Monthly Archives: May 2017

“Champion Your Career” Named Finalist in 2017 International Book Awards

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, May 31, 2017 – Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work by Halimah Bellows, MA, MS has been named a finalist in the category of Business-Careers in the Eighth Annual International Book Awards sponsored by American Book Fest. Jeffrey Keen, President and CEO of American Book Fest announced that this year’s contest yielded over 1,500 entries from mainstream and independent publishers, which were then narrowed down to 300 winners and finalists. For a complete list of winners and finalists, go to:
Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work also won the Summer 2016 Pinnacle Book Achievement Award in the category of Self-Help Books and was named a finalist in the category of Business-Careers in the Thirteenth Annual Best Book Awards sponsored by i310 Media Group, Inc.

Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work addresses the needs of a new generation of career seekers in a rapidly changing economy and job marketplace. Designed as self-paced career development workshop in book format, Champion Your Career provides self-assessment tools to enable individuals to explore their personal passions, values, strengths and skills, along with sound strategies and resources for decision making, goal setting and networking to begin a fulfilling new career. Champion Your Career is available in print and as an ebook on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books a Million and Powell’s online bookstores. It is also available directly from the author’s website, Additionally, it is also now being carried in bookstores around the country as well as in some local college bookstores and college and public libraries in the Pacific Northwest.
Halimah Bellows is also the creator of a unique self-coaching tool called CAREER QUEST CARDS TM ©, a set of 24 cards providing a distillation of 30 key career-coaching exercises. A Career Quest App is available through Amazon as well as at the google and iBooks stores.
Bellows is a sought after and respected resource for career advice and coaching. She teaches her clients to re-frame their lives and career choices by choosing positive and life affirming goals that have realistic time frames so that discouragement doesn’t set in. She stresses, “What I focus on and teach others through my book and the CAREER QUEST CARDS TM ©, and app is that, in order to meet a goal, you need to turn to those things that you want to make happen, things that will give you a sense of accomplishment, skill building and joy. Those goals will be much more sustainable.”
Halimah Bellows is available for radio, television and media interviews as well as readings and discussions in bookstores and other venues. For a review copy of Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work or an interview with the author, contact her at or 206.595.7927.


Building Career Bridges

By Joseph P. Liu

Adrian Granzella Larssen explains how she opened new doors in her career, shifting from her editorial role at the George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, DC to eventually becoming the Editor at Large at The Muse in New York City. During the episode, she shares some useful tips on taking charge of your career trajectory, networking for introverts, and making manageable steps toward landing the job of your dreams. In the Mental Fuel® segment, I’ll talk about the concept of creating professional bridges between your current role and target role.

Key Career Insights

  1. Don’t limit your network to only those who seem to directly linked to your target role. You never know where your next lead could come from.
  2. If you want to build the case for tweaking your role, consider not only what you want, but also how you can add more value to the organization so the idea can be more compelling to your managers.
  3. Small steps can add up to the big changes you desire for your career. You don’t need to do everything in one fell swoop. Taking the first step is often the hardest.
  4. Networking doesn’t have to involve showing up at a big event, slapping on a name tag, and working the room. You can instead focus on 1-on-1 meetings, which can work especially well for introverts.

Adrian Granzella Larssen was the first employee and founding editor of The Muse, the career platform that’s helped more than 50 million people find and succeed at their dream jobs. Now, she serves as The Muse’s editor-at-large, is a nationally recognized career expert, and helps other early-stage startups create content that readers truly love. Be sure to connect with her on Twitter and Instagram.

You can hear Adrian’s interview at:


 Joseph P. Liu is a Career Consultant, Podcast Host and Speaker.  Contact him at:


by Joseph P; Liu

Sometimes, knowing what you don’t want in your career is easier than figuring out what you DO want.

After you’ve decided your current job is no longer right for you, how do you even begin to tackle the question of what should come next?

Maybe you’re in a situation where you’re actually good at what you do, but have gotten a little bored with it all. Or a reorg at work has made you question where you really belong? Or you just have this sinking feeling that something better out there awaits you, but you just can’t quite put your finger on it.


Choice is a funny thing. On the one hand, choice is incredibly liberating. Having choices is a privilege. You can have the freedom to choose what you want for your career, for your life.

But on the other hand, too much choice can leave you feeling paralyzed.

Should you continue down the same career path you’ve been on but just make a tweak? Should you pivot toward something else that’s always interested you?

There’s a great book out there called The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz, where Schwartz talks about how having lots of choice actually leads to anxiety.

