Communication Strategies – Are Your Work Boundaries Intact?  


  • Many of us spend the majority of our days at work. Often, work issues can bleed into our home life.
  • You’ve probably heard the phrase – ‘work-life balance’ – but how do you create a healthy balance for your personal and work life, when you have challenges at work?


  • Creating boundaries around your workplace is critical for a healthy work life and, therefore, also a healthy personal life. After all, they are intertwined!
  • When you respect your own personal boundaries, others typically will, as well. Although, it may take a while for others to be “trained” to recognize your new boundaries, overall it will be well worth it!
  • And having healthy boundaries also helps others to become more self-reliant, which promotes their self growth.


Here are 4 tips to create (and keep!) healthy boundaries:


  1. Communicate clearly. Set boundaries in your work relationships. Lay out your limits clearly.
  • For instance, if you don’t want your colleagues and clients to contact you after hours, tell them (nicely 🙂 the hours you will be available for work-related conversations. **
  • Then, make sure you don’t answer calls or texts, or send texts or emails outside of hours so others know you are serious.
  • If you’re working on a project and can’t be interrupted, place your phone on ‘do not disturb’, close your office door, or put a friendly ‘do not disturb’ sign on your desk.

Generally, clear communication can improve your work-life balance, and decrease stress at work and in your personal life.

  1. Learn about various communication styles – including your own: There are numerous ways people give and receive communication – some speak slowly, some speak quickly, some interrupt, some pause often, and some go off on tangents, which can partly be due to being distracted and losing track of the conversation focus.
  • Understanding your own communication style can help you recognize other people’s communication style.
  • Heightened understanding of communication styles can make you a more powerful and influential communicator. It can also help you better diffuse conflict and improve relationships, both at work and in your personal life.

You can identify your own communication style, gain insight about others, and enhance your communication effectiveness by taking the Myers-Briggs assessment.

  1. Set boundaries at home: Being ‘present’ while at home can be challenging but it’s very important to ‘keep work at work’ as much as possible when you’re at home.
  • One approach that can help you tune in more at home is to check email before dinner, and then put away your devices so you can spend the rest of the evening with your family or friends.
  • Remember, work will always be there!
  1. ADD/ADHD: ADD (attention deficit disorder/ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) can make achieving work-life balance even more challenging when you feel like life is a struggle.
  • For employees with ADHD and their spouses, who often carry a larger portion of work at home, work-life balance may seem elusive. Once you understand the impact of your ADHD you can take positive action steps to improve your work-life balance.


  • If you or someone you know struggles with work/life balance including those with ADD or ADHD and may need some guidance with the direction of their life, both personal and professional, contact Marilyn. Marilyn will work collaboratively with you, at your own pace.


**Please note in some organizations, the expectation is to be available practically 24/7. If implementing the suggestions in this blog can jeopardize your job, we’re not suggesting you do so.  However, if being available to communicate 24/7 is creating intolerable stress, you may want to explore other jobs/careers where this expectation is not present.



What Is the Next Step in Your Career?

  • Are you stuck in a job that isn’t you? Ready for a career change, but have no idea where to start?  Or maybe you know what you’re looking for, but need a plan to get there?


  • If one of these 5 challenges (or others) is creating a bottleneck, keep reading!
  1. Paralyzing indecision about whether to change your job, employer, or career.
  2. Asking for a raise.
  3. Applying for a promotion.
  4. Moving to a different department.
  5. Taking on new projects or responsibilities.


  • Preparation is key when you’re at a career crossroad.
  • Research and preparation create a space for a smooth start and provide logical steps for achieving your career change or advancement.
  • When you prepare with market-driven strategies – before you make any moves – you will have built a strong foundation for a greater chance of succeeding at your career goal.


  • 6 points to consider when planning your next career move.
  1. Be clear about what you want in your career. Your ultimate goal will dictate your plan.
  2. Research competencies needed to take the next step. Identify any gaps you may have, and grow your skillset to match what is necessary for the new role.
  3. Make yourself the most eligible candidate for what you’ve determined is your next career step. Take a class, take on a new project to gain needed experience or volunteer.
  4. Network, network, network. Whether it’s with your current employer or other employers, connections can help you become the “known” candidate.
  5. Be confident! Sometimes this is easier said than done, but it is a very important piece of the puzzle. After all, if you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect others to be confident about you?
  6. Brand yourself to match your targeted job. Branding includes your resume, LinkedIn profile, and the message you convey when engaging with influencers.

