Women, Master Your Confidence!

Woman smiling in sweater

Why do so many women lack confidence?

If you ask those around you, you might find similar answers to that question. They feel like frauds, like they aren’t good enough, they don’t possess the skills and abilities, they are they compare, they are perfectionists.

Everyone is different and all facing unique challenges, but as a whole, why do women let their confidence sink so drastically?

From authors Claire Shipman and Katty Kay of The Confidence Code:

For years, we women have kept our heads down and played by the rules. We’ve been certain that with enough hard work, our natural talents would be recognized and rewarded.

Would you say you can relate to that statement?

The problem is, keeping your head down and always playing by the rules leaves little room for standing up in the boardroom presenting your ideas. Meek does not command a room.

Women need to start taking action and changing what has been ingrained in them for so long.

First let’s address 3 vocabulary no nos.

Stop saying “sorry,” “can’t,” and “just.”

“I’m Sorry.” I wrote an article on this that you can find here. Basically, by always saying “sorry”, you portray you are not confident and unsure about your expertise. There is no need to start sentences with “I’m sorry” unless you are actually sorry for some sort of wrongdoing. Communicate with confidence.

Communicate with confidence.

“I can’t.” That is one quick way to diminish yourself and your abilities. Stop telling yourself it can’t be done, that you can’t accomplish x, y, and z. Replace “can’t” with the word “will” and notice a change in your mindset.

“Just.” This is another subtle word that undermines your confidence. It is also a filler word. It takes up space, has little value, and weakens your message.

The Comparison Trap.

Very dangerous territory here. Have you heard the quote, “comparison is the thief of joy”?

In the right context, comparison is helpful, but an unhealthy amount will only rob you of many joys, one being confidence.

Focus on your strengths. On your skills. On your successes. If there is an area you need to make improvements on, find ways to do so. Redirect the energy spent comparing yourself to others and use that time to develop yourself.

Recognize comparison triggers. Are you comparing your current professional status to a peer? Why? Do they receive recognition from others that you would like as well? Ask yourself why, then dissect your answer. Get to the root and once you have that answer, find a solution. Your coworker is constantly getting praised because of their successful business practices, so what best practices can you start incorporating?

Not Good Enough.

You might even feel it right now. That you aren’t good enough.

More than 80% of women believe they aren’t good enough. That is a high percentage.

There is usually an underlying reason. Digging to the root of that can be time-consuming, and as I have stated in previous articles, I am by no means trained in psychology, but what I can offer is expertise in handling this feeling.

Figure out why you feel you are not good enough and write out the details. For example, let’s say you feel you are not good enough to deserve a promotion because you don’t think you have mastered all the areas of your current position to move up to the next level. Write out what the requirements are for that position you want. Next, write down what skills you currently possess. Then, evaluate the two. Chances are, your fears of not being good enough will be squashed once you see you are good enough, or better.

Change feelings of inadequacy into facts. Get real with your thoughts of doubt. Take back the control.

Stop living in not good enough. Be confident.

Quick Confidence Boosters.

Need a quick boost? Try these, because they work!

  1. Celebrate small wins
  2. Revisit past successes
  3. Power pose
  4. Dress nicely
  5. Think positive
  6. Focus on solutions
  7. Smile
  8. Exercise

For more on this, read 7 Steps to Take When you Feel Like You are Lacking Confidence.

Confidence is allowed.

There are ways to take back your confidence. There are ways to have personal breakthroughs. I have seen it. I coach it.

You do not have to apologize for being a confident woman.

You are good enough.

You can.


I would love to work with you. Contact me at TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com.
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Define Success on Your Own Terms

Society Has Ideas

Society says you are successful if you have A, B, C and D – basically, defining what success is for you and everyone else. How about defining success on your own terms?

How about defining success on your own terms?

What does it look like for you to be successful? What do you want to achieve for yourself and your personal satisfaction? To answer this, you will need to erase what has been ingrained in you for so long.

It Takes Thought

Everyone has a different idea of success, and that is great. That means there is an unlimited number of favorable outcomes. What’s important to figure out is: what does your idea of success look like and why? Do you have a clear idea or are you comparing it to someone else?

