the following questions.

  1. Does my work environment, including the people around me decrease my stress and/or bring me joy?
  2. Do you enjoy your work despite today’s climate.
  3. Does your work provide a respite to get away from it all?
  4. Do the tasks you perform each day give you pleasure/joy/satisfaction?
  5. Do you worry about how the current political climate will impact your job/career?
  6. Have you been considering a career change, but fear that doing so will jeopardize your family or your personal stability as a result of the current political climate?

finding career passionThe old adage, help yourself first before you try and help others is perfect to revisit. And, with ADD, it is easy enough for us to get off-track and distracted when it comes to taking care of our personal career goals or to even claim them. Stay focus, get clear, take care of numero uno first. By doing so, you will serve all.

For more information about how Shell can help you stay focused on your career and thrive, email shell.mendelson@gmail.com or go to www.shellmendelson.com/ and complete the pop up info. Let’s discuss your answers to these questions. I look forward to serving you.

Jul 05

How to Love Your Means-to-an-End Job

gratitude rocks, stories of gratitudeIn my twenties I worked for a large corporation in San Francisco as a legal secretary. Imagine, if you will, an off-the-chart, inattentive ADDer doing this job in the first place. This is a job that requires organizational skills, minimal ego, ability to take direction with a smile, learn new processes and technology, whether I liked them or not.

This profile that never suited me in any way, yet it supported me through college and graduate school, for which now I am extremely grateful.

In an effort to keep me on board, the company shuffled me around the legal department to various attorneys to see who I might show the most promise with. I ended up with a attorney who was three years my senior.

In the morning she plunked down several personal tasks for me to do like writing letters to her friends, paying her bills and basically anything but the work I thought I was hired to do. Little did I know that these tasks were commonly performed by secretaries.

Rather than just roll with it, I adopted an adversarial attitude and refused to be her personal assistant. In reality it really didn’t matter whether or not I did her personal work. I still received a paycheck. But this was the last straw for the company.

What mattered was that I had a job in a nice company that paid well, and I could actually avoid doing the legal secretarial work I abhorred doing in the first place, if only for a little while.

I was, instead, indignant, arrogant, distrusting, feeling put upon, taken advantage of, incredibly bored and plain angry. Who did she think she was anyway? I was not was much of a team player in those days.

Even though she WAS the boss, I acted as if she were not. I simply refused to acknowledge that I was given a job to do and was expected to do whatever the job entailed.

Of course, I WAS in the wrong job. My goal after graduating from college and completing my Secondary Credential program was to become a teacher. I was suppose to change lives! Yet, jobs were scarce for teachers. Still, I thought I was too good for this stuff.

Bottom line – I was fired! Again.

I had good friends who worked there, the company was very generous in a way that you rarely see today, and it was a comfortable place to hang on the way to figuring out how I was going to get to be the professional I so longed to be. But I was determined to start the ADD isolation process early in my career.

Let me tell you, I scored no points on any count. Had I displayed one ounce of maturity and simply took the attitude of doing the best I could no matter what I was doing, there is no doubt in my mind today that my generosity of spirit would have been rewarded. At the very least, I could have taken pride in a job well done. Maturity rules!

Many of us ADDers tend to cut off our noses to spite our face when it would take just a minute or two to breathe and make another choice.

It would have also helped my diminishing self-confidence. I was just one angry employee.

I repeated this scenario until I was 29 years old when I finally got into my Master’s program and started heading down the path of career fulfillment. It was a LONG road.

In hindsight, it was really not necessary to go through what I went through.

If you are currently in a job that you do not feel measures up to either your expectations of how you think you should be doing, or is a step along the way to doing what you love, I say MAKE THE MOST OF IT. Here is what I only dream I had done at the time:

  1. Adopt an attitude of gratitude.
  2. Be determined to do the very best work you can do, no matter how much you are not loving it.
  3. Ask co-workers if you can help them if you have time on your hands.
  4. Smile more, encourage your co-workers.
  5. Act as if you love it – OK, just try it for a day and see what happens.
  6. Get coached to change directions – but don’t forget the folks (jobs) that helped you develop lifelong skills (physical, emotional and spiritual) along the way.
  7. Think of your “job” as a living in the present meditation.
  8. Always think about the tasks you enjoy doing and try to do more of them.
  9. Remember always that You Are the Boss of You.