Whether you know the change you want to make and just need a plan to get there – or you are stuck in confusion about your career direction, Marilyn can help you with career coaching and life coaching for all phases of the process – including building your confidence!

Contact Marilyn to schedule your 10-minute complimentary introductory phone chat or your 45-minute consultation at [email protected] or (847) 322-8292.




The Kids Are Back in School – Now What? 

Are You at a Crossroads in Your Life?

  • Did you just send your kids back to school? Maybe you sent an older child to college for the first time. Or maybe you have a younger child who just started preschool or kindergarten.
  • Whatever your situation, it can be difficult transitioning to a new routine – but it can also be an opportunity to reflect on what YOU want to do. 
  • Navigating this transition can feel both scary and exciting. 
    • Perhaps you’re someone who knows exactly how you want to spend your time and what you want to do. 
    • But many people get overwhelmed with having more time on their hands and no idea what to do with it. 
    • Do you go back to work? If so, what can you do? Should you volunteer? Take up a new hobby? 
  • When trying to decide, it’s important to take these 3 points into consideration:

What do I have time for? 

    • Between family, friends and regular obligations, what is the realistic amount of time I can spend on a hobby, volunteering, or working?

Do I need to be earning income?

    • Depending on your household income, your lifestyle, and your family priorities, a career move could be something to explore.

What is my passion? 

    • Whether you spend your time learning a new skill, volunteering, or working, you have to know what you’re passionate about.
  • Time is precious and it seems to go more quickly the older we get. 
  • Now is the time to find out what’s important to you and identify an avocation or career that would be a good fit, so you can spend your time doing something that’s satisfying and fulfilling. 
  • It’s not easy figuring this out, but Marilyn can help. She will work with you, at your pace, to find a direction that fits your life goals and needs, as well as your values, interests, abilities, skills, and personality style. 


Contact Marilyn for your 10-minute introductory phone chat, or 45-minute consultation at [email protected] or (847) 322-8292.


Do You Have a Personal Vision Statement?

Do You Have a Personal Vision Statement?

Are you living your life in the way you want?  Does your lifestyle reflect your values and purpose?

If you feel dissatisfied in your life or have a lack of connection or purpose, a Personal Vision Statement can help redirect your life to connect with what is truly important to you.

Why create your Personal Vision Statement?

With your Personal Vision Statement:

  • You are likely to be more satisfied and productive, and live your life with more meaning and purpose. 
  • You will use your personal vision to make decisions that encompass your internal purpose and values. These decisions will be based on long-term goals and are likely to be more viable.


Without your Personal Vision Statement:

  • You will tend to make reactive decisions that are not based on meaningful personal values.  
  • These decisions are more likely to result in short-term fixes, rather than comprehensive long-term, viable solutions.


4 steps to create your Personal Vision Statement:

Step 1:  Understand the Whole Person Model components of your skills, interests, values, personality style, life goals, family influences, and abilities.

Step 2:  Complete the Highlands Ability Battery to assess your natural abilities and personal style; complete assessments to assess other Whole Personal Model factors.

Step 3:  Meet with your Highlands Certified Consultant who will interpret your report results and coach you in clarifying what you are naturally good at and enjoy.

Step 4:  Create your Personal Vision Statement with the Personal Vision Don’t Waste Your Talent (DWYT) coaching program.


Marilyn is a Certified Personal Vision Coach and a Certified Affiliate for the Highland’s Ability Battery.  Ask her about the Personal Vision Coaching Program. She can coach you through the Highland’s Whole Person 4-step Method. Schedule a complimentary 10-minute introductory meeting or your full 45-minute consultation.  

Contact Marilyn at [email protected].


Stay at Home Dads – What’s Next?

Why are more dads increasingly becoming the “stay-at-home parent?”