I’ve definitely been there. When I was trying to decide what to do after I walked away from my planned career in medicine, I felt so overwhelmed by exactly what I could and should do next. I thought about becoming a dentist, pursuing a career in technology, heading to business school, going into medical research, even heading back to a different medical school. There’re so many directions I could take my life, and need process of narrowing it down to one single choice let me feeling fairly paralysed.

After walking away from a phase in m career that didn’t exactly go as I had hoped, I was feeling especially nervous about what to do next for a few reasons.

First, because I wondered if my professional judgment itself just wasn’t that sound. After all, if I had been astute at what my career should be in the first place, I wouldn’t have ended up in a situation where I was unhappy, right?

Second, I was very nervous about making another mistake. Leaving my medical career behind was incredibly disruptive, and I didn’t know if I could stomach making another wrong move that might result in another disappointing disruption.

Finally, and most of all, I was struggling to figure out what I DID want to do instead. I knew what DIDN’T feel right, but I didn’t know how I could tell what would actually make me happy.


When I was feeling confused, first re-grounding myself in what really mattered to me was very super useful. I decided I needed to talk with someone completely objective who did not know me. So I started seeing a career counselor, and during our biweekly sessions, I eventually came to a point where I got very clear on what really mattered to me—my values, my principles, my priorities.

Amongst other things, I decided that entrepreneurship, having a healthy lifestyle, and making a positive contribution to people were key values of mine. Knowing what mattered to me help me figure out what would be right for my career. My values gave me criteria against which I could evaluate the various options I was considering. So instead of haphazardly looking at every option out there, I only considered those options that aligned with my values, those that would allow me to serve my values. When you force yourself to prioritize what matters most, it can help narrow the options.

Throughout my career, I’ve always made my best decisions when I first clarified what mattered most to me.

Taking one example from my own life, after business school, my priority was to establish some corporate credibility and experience, which I knew would serve me well in my career and also provide me with some concrete knowledge I would leverage when eventually coaching others in the corporate world. So I went and worked for one of the largest consumer packaged goods companies in the US. Now, I didn’t exactly grow up aspiring to market trash bags or drain opener for a living, but during this chapter in my career, I was able to learn the dynamics of what it’s like to work in a larger organization and also develop some functional marketing expertise along the way.


If you’re about to make a career change, before you do anything, you really owe it to yourself to start your journey by first asking yourself a very important question:

What’s the most important thing for me to have during the next chapter of my career?

Let’s break that down into two parts.

The first part is getting clear on what’s most important to you is all about prioritizing. We all want careers that make us happy. That could be driven by many factors. For example, working on projects you care about. In function you find stimulating. At a reputable company. With a great culture. And a good salary. In a role that makes the most of your skills. In a city with a nice climate. That’s affordable. And close to family. Oh, and . . . You get the point.

Every career decision you make will involve trade-offs. It’s hard to have everything. They have to find a way of prioritizing what single factor matters most to you.

In talking with many people who have navigated a career change, I’ve noticed what people find most important is often a reaction to some aspect of their last job they found especially dissatisfying. In our most recent job, if you felt like you were working excessive hours, maybe finding a job that offers you better worklife balance is the most important factor. If you felt underpaid or undervalued, earning a fair salary might be what matters most.


Putting this all together, deciding what matters most for the next chapter of your career is the first step toward finding work that leaves you feeling truly satisfied.

If you decide that work-life balance is the most important thing for you to have in this particular chapter of your life and career, maybe you need to be okay with taking a role with a lower salary but a better lifestyle. If you decide that beefing up your credibility is most important right now, maybe you take that role at the blue-chip Fortune 500 Corporation that may not allow you to live your life passion, but certainly allows you to build up your reputation within your industry.

At some point, you have to be willing to make some tradeoffs. And you also have to be willing to invest the time in clarifying what unmet need you now want to fill in your career. This way, even if you don’t manage to get everything you want during the next stage of your career, you can at least know you took a step in the right direction to address what matters most.


If you’re struggling to figure out where to take your career, start by defining what matters most to you. Download your free “Define My Professional Priorities” worksheet to clarify which professional components matter the most to you during the next chapter of your career.

Joseph P. Liu is a Career Consultant, Podcast Host and Speaker.   Contact him at

Debunking 4 career change myths to reveal the realities of reinvention

By Joseph P. Liu

Career change is often misunderstood. Whenever I’ve walked away from one job to pursue another, some people have called me a quitter. Others questioned whether I would ever figure out what I wanted to do. Still others were confused why I couldn’t just be content with the job I had, even if I didn’t love it.

