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


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. 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: 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:, 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:


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:


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:

4 Things to Do While Looking for a Job – especially During the Holidays!

Looking for work is stressful and tiring, especially around the holidays. It can be easy to get into a rut and lose focus on your goal. But being strategic about your job hunt can give you the motivation to keep going. Here are 4 things every job seeker should do to maximize chances for success.

  1. Start networking like it’s your job

You need to get out and start networking like your job depends on it…because it does! Although virtual networking has its role, nothing replaces meeting someone ‘in person.’  Yes, it may feel awkward to go to an event where you don’t know people, but the more connections you make, the easier it will be to find your next dream job.

  • To help you prepare – start a collection of ‘conversation starters’ and practice them out loud to get comfortable. (Yes, out loud!) Also – prepare some responses to questions you may be asked.
  • Visualize yourself having a relaxed and enjoyable time at a networking event or holiday party. Repeat the positive visualization and stay focused on your goal.
  • By being prepared, you’ll be more comfortable and have a better chance of making some good connections – and maybe even enjoy yourself!
  1. Take breaks

While it’s important to keep yourself motivated and productive, it’s also important to carve out time for rest and relaxation. Looking for a job can be one of life’s most stressful events, so building in some time for self-care–like exercising and spending time with friends–can keep you sane during the process.  It can also keep you feeling positive, which is critical for networking – and interviewing!

  1. Get on LinkedIn. If you already have a profile, ensure it’s optimized

Employers are increasingly using social media to vet potential employees. Your LinkedIn profile is going to be at the top of the search results, when employers search your name online. Invest time to make sure your profile is complete, current, and accurately showcases your skills and experience.

  • Ask your connections to endorse you with personal and professional recommendations
  • Ensure you have a current professional photo as part of your profile
  • Use key phrases in your headline and check that your summary strategically highlights your employment experience
  1. Get Organized

Job searching is messy.  You need to make sure you’re keeping track of your network, everyone you’ve reached out to, and give yourself reminders to circle back with them in order to make progress. In addition to tracking and updating your network, you also need to organize other components of looking for a job:

  • Design a targeted job search and networking plan.
  • Create a list of targeted employers and build network contacts in those organizations.
  • Follow your plan and review often to identify what’s working and what needs to be adjusted.

If you want to explore how to land your dream job, contact Marilyn today!



So…Did You Find A Job Yet?

Ahh, the Holidays. A time to relax, enjoy family and friends, and eat until your heart’s content.

Or is it?

The Holidays can be like the hunger games; you never know when your family is going to strike. And if you’re recently unemployed, you know the dreaded, ‘so, have you found a job yet?’ question will arise – multiple times.

Certain family members have a way of asking a perfectly normal question yet it gets under your skin and feels like a jab.

This year try to put yourself in the right headspace before opening the door to greet the family. Planning ahead can help us feel more confident in difficult situations and will prevent you from being caught off guard and reacting in a way you might later regret.

Here are 5 ways to help get your through the Holidays when you’re unemployed:

  1. Take a deep breath before you answer a question

It’s natural for someone to ask what the next step in your life is. If you see this person once a year, they may be genuinely curious and coming from a good place. Take a deep breath and assume they are asking because they care.

  1. Watch the alcohol consumption

Alcohol impacts our thought process significantly and can cause us to speak without thinking. Thinking clearly and responding appropriately are much easier when alcohol isn’t a factor.

  1. Ask them a question

There’s nothing like a classic turnaround when a relative asks a question that’s a little more invasive than you’re interested in. Ask about someone’s first semester at college, another’s new job, an upcoming vacation or compliment a bracelet.

  1. Be Honest

Sometimes the best response is the direct response. It’s simple: Just tell them you don’t want to talk about the job situation. Be kind about it but know that it’s OK to tell someone you’d prefer to discuss something else.

  1. Post-Holiday self-care

Now that you’ve made it through another Holiday with family, take care of yourself. Sometimes we tend to over think a conversation we had and allow it to get the best of us.

They are family, and deep down we really do love them. So, when you’re frustrated, try to remember all the things you are grateful for in your life – even nagging family members.

If you want to explore a career change, Marilyn will work collaboratively with you, at your own pace — to answer these questions and help you gain direction for a Best-Fit career.


Need a Career Change? But Confused About Your Career Direction?

Now that you’ve identified your personality style, natural abilities, values, and passionate interests, using validated assessments, how do you choose a career?

My 3-Step Holistic & Collaborative Approach:

  • First -we’ll use the prioritized data from your assessments, along with your desired lifestyle and life goals, to create Your Best-Fit Snapshot or Career Profile.
  • Second – we’ll explore and assess careers that most closely match your Snapshot/Profile.
  • Third – if your Best-Fit careers require further education or training, we’ll explore schools that are a good fit for you. On the other hand, if no additional education or training is needed, we’ll design a job search plan and assess specific jobs and employers to identify a good fit – and figure out which jobs you should apply to.

3 Ways to Tell if a Job – and Employer are a Good Fit

  1. Competent Leaders. Based on data from LinkedIn, employers’ websites, Glass Door, Best Places to Work, and similar resources, along with your professional network, you can figure out whether you like and can respect a company’s leaders. Some questions you can ask are:
  • Do you like the leaders as people? For example, from what you know about them, do they seem to have integrity, care about the well-being of their employees, and are they genuine?
  • Secondly, do they have strong leadership skills? The best companies to work for have great leaders. You can distinguish strong leaders from the average manager by assessing qualities, such as self-confidence, industry knowledge, respect for others, and an optimistic attitude.
  1. Location. For many individuals, where the job is located can be of great importance.
  • Proximity to the arts, culture, recreational activities, mountains, the ocean, family, friends, and good schools can all be factors that are important to you.
  • Do you prefer to work remotely? Does the company offer remote working opportunities?
  • The length and nature of your commute can also influence how desirable a job is to you.
  1. Mission of the Company. Make sure you can embrace the goals and core values of a prospective employer.
  • The mission statement conveys the company’s direction.
  • It also outlines goals for what you and your team or department will need to focus on accomplishing. It’s important to determine if the company’s values are a fit with your own.

If you want to explore a career change, Marilyn will work collaboratively with you, at your own pace — to answer these questions and help you gain direction for a Best-Fit career.