  • An increasing number of men are leaving the workplace to become stay at home dads.
  • Why this shift, when, traditionally, women have been the stay-at-home parent? 
  • More women are increasingly taking on high-powered, high-paying jobs and are committed to their career advancement. This can mean significant hours spent working.
  • When women in high-level positions are transferred, often their spouses have difficulty finding a job in the new location.
  • If a child has special needs and mom makes more money, dad will often leave a job to care for the child.


Are you a stay-at-home dad?  Here are 4 benefits:


  • You get to build a closer bond with your children. This was not as common in the past, when moms typically spent more time with the kids, while dads were away working.
  • It may be hard to believe – but until recently, the bond between fathers and children was undervalued. In reality, the relationship between you and your kids is hugely beneficial and essential to their development.
  • If you have a daughter, seeing you do “housework” sends the message that household tasks are not just “women’s work” and can encourage her to set ambitious career goals.
  • Being closely involved in your children’s development provides a positive model, for your children, of co-parenting.


What’s next for stay-at-home dads….when kids enter high school?


  • Once the kids are more independent, busy with friends and activities, and need you less – you can feel a loss of purpose. 
  • You may look for home repair projects to stay productive but can still find yourself in a funk.
  • It’s possible you might even start doubting your image, identity, or self-esteem.


Have you thought about going back to work? If so, you may have questions:


  • What am I qualified to do? What am I good at? 
  • What’s it like looking for a job now? Where do I start?
  • I didn’t like what I did before, so how can I ensure this work experience is better?


If you want answers to these questions and others, contact Marilyn Fettner, LCPC, NCC, CCC, Certified PV Coach. She’s worked with numerous back-to-work parents and can help you find your direction and build confidence. Contact Marilyn for your 10-minute introductory phone chat, or 45-minute consultation. [email protected] 847-831-0079.

Thinking About a Career Change? Here are 5 Tips for a Smooth Start!

Are you at a turning point in your career? Do you hate your job, but are you too scared or confused to make a change?

By clarifying your strengths and exploring careers in demand that need your strengths, it’s likely you can identify career options to find something you enjoy. Here are some tips to make that happen:

1. Identify what you want, what you fit, and what are your options.

  • To figure out what you want, it can be helpful to first identify what you DON’T like about your current or past jobs.  
    • Write a list of what you want and don’t want. On your want list, be sure to include desired earnings, schedule/lifestyle, commuting time, work style, work environment/culture, and other make-or-break factors.
  • Clarify your key strengths to identify work tasks and roles that you fit – include categories, such as, your interests, favorite skills, natural abilities, values, and personality attributes.
    • Create a prioritized list of your strengths in each category.
  • What kind of industry and professional experience do you have? Conduct research to identify areas of your experience that are transferable to other professions and industries.
    • Further explore these professions and industries to select those that best fit your list of what you want. Use these to create your list of career change options.

2. Grow your network.

  • Identify people currently working in professions and/or industries in which you are interested, who could be resources for information interviews.
    • Reach out to your current network of contacts, and search LinkedIn to develop new contacts to find potential resources.
  • Prepare for information interviews by learning something about your resource and select questions to ask about the profession/industry, such as, ‘what are the most important qualifications to enter this field?’
    • Additionally, prepare for questions your contact may ask you, including, ‘Tell me about yourself.’  
  • Attend networking events related to your careers of interest. These will offer you the opportunity to make new contacts in your career interest areas and learn more about the careers.
    • When you’re ready to make the change, having these new connections can be helpful in getting interviews and guiding you toward job opportunities.

3. Sharpen your skillset.

  • Are you a little rusty on some skills, or are there new skills to learn, which would be helpful in making your change?
    • Take a course to brush up on those skills. This will give you an added bonus for your resume and a competitive edge in the job market.

4. Refine your resume and cover letter.

  • Has it been a while since you’ve taken a look at your resume?
    • Review current resume templates – update yours accordingly and ensure it fits the jobs to which you’re applying. Also – create a cover letter template so it’s faster to tailor cover letters to fit the specific skills/experience for each job.