Remember the road to career happiness often hurls us in a number of directions before we eventually recognize the path we are meant to take. Being on that path makes the “means to an end” so much more palatable. Learn more about how you can get coached today to change directions or do more of what you love in the work you are already doing. Schedule your Complimentary 30-60 minute Career Strategy session with Shell and take away a rush of cool ideas you can apply today.

Apr 28

Why I Love to Lose A Client

Shell Mendelson photoBefore you read this, you might be wondering what the heck I mean by why I love losing clients.

There is a caveat – and a big one. Let me explain.

There are certain kinds of clients that I love to work with – those that are unconditionally Ready to receive a specific type of support, and are Ready to take action on coaching.

I am in awe of the thoughtful client. The one who has really taken the time to consider what it means to dive into a process and see it through. But I also love the clueless but ready client!

With ADD, we are often seeking the quick fix. Maybe your eyes are rolling thinking there is no way you would have the patience for a “process” of any kind. Just give me the goods…right? Make it so!

What if I told you that some processes are fun and actually make you want to dive in even more? Our ADD characteristics are really unique to us … and they are different for everyone. The right process/system makes it fun and exciting … more than a journey – a real trip!

So you can imagine that when a client walks into my practice, and they are ready to dive in, I am jumping for joy. This kind of commitment is definitely not for everyone. I use the word commitment, but I really see it as a necessity when the person is suffering in a very bad work situation….or feels that the path to finding anything that looks remotely possible has deadended.

I often wonder how many other part of their lives have taken a nose-dive.

But I digress.

The adventure begins when the client says Yes. Hope springs eternal. They learn the “system” and begin to reap the benefits of now seeing real possibilities. The most important part is that they are not alone. They have a trusted guide, coach and devoted mentor in this process (yours truly, of course).

Soon, they learn the “backdoor” (let’s call it the secret door) approach to seeing what is possible. They are engaging with folks they could only have dreamed of meeting. They are connecting the dots.

Then the magic begins.

Out of seemingly nowhere a job offer, 4 job offers, an internship, a yes to a graduate program – the right one – appears.

It all matches perfectly with everything they have discovered about themselves and have grown to know and accept as their Truest Path.

Their confidence soars, the clouds part, followed by clarity and focus.

Talk about fireworks!

That is when I will either happily lose my client, or we will continue the journey to implementation along the path.

I love losing clients when this happens. And, yes, I love those testimonials, those rave reviews. Who am I kidding?

But for me, although it is sad to say Good Bye, it is also the best feeling ever. A feeling of real happiness in knowing that one more person is going to help someone else just be cause they love what they do, with or without ADD!

Lose clients? Love it!

Jul 14

You Are Not the Boss of Me … or Are You?

How to Shift the ‘Attitude” and Have More Fun In Your Job

In my twenties I worked for a big corporation as a legal secretary. Now imagine an off-the-chart ADDer doing this job in the first place.

Confrontational Woman's Imagem After being shuffled around the legal department to various attorneys who the company thought I could work with, I ended up with a woman attorney who was only three years my senior.

In the morning she had me do personal tasks like writing her friends’ letters, paying her bills and basically anything but the work I was hired to do.

Rather than just roll with it, I adopted an adversarial attitude and refused to be her personal assistant.   

Instead, I was indignant, arrogant, felt put upon, taken advantage of, bored and angry.  Who did she think she was anyway?  I was not a team player.

I simply refused to acknowledge that I was given a job to do and was expected to complete the tasks put before me.

Looking back, what mattered was that I had a job in a nice company that paid well.  In fact,I could actually avoid doing the legal secretarial work I abhorred in the first place with a different attitude.

Of course, I WAS in the wrong job.  With my BA and Teacher’s Certification, I was suppose to be a high school teacher. I was too good for this stuff.

I was fired…again.  

I had friends who worked there. The company was generous in a way that is rare today. It was a comfortable place to be on the way to figuring out what kind of professional I was going to be.  There were very few jobs for teachers in California.  So, I started the ADHD isolation process early in my career.

Had I displayed one ounce of maturity and shifted my attitude toward doing my best, there is no doubt my generosity of spirit would have been rewarded.  

With ADHD, we often cut off our noses to spite our face, resulting in diminished self confidence and anger.

I repeated this scenario until age 29 when I entered a Master’s program and started heading down the path of career fulfillment with a clear direction.  I was lucky. And, it was a LONG road.