Make things happen in three black stacked boxes with white background

Constantly looking at other’s success and gauging yours off that will lead to disappointment. Do you really want someone else to define it for you? To define your journey? You will never know how to achieve real success if it’s not yours. Admire others, but don’t use their ambition as your own.

What does it look like for you? How do you figure it out?

Realistic. You must be realistic. You can dream, and please do, just acknowledge what’s realistic and what is a once in a million chance. Side note, it is ok to want both.

Yours. Follow your passions and not anyone else’s. Don’t allow someone to define what your path is.

Time. Give yourself time to weave through the clutter but also make sure you set a timeline. Giving yourself time frames will ensure you stay the course and, it is proven that you will be much more likely to achieve your goal.

In Your Face. Make sure you know what your success looks like and then make sure that is in your sight every day, literally. Cut out photos, create a Pinterest board, have a background on your laptop. Do what it takes so that you see your goals daily. Side note number 2; vision boards are widely effective. Ask any successful person, I guarantee you they have one.

Expect Failure, More than Once. You are going to fail. Guess what, you aren’t the only one. Don’t believe me? Take a couple of minutes to read about others you know who weren’t an instant success.

Don’t Compare Someone Else’s Phase. This is big. Just because Joe Bob has 3 homes and a private jet while you’re warming up your Lean Cuisine for dinner in your one-bedroom apartment doesn’t mean you aren’t successful.

Don't compare poster in black frame and white background

Start now. Begin anywhere. Do what you can.


Let me know what you think and share your stories! TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com

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6 Tips for Your Professional Development

Lamp on top of table with plant in jar and a laptop

Let’s talk about advancing your professional development, and how to do so continuously. Steps you can take to make noticeable changes in your professional life, which ultimately flows into all other areas of your life as well.

Best Practices: 

1) Self-Assessment

Look in the mirror and assess your internal intelligence. There are plenty of tests and quizzes you can take that will give you insight into who you are, your mindset, what makes you tick, etc. Even some of the Buzzfeed quizzes can shed some light, though I wouldn’t put much stock into their credibility.

Self-assessments can benefit you because sometimes you are not aware of blinders that are in your way.

2) Genuine Feedback

Find a mentor or ask a trusted friend you know will give it to you straight. You don’t need sugar-coating.  

3) Tangible Goals (hard skills)

What skills can you enhance that will make you an expert in your field? Excel spreadsheets, grammar, speech, and even attire; all of these are things you can physically make improvements on and see progression.

4) Intangible Goals (soft skills)

Goals that might not be so apparent are also important. These are called “soft skills” and they are just as important as hard skills. Below are some of the soft skills I have found to be major game changers:

  • Confidence
  • Empathy
  • Verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Attitude
  • Teamwork
  • Listening
  • Discipline and focus
  • Professionalism
  • Networking
  • Public speaking
  • Stress management/Emotional Intelligence

5) Reading & Podcasts

Knowledge is power.

Read anything you can get your hands on that will grow your mind and read for fun. You need both. Commit to this daily practice. Yes, daily. Even if it is only for 10 minutes. (Twitter does not count.)

Podcasts. This is free information sent to your ears, no hands required. Do this while driving, working out, cooking. You literally have nothing to lose.

6) Courses/Webinars/Seminars

Another great thing about the Internet, there are thousands of free courses to take. Ask others what they would recommend. Be in a continual state of learning and development.

Seminars are extraordinary to attend. Not only are you learning, but you are surrounded by individuals who are there for the same reason. The networking that can happen is invaluable.  

Bottom line – grow, learn, develop.

Continually evolving. Continually at your best.


 

3 Basics of Personal Image

Women with long hair looking side way into camera

Personal image is a wide topic but can be narrowed down to key areas. I am going to touch on 3 key areas that cover the basics of personal image: appearance, voice, behavior.

Physical Appearance

Your physical appearance matters. First impressions matter.