5. Prepare for interviews.

  • If it’s been a while since you’ve interviewed, do some practice ‘q & a’ while speaking aloud. It’s essential to ‘hear’ yourself, in order to increase your comfort level and articulation.
    • This can make a big difference to help you feel more confident when you walk into that interview, especially if it’s been a few years since your last one.


  • Are you looking for help, guidance, and support in exploring and/or making a career change, but unsure where to start?  Marilyn would love to help. To schedule a complimentary 10-minute introductory meeting or your full 45-minute consultation please email Marilyn at: [email protected] or call (847) 322-8292.

Your Student Has Graduated, Now What?


Graduation is an exciting time! The possibilities are endless!

  • Some graduates know exactly what kind of jobs they want to apply for, and where they want to work. But although they are sending out lots of resumes, they may be receiving few quality responses – if any at all.
  • For others, the possibilities after graduation can be daunting. They have no idea what kind of job they may excel at or enjoy. This can be especially challenging, if their degree lacks a specific job focus.

Both situations are common for new grads and it’s not unusual to struggle. Luckily, there are steps your graduate can take to help him/her/them identify jobs that are a good-fit and get quality responses.

5 Steps for New Grad Job Search

1. Identify good-fit jobs – searching jobs by ‘entry level’ can be a useful start. But it’s important to take time to explore jobs, and thoroughly read job descriptions. Look for areas that interest you and skills you have and/or think you can easily learn.
2. Create a focused job search plan – As you identify jobs in step 1, create a targeted job plan by listing the job titles and names of potential employers that have posted these jobs.
3. Revise your resume – Select two to three representative job postings from step 1, and identify responsibilities, skills, and qualifications you fit. Revise your resume to include these. Depending upon your job focus, it can also be helpful to include relevant coursework, projects, activities, volunteer work, internships, and part-time jobs.
4. Update your online profiles – Use relevant content from your resume to update your LinkedIn profile, because recruiters use LinkedIn to search for and check out candidates. Be sure your photo is current and conveys a professional image. Check that all your online images are appropriate.
5. Network with others in your field. Attend job fairs, networking events and meetups to meet others who may be able to connect you to hiring decision-makers.

Additional tips:

  • When searching for jobs, be aware of whether the job is posted by the employer or a staffing agency.
  • Try to identify if the pay is hourly, salaried, or commission.
  • Ensure your interview skills are competitive and you are prepared to confidently answer questions, as well as, ask relevant questions of the interviewer.
  • Job search can feel like a job in itself, and it’s important not to stress. Schedule time each week to search and stay organized to keep track of your applications and your progress.
  • If you still feel lost and/or un-directed, it could be helpful to take career assessments with a qualified career coach, who can interpret the results to identify jobs/career paths that fit your natural abilities, personality style, interests, values, and other relevant career factors.

Start your grad off on the right track by working with Marilyn. As a Certified Career Counselor and Personal Vision Coach, Marilyn has the experience and knowledge to guide your grad to create a clear plan for success.

To schedule a complimentary 10-minute introductory meeting or your full 45-minute consultation, email Marilyn at: [email protected], or call (847) 322-8292.

What Is Your Personal Vision Statement?

Are You Living Your Personal Vision?

  • If so, you’re more likely to be living a happy and fulfilling life!


What is your Personal Vision Statement?

  • It’s your written commitment for how you want to live your life.
  • It influences every aspect of your life and career.
  • It’s considered one of the most important factors for success and satisfaction.


Does a Personal Vision Statement Really Matter?

  • Without a Personal Vision Statement – you may be more likely to end up in a stress cycle.
    • In a stress cycle, people tend to feel their lives lack meaning and purpose.
    • You’re more likely to make reactive decisions, resulting in short-term fixes, rather than comprehensive long-term solutions.
    • Decisions are driven by power and status, rather than by meaningful personal values.
  • With a Personal Vision Statement – you’ll be working within the balance cycle.
    • In a balance cycle, people are more satisfied and productive, and live their lives with more meaning and purpose.
    • You’re more likely to make viable decisions based on long-term goals for your life.
    • Decisions are driven by your Personal Vision, directed by your internal purpose and values.