If you are in a job that doesn’t measure up to your expectations, but is a means to an end, consider the rewards of making the most of it.  

Here are a few tips to feel fulfilled enough for now!

  1. Adopt an attitude of gratitude
  2. Be determined to do the very best work you can do, no matter how much you are not loving it
  3. If time permits, ask coworkers if you can help them.
  4. Smile and encourage your coworkers
  5. Act as if you love it for a day and see what happens
  6. Get coached to change career directions
  7. Think of your “job” as a living in the present meditation.
  8. Try to do more of the tasks you enjoy
  9. Reward yourself for a job well done
  10. Remember you do have choices.

The road to career happiness often hurls us in a number of directions before we eventually recognize the path we are meant to take.  Recognizing that path makes the “means to an end” job so much more palatable.


Jun 23

Life/Work Planning – Revisited or How the Pieces of My Life Fit Together to Create An Awesome Career

Puzzle piecesWhen I first trained with Richard Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute, back in 1991, I was introduced to the concept of Life/Work Planning.  

I put the term to rest many years ago.  Now I want to pull it back out of my mind closet, and talk about the piece that has been missing in my conversations about what I really do for a living.

Bolles trained us, unrelentingly, that when you talk about career and love what you do, you are also talking about things like “mindset”, marriage, being single, your kids, where you live, who you hang out with, what you like to learn, what you enjoy doing for fun, even what movies you like to see or books you like to read.  You can only imagine how this list goes on.

There is never one-size-fits-all.  He introduced me to a system of powerfully creating the life we are meant to live that has withstood the harshest test of time.  

For the past 40+ years, others have tried to recreate his system, some with great success and others with the feel of second-hand clothing.  In my own work, because I am so powerfully aligned with his principles, I have rarely strayed, but only expanded my own philosophy of working with clients, particularly with the ADHD community.

Here is the basis of Bolle’s Life/Work Planning model –

“Life/Work Planning is based upon this truth. In seminars, workshops, and individual guidance, Life/Work Planning says to even the most hopeless client: give me the part of you that can be worked on, and can be changed, and working together we will change it.”

Life/Work Planning is what truly helps us shift from victimhood, confusion and chaos in our lives to knowing how truly powerful we are.  Bolles also tells those of us career professionals who claim to use this process, that before we teach it to others, we need to go through it ourselves.  

Although I have done this at least twice, I suggest that we all ponder the following questions and see what is on the other side:

  • “What are the experiences I have had thus far in life, which most turned me on, and which I felt I did well?”
  • “What are the skills that I most enjoyed using, in those experiences?”
  • “If I had to put those skills in an order of preference, which is the skill I most enjoy using? And is it with data, or people, or things?”
  • “What are the fields of interest I most enjoy exploring – in magazines, books, seminars, workshops, and life?”
  • “If I could not do my present job any more, but I received ten million dollars and never had to work again, what would I spend my volunteer time doing?”
  • “If I had to visit different work settings, in order to learn more about them, which ones would I most like to visit?”
  • “How could I plan to have more leisure time, more time with my loved ones and friends, now, in this present time, without waiting for retirement?”
  • “What do I want to achieve before I die?

We have all been asked these questions in one form or another, or at least many of us have.  I propose that we answer them every six months.  Like the Myers-Briggs assessment I’ve taken and give over the years, my “Type” changes twice a year.  Which is why, like Bolles, I have never put much stock in assessments, not for the “findings” to really stick. 

Any significant shift in your answers may be life-changing.

Blessings to you!

The key to a happy and fulfilling future is knowing yourself. This self-knowledge is the most important component of finding the right career.” Richard N. Bolles

Message Stones


May 08

Effortless Workplace Management with ADHD

easy keyboard image, Traditional office workplace environments can pose quite the challenge for those of us who deal with ADHD. There’s a ton of stimuli being thrown at you at any given time, and it’s your responsibility to prioritize and maximize your workload efficiency. Sounds like a nightmare for someone who has problems maintaining concentration, right? Well, there are ways to stay on-task, without having to double-down on medications. Good habits are hard to stick-to, but with these tips, you can manage chaos into an efficient game plan.