Hygiene, hygiene, hygiene. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen someone who has clearly not concerned with how they look, or smell. Listen to me – you need to be clean! Your hair combed, teeth brushed, nails trimmed, clothes stain free, and shoes in good condition. You will be scanned head to toe. I have been in this industry long enough, so when I say the scuffs on your shoes will be seen, trust me.

Now, let’s talk about that posture because this is part of your physical appearance. Your posture contributes to your image. Did you know that good posture can improve your confidence? In an article by Sharon Naylor on posture, it states that “researchers have found when you sit up taller and pull your shoulders back and outward, your brain gets a signal it’s time to be confident.” Feeling confident positively affects your image because you project self-assurance and self-assurance can go a long way. Stand tall, don’t slouch, head up, believe in yourself.

Body movement is not often discussed as part of personal image but it is an important topic and part of your appearance. Take a moment and think of individuals you respect and admire. How are their movements? I am willing to bet they are not a frantic ball of chaos. They are composed. Your body movements should be smooth, controlled and with purpose.

Voice

As with body movement, your tone and speech should reflect that of someone who is unflappable. Even if you are late for your next meeting because you got a flat tire on your way into work and spilled your coffee on your suit, you and your tone should remain steady. You set the tone.

Behavior

Attitude check time. How is your behavior these days? Your actions aren’t a reflection of you, they are you. People will not want to be around someone is poor in character. It’s that simple.

Takeaway

If you really want to have a positive image, it is not about designer labels. Recognize areas that you want to improve upon and make your image radiate.


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The Dos and Don’ts of Making Mistakes

Woman in gray turtleneck shaking man's hand

Another mistake…Whoops.

A mistake has been made. What’s your immediate reaction?

Common reactions:

  1. Don’ts (negative): make excuses, blame someone else, become defensive
  2. Dos (positive): accept responsibility, change your behavior, keep going

Everyone makes mistakes, what sets the skillful apart is how they choose to respond.

Don’ts: Excuses. Blame. Defense.

Someone who is constantly making excuses and blaming others creates an atmosphere of negativity. People cannot trust someone who is not reliable.

If you are constantly defensive, others will not want to confront you for fear of conflict. You make yourself unapproachable if you are unable to take responsibility for mistakes made.

Those who seek professional and personal growth must learn how to handle mistakes because no matter who you are, you are going to make them.

I am not going to spend too much time on the don’ts of making excuses, so for further insight on that topic, here is a great article by S.J. Scott titled 13 Steps to Stop Making Excuses and Get Results in Your Life.

Dos: Accept. Change. Keep Going.

What I am going to spend time on is the positive way to respond to mistakes. Learning effective responses to mistakes will help you be proactive in future decisions.

Accept responsibility.

Own up to your mistake. Why? First, others expect it, and need it. Taking responsibility acts like a reset button. You are acknowledging an error and once that is out in the open, everyone can begin to move on.

Note I did not say full responsibility. I will discuss that next.

If an error needs explanation, there is a time and a place for that, but in the midst of addressing your mistake, the reasoning (if any) should not be in the same sentence. Do not try to explain “your side of the story”.

Also, do not take full responsibility if you do not need to. It is wise to take responsibility, but being the person who always takes blame, that is not good either. Clarify.

Should you need to make any sort of clarification, stick to the actual events that happened and leave all feelings out of it. Discuss what happened, be open to feedback and work out the kinks so you can handle yourself better next time.

Change.

What will you do differently going forward? What did you learn so you do not repeat the same mistakes?

Mistakes are great lessons, as long as you learn from them.

Keep Going.

Mistakes are going to happen.

Don’t spend too much time focusing on the error. When you stay stuck in a negative mindset, there is little room for transformation. Reflect on it long enough to learn and mature.

It’s not how we make mistakes, but how we correct them that defines us. -Rachel Wolchin


Contact me at TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com for more tips and suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Destructive Behavior is Destructive – It’s Time for a Change

3 women at table listening to 1 woman talking

Image consulting is a professional field that aims to improve the image of the client personally or professionally through appearance, behavior, and communication. It is the process of evaluating the effect of a person’s appearance on their professional image.

Let’s talk about behavior.

Part of image consulting deals with behavior and how that can affect a person’s image, both personally and professionally.