5 Steps to Create and Use Your Personal Vision Statement

  1. Create your Personal Vision Statement by writing one to two paragraphs listing your values and abilities, and the things that are most meaningful to you in your life.
  2. Use your Personal Vision Statement to create your life and career goals.
  3. Refer to your Personal Vision Statement for each important decision you make.
  4. Periodically check that the actions you’re taking align with your goals and work toward fulfilling your Personal Vision.
  5. Review this exercise regularly with your coach and revise as needed.


Are you ready to discover your Personal Vision and start living a more fulfilling life?

Marilyn is a Certified Personal Vision Coach and a Certified Affiliate for the Highland’s Ability Battery.  Ask her about the Personal Vision Coaching Program.


Schedule a complimentary 10-minute introductory meeting or your full 45-minute consultation –  email Marilyn at: [email protected]


Is Your College Student Stressed-out?

  • Is your college student experiencing stress that’s getting in the way of their studies? Are they even considering dropping out of school?
  • In contrast to college, high school is more structured, and students can feel like they’re in a ‘safe’ place. For many students, the less structured college environment is the first time they are in charge of managing their time and balancing academics, work, and even their social life – without their parents’ guidance.
  • Many students also experience pressure and feel overwhelmed and lost, when the time comes that they need to decide on a major and career focus.

If you’ve noticed any of the following in your college student, it may be time for them to talk to someone:

  • Trouble focusing on conversations or academics; poor sleep habits
  • Inability to decide on a major; lack of career direction – feeling stuck or lost
  • Don’t know what they ‘want to be when they grow up’
  • Worry about the unknown; fear of failure
  • Talking about how they want to drop out or that ‘college isn’t worth it’

Your student is not alone but they may need guidance to help them gain self-knowledge to understand themselves better and how their attributes match with careers. They may also benefit from enhancing their organizational and stress management skills.

These skills and self-knowledge can help your student with goal-setting for their future direction and improve their ability to manage their time and commitments. Taking these actions can help students feel less overwhelmed because they will have a direction and focus for their future.

To schedule a complimentary 10-minute introductory meeting or your full 45-minute consultation please email Marilyn at: [email protected]


Stuck in a Job…With Paralyzing Stress

Our career choices can give us purpose, as well as pain.

Many people feel like they are ‘stuck’ in their job – like there’s no way out – and they’re unsure how to get out or where to go.

  • For some, it may be easier to change jobs or even careers and move on.
  • For others, it can feel overwhelming and may not seem like a realistic option for multiple reasons.
    • Maybe you have a family that depends on your income, and the sheer thought of leaving your job makes you worry that it would create a gap in your finances and cash flow.
    • Or maybe you’ve applied to other jobs, but you haven’t gotten any responses, and you’re feeling rejected.

Often there are viable options, but it could simply be that you don’t know where to begin.  Generally speaking, identifying a good-fit option, when changing careers or jobs depends upon matching a job/career with:

  • Your attributes – transferable experience and skills (that you enjoy using), personality style, interests, values, natural abilities, and other factors influencing this decision.
  • Your goals – your desired lifestyle and income.
  • Job market reality – it’s important that the employment segment you’re considering is actively hiring.

3 steps for getting unstuck and exploring your options:

  1. Gain a realistic and thorough understanding of your attributes.
  2. Clarify your goals.
  3. Understand the job market.

Keep in mind – small amounts of stress about work are common, such as having a big presentation coming up. But feeling like you’re trapped is something you may need to look at, for your own happiness and well-being, as well as, the happiness and well-being of the people who care about you.

If you’re experiencing any of the following, then it’s time to get professional coaching support:

  • You feel stuck or trapped
  • You get the Sunday blues
  • You spend a lot of time venting about your job
  • You don’t have the energy for outside activities or socializing with friends

Marilyn can help – with clarifying your attributes, identifying job/career options, revising your resume and LinkedIn so they are targeted to your job direction, creating a robust job search plan, and fine-tuning your interview skills.

To schedule a complimentary 10-minute introductory meeting or your full 45-minute consultation please email Marilyn at: [email protected]