Get Distracted

Yes, you read that correctly. The problem with the way we look at ADHD is that any deviation from our work is seen as blasphemous, you must fight your mind’s need to waver and stick to your work for x-amount of time. Well, this is a losing battle, and if you don’t take breaks, you will be using half of your energy fighting your brain to stay focused. On the same note: do not split your day up into equal amounts of breaks, rather small chunks in-between sessions of focused work. If aspects of work requires following social media, news, research, or messaging colleagues, divide those tasks up, too. Those elements can knock you off-rhythm and cause you to lose track of time.

Avoid Multi-tasking

Sometimes multi-tasking is unavoidable at work, but you shouldn’t do it out of boredom or as a way to speed up your day. Although, ADHD can sometimes make multi-tasking feel natural, hopping from one thing to another, it still isn’t worth the risk of making more mistakes. The brain just isn’t made to do two, or three, things simultaneously. You know how popular white-noise or classical music is at work? Well, this is just one example of drowning outside distractions, so that you can focus on what’s in front of you.

Big Thinking

There’s a reason why many successful businessmen and creative geniuses also happen to be diagnosed with ADHD: their brains are constantly coming up with new ideas and they have mastered the ability to quickly record them and turn them into reality. The average Joe may not have the same level of discipline or they just can’t afford to put their life on pause and start working on those ideas. With so much information being thrown at us, it is inevitable for those dealing with ADHD to have multiple “ah-ha!” moments during their day. The best way to strike a balance between working on too many projects at once, finishing none of them, and simply tossing them into the vault of ideas never realized is to just prioritize your thoughts. Write down the ones that you remember and try to make time for yourself to brainstorm in a quiet and productive environment, i.e. before or after you’re on the clock at work, when the office is still empty.

These are just a few basic ways to coach yourself to comfortably work with an overactive mind in the workplace. Try to be open with your boss or supervisors about how you are coping with work and what your quirks are, no matter how indifferent they may appear to be. If they are aware of your strengths and weaknesses, it might go a long way to start a conversation with them to help you become a more productive employee.

Is workplace management becoming unmanageable? Let’s chat.  Schedule a 30-45 minute no cost strategy call to discuss a few specific strategies. Schedule your time using the pop-up on the Contact form on the right.

May 08

Excel In Career and Life with ADHD

A Few Career Fields of Fascination that Can Be Magical To Us

Excel in Career and life with ADHD imageSome of our peers in the workplace may view ADD/ADHD as a curse, placing us at a disadvantage because we may not always methodically perform otherwise menial tasks.  Depending on the career path, though, some may say the opposite: that ADHD can be an advantage, or simply compliment our brain’s activity better than others.  Here are some examples of how this statement may hold some truth, and maybe inspire you, if you or someone you know is struggling to find peace with ADD/ADHD in the workplace.

Thirst for Knowledge

People with ADHD need freedom.  We don’t always work well in confined spaces and take a linear path in life.  We might find something interesting, and a proverbial light turns on in our mind and we instantly get excited, wanting more stimuli and more information about the focus of our interest.

This makes careers that involve discovery and research, like journalism, science, technology, and history very easy, in most cases, and can turn an overactive mind into a giant sponge that can do a day’s worth of work in mere hours.         Read the rest of this entry »

May 04

The Focus Blueprint – What’s Yours?

magnifying glass image, ADD and careerWhat is really important to Focus on these days?  Why is Focus critical to Our Purpose and Our Livelihoods?  Are we chasing so many shiny objects that we accomplish nothing or very little in the way of navigating new pathways, frontiers and connections that lead us to joyful, happy work that makes a real difference in the world?  Because, let’s face it.  If we haven’t reached that critical point in our personal development and spiritual evolution, there is really nowhere to go to but a J O B.  For many a J O B pays the bills and/or harbors the prospect of a raise of position and money, yet may have absolutely nothing to do with who we really are. Ultimately, our inner being is lost.

Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 25

Career Coaching for ADHDers v. Traditional Career Coaching

Why ADHD-Specific Career Coaching Is Vital 

career coachingWhile the value of career coaching is underestimated in our society, the need for it is vital to anyone who is not clearly focused on a direction that resonates with the heart.  That would be something like 70-80% of the world’s population, according to any statistic on the working population unhappy in their careers, businesses or jobs.

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Dec 16

Why ADHD Entrepreneurs Rock and Tips to Stay Focused

In a world of entrepreneurs launching products and services daily, there are certain characteristics that will separate those inspired to “take no prisoners,” and those who fall off the wagon before the wagon even begins to roll.

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