Behavior is so important, there are studies on it, training on it, institutes, books, lectures, seminars, you name it.

Behavior in the workplace.

Behavior in the workplace is especially important for your image. This is not to say that outside of the workplace you have a free reign to act inappropriately, but for this article, I am going to focus on workplace behavior and how it relates to your image.

Your behavior affects your image. Your behavior affects your personal brand. Your behavior affects others, and in turn, your behavior will affect you. 

Being someone who others can approach is a desirable quality. It is a skill. It makes the environment in which you work more effective. Opposite of effective behavior is destructive behavior.

You might not be aware of destructive behavior patterns in your day-to-day life. Recognizing them is a step in the right direction.

Common destructive behaviors:

  1. Negative mindset
  2. Defensive
  3. Argumentative
  4. Drama

When someone is curt with you, how does that influence your reaction? How does that affect the way you think about that individual? What is your perception of their image?

We all have some form of one or more than one of these behaviors. And keep in mind, in moderation, it is good to be a little defensive right? In moderation.

People see how you behave and relate that to who you are. 

Making proper changes.

How can you correct these behaviors? Start making changes now.

  • Identify what you need to change
  • Commit to improve
  • Be consistent
  • Seek advice, a mentor, or a career coach
  • Speak with a supervisor or someone who can give you constructive criticism

Break your plan into small, achievable, manageable steps. Set goals and timelines and don’t forget to look back on your progress.

Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your behavior does. -Sukhraj S. Dhillon


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What Really is a Career Coach?

What does a career coach actually do?

Well, pretty much the same thing all other coaches do – coach!

What do coaches do? They help their players improve. They work with each individual to get better in an area or areas of deficiency and then equip them to continue the process with skill and competence.

Career coaches have a wide range of areas they are proficient in. Overall, career coaches should be able to give insight and “coaching” to those who have hired them. A trained eye to see where there is a gap in performance.

Who can benefit from services?

Anyone.

We all want to be the best we can be right? A career coach is great to be able to support someone who is in the workforce either at the beginning of their career, in the middle, or rising to the top.

What to expect from a career coach.

Sessions

If you do decide to hire a coach, don’t expect it to be a one session and done sort of deal. It will take a minimum of 8 hours, or 4 sessions total to get some groundwork. Do not lured in by quick fixes and unrealistic promises.

You should expect to be confronted with a series questions and interviews. Your coach will need to get to know you.

  • What are your frustrations?
  • What is your current situation and why are you dissatisfied?
  • What are your goals?
  • What do you hope to gain from a career coach?

Questions

Expect to answer some tough questions and give honest answers. Don’t tell your coach what sounds good or what you think they want to hear, give them information that will be helpful to you and your future. And have some questions ready yourself. Ask questions that can’t be answered by Google; questions that will help guide your coach and you in the right direction.

Homework

Just as athletic coaches require their students to exercise and run drills, so does a career coach, maybe just not as physically demanding. Simply put, if your actions were producing positive results, you wouldn’t need a coach. You hired them to help you work through challenges, so expect them to push you. Expect to get uncomfortable but also, expect great things to come.

What will the results be?

Motivation. Confidence. Skills.

Your coach isn’t going to get you the job you want, only you can do that. What your coach will do is equip you with the motivation, confidence, and direction to go out there and achieve your goals.

The time spent with your coach will help you understand your strengths and how to use them for your career and your future aspirations. You will be equipped with the correct tools to follow a path that leads to fulfillment.

Remember, this isn’t a one-time event. Along the way you might need to revisit what you learned with your coach or reach back out for further guidance. Never feel like you can’t make a change.


I am here to help. Contact me at TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com.

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Hiring an Image Consultant and Why You Should

Woman sitting at a table in front of a laptop

What is an image consultant?

Image consulting is a professional field which aims to improve the image of the client personally or professionally through appearance, behavior and communication.

Why Hire an Image Consultant?

Image consultants help individuals with more than just personal appearance. As stated in the definition, an image consultant helps in the areas such as appearance, body language, behavior, and communication. They are there to help evaluate, improve, and/or enhance.

Clarks Consulting elevates clients to the next level. I provide the tools needed to make effective improvements often overlooked or missed.

Common areas that are often overlooked:

  • Professional appearance
  • Body language
  • Inconsistent behavior
  • Effective communication
  • Online presence

Most people are unaware of these how these areas can affect their image, but the good news is they are all coachable. Recognizing one or more than one of these areas needing improvement is a great step in the right direction, but what next?

What are the Next Steps?

First you must find the right consultant.

You want to select a consultant that understands your goals but also one that you enjoy working with.

Most consultants offer a complimentary meeting which usually is 30 minutes and consists of the basic questions that help them get to know you better.

  1. Concerns you have and what you would like to accomplish
  2. Answer any questions you might have
  3. Review of services and fees
  4. What you can expect and next steps

Remember, you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Make sure you ask the right questions – for you and your business.

Next is the contract agreement.

Once you have found the right consultant, you will need to discuss the contract agreement.

Thoroughly read through the entire contract agreement and ask any questions you have.  Make sure you understand all verbiage and expectations.

Consulting timeline.

The timeline goes together with the agreement.

A skilled consultant knows how to map out a reasonable timeline. Do not be fooled by unrealistic promises or quick fixes.

Based on the timeline presented, this should give you a good understanding of what to expect and the process.

There is no one size fits all, so making sure you are both in agreement of what the expectations are and a time frame in which to achieve those is important.

What to Expect from Your Image Consultant?

What you can expect from your consultant is a thorough gathering of information based on your needs and wants. This is usually in the form of a questionnaire or profile evaluation so the consultant can get a better idea of who you are.

Next is a list of recommendations that will fit your lifestyle. Your consultant will go through what is working and what needs to be altered.

Based on the area you hired a consultant for, they should develop a plan that you can easily follow and the tools to continue with confidence.


I would love to work with you. You can contact me at TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com.

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Personal Branding Matters

Breathe Create Black Words on White Paper

Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. While previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal-branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging.

What does that mean?

So, I gave you the definition from Wikipedia, but what does that really mean?

Note the word “practice.” This means that personal branding is ongoing, continually evolving. You do not need to change who you are, but you do need to evolve. The difference – change suggests becoming something entirely different whereas evolve means to develop.

You should always be wanting to improve – to always be evolving.

And how does personal branding fit into all of this?

As you progress through life and your career, you carry with you your core values. Through the process of evolving, you will enhance those values and become a brand.

What is your brand?

Do you wonder what your personal brand is?

Ask yourself a few of these questions:

  • What makes you stand out from the rest?
  • Can people trust you?
  • What do you think people say about you when you are not in the room?
  • What you stand for? What are your values?
  • What your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are your goals?
  • What’s your story?

These are questions you can ask yourself and come up with answers on your own. A more complex experiment of discovering your personal brand is to seek feedback from those around you.

Alex Freund, author at Personal Branding Blog, sent a request to some of his friends asking them to send him three words that came to mind when they thought of him. This a good idea, but make sure you allow others to feel comfortable giving you candid feedback AND you are open to listening to it all.

Building your personal brand.

You are a brand. A walking advertisement.

You know that saying, “fake it till you make it”? Be careful. Do not replace fake with authentic. There is some truth to “faking” confidence or optimism. Some people can create a turnaround in their lives and truly become confident and optimistic. But faking for the sake of being an imposter is not suggested. Eventually the truth comes out.

If you want to be perceived in a certain way, discover ways to make that happen.

  1. Be intentional.
  2. Educate yourself, constantly.
  3. Find your niche.
  4. Become the expert in your field so that when others think of whom to call, you are top of that list.
  5. Build credibility.
  6. Be authentic.
  7. Consistency!

Was this helpful for you? How can I help? Contact me at TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com or connect with us on social media! I look forward to hearing from you.

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You Don’t Have to Settle for a Job. Here’s What You Can Do.

Woman talking in group of people sitting on couch

Job shaming.

Job shaming is real. People complain about their jobs on a daily basis and it’s not thought to be abnormal.

There are some who are very fortunate to be doing what they love to do. But don’t neglect their hard work. The perfect job doesn’t just fall into your lap, and even if it did, you must put forth effort every day to keep yourself on the correct path.

Successful people don’t coast along. There are many early mornings and late nights. There are failures along the way. There are doubts. But the point is, they keep going. They don’t give up. They don’t say “I can’t.” And neither should you.

You are not stuck in your current situation. Your mind is stuck. Change your mindset.

“If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t…you’re right.” -Henry Ford

Don’t believe me?

J.K. Rowling – Before becoming the world’s first billionaire author, J.K. Rowling’s literature was rejected several times. She was a divorced, single mother on welfare. She was diagnosed with clinical depression and contemplated suicide. She didn’t surrender to her situations, she persisted.

Madonna – A college dropout, she moved to New York with $35 in her pocket. It was her first plane ride and first time ever in a taxi. She worked as a waitress at Dunkin’ Donuts while she actively engaged in singing and dancing gigs on the side. She faced challenges head on and didn’t give up.

Ursula Burns – Ursula was raised by a single mother in a housing project in Manhattan. Both of her parents were Panamanian immigrants. She didn’t let her circumstances dictate her future, she made her future.

Mediocre is good enough.

Most individuals choose mediocre over pursuit of fulfillment for many reasons. Fear of the unknown, embarrassed to fail, or the most common, comfort and convenience.

So even though their current job is satisfactory at best, most people will opt for staying rather than making the changes necessary to lead a more gratifying life.

“If you’re too comfortable, it’s time to move on. Terrified of what’s next? You’re on the right track.” -Susan Fales-Hill

People fear what they don’t know, so they decide to stay at a job simply because there is no risk, however, we all know that a job can come and go in the blink of an eye. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself to go outside of your comfort zone. Be afraid of becoming complacent and having no backup plan.

“I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow.” -Marissa Mayer

Is it really that easy?

Yes and no.

No because it requires change and we all know change is not easy. There is a good article written by Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. about why we don’t like change. Basically, subconsciously people associate change with unreliable.

I get it. When you have people relying on you and your paycheck to feed them, changing careers is a scary thought. When you are barely making ends meet, the very idea of starting over is the last thing you can handle.

But…what if on the other side of those fears lies a better life for you? We humans spend a lot of time at our place of employment. The average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime. Don’t you think you should spend that time doing something you find enjoyment out of? Life is not meant to live for your next day off.

And now the yes part. Yes, it is really that easy. You replace the word “can’t” with will. You will find a way to make it happen. You will come out on top. You will be happy. Once again, mindset.

Easier said than done? Not necessarily.

The only thing that is difficult is changing your belief. That is what you will have to break through. I am not a licensed psychologist, so I am not going to even start getting into how to train your brain to start thinking differently. What I am is experienced. I have learned many lessons along the way and want to share some successes with you.

Here are 5 tips I find helpful when you are ready for more:

  1. Replace the negative. Who are those influencing the world around you? You become like the 5 people you spend time with. Pay attention to their outlook, how they speak, what they think. Replace the negative with logical encouragement.
  2. Know what you want. Don’t just say you want a job with perks, define what those perks are. Know exactly what you want and write it down.
  3. Never stop learning. Ever. Never ever. Did I mention never?
  4. Baby steps. If you aren’t ready to take the full plunge, start small. Get yourself some small wins under your belt. Keep going.
  5. Embrace failure. I will leave this last step in the hands of Ekaterina.

It seems that failure tends to be more public than success. Or at least that’s what we perceive it to be. We fret it, we try to avoid it, and we question ourselves every time we have unconventional ideas. But the simple truth is – no great success was ever achieved without failure. It may be one epic failure. Or a series of failures – such as Edison’s 10,000 attempts to create a light bulb or Dyson’s 5,126 attempts to invent a bagless vacuum cleaner. But, whether we like it or not, failure is a necessary stepping stone to achieving our dreams. –Ekaterina Walter

Don’t just wish your career was better and continue typing away in your cubicle. Your situation won’t change due to good luck and fortune. You must make things happen.

So, what are you doing about it?


Contact us me TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com.

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