In my experience, both with my own career changes, and after working with hundreds of other professionals who have chosen to change careers, people rarely change directions because they like the idea of quitting. People rarely make a career pivot because they enjoy life disruption. And people rarely leave a job because they weren’t grateful for what they had.

Most of the career changers I cross paths with make big changes in their career because they want to spend their days doing work they actually find meaningful. They grow tired of that nagging feeling that something’s missing. They move on because they realize that life is too short to spend most of your waking hours doing work you don’t truly care about.

In April 2017, I gave a talk at General Assembly in London entitled “Navigating the Emotions of Career Change.” During my talk, I shared my own personal story of career change, my 7 stages of career change roadmap, how to overcome barriers to change. In catching up with some audience members afterwards, I shared some career change myths that seemed to really strike a chord with those in attendance, so I wanted to share them here with you.

Myth 1: Career change is a logical, natural evolution

There’s really nothing natural about walking away from a stable, full-time job. Most of the time, if you’ve been professionally “successful,” that’s because you’ve invested years of time, energy, and education into getting to that point. On top of that, successfully climbing an organizational ladder creates professional momentum that exponentially builds over time. You eventually gain more responsibility, lead better projects, earn more money, build more credibility, and continue to land fancier job titles.

So the idea of walking away from all this investment is hardly logical. Changing careers is often not a natural move. Far from it. In fact, it often feels incredibly counterintuitive. Even if you reach a point where you’re feeling dissatisfied, moving on is often harder than holding on, something I talked about in my TEDx Talk, Reshaping the Story of Your Career.

Changing careers requires taking a brave leap into the unknown with the belief that something better awaits you, even though you may not be certain if this is even true. So letting go of what you already have can feel incredibly risky, even careless. Changing careers is also disruptive, no matter how you cut it. You’re often letting go of years of investment and walking away from the predictable, stable life you’ve created for yourself.

Making a career change requires a bit of a leap of faith. A leap that may feel rather counterintuitive, but still feels right because you know deep down there must be a better way for you to be spending your work days. Ultimately, moving on from your current job means you’re taking a courageous step knowing that meandering off the beaten path is sometimes necessary to uncover a better way forward.

Myth 2: You must make a drastic change

When you mention the idea of career change to people, they often conjure up this image of someone storming into her manager’s office and declaring, “I quit!” Or someone abrputly leaving his office job behind to go write a book in the woods. Or someone packing up and moving to a new city to start a brand new life and career.

Sometimes, it feels like the only solution to your career woes is to change everything, to start over from scratch. I’ve done this myself. I’ve walked away from a 10 year career path and started over, moved to an island to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and relocated to a different country to address some aspect of dissatisfaction in my life. However, while these dramatic moves might make for a great stories, dealing with job dissatisfaction doesn’t always have to be so drastic.

This reminds me of a great lesson from Tony Robbins about how small changes can make a huge difference. About how you may only be 1 millimeter off from being where you want to be in life.

Changing careers doesn’t mean you have to change everything in your job in order to be happy. Sometimes, it means making a small tweak. I once had a situation where I wasn’t happy with my job, but simply shifted from one project to another which made all the difference. Another time, I thought I disliked being in the marketing industry as a whole. But when I shifted brands, my passion for marketing was rekindled.

So if you’re not feeling happy with your career situation, and you don’t have the stomach to make a huge leap or drastic change, you may be able to “fix” things by making a tweak. I think of a job broadly being made up of 6 components: industry, company, function, role, culture, and geography. You may be able to improve your situation drastically by tweaking one of these things instead of all of them at once. In fact, an iterative approach can work really well if you’re trying to diagnose exactly what’s wrong.

Myth 3: Change creates a moment of triumph

We’ve all seen those blog posts where someone’s sharing a personal reflection on how making a big career decision led to complete fulfilment and total happiness. You hear these stories about overnight successes and people finally “making it,” once they discover their true passion!

Everyone loves a good reinvention story, right?

For example, I absolutely LOVE the movie Chef. Jon Favreau plays a head chef who quits his restaurant job to start his own food truck after getting fed up with not being able to cook the food he wants. I love how he decides to create a fresh start for himself. I love how he goes out on a limb, how his sous chef buddy from the restaurant swoops in to help him, how he rediscovers his passion for cooking, and how so many things fall into place for him after he makes the brave move. This movie is one of my all-time favorites. I watched it a few months after I made a similar decision to branch off on my own, so the movie really struck a chord with me.

Now, I actually do think a lot of career changes, when made for the right reason, can and do result in people being much more happier and fulfilled. When I left my corporate job to start my own business, the meaning, balance, and overall satisfaction in my life skyrocketed. And I actually do hear from people now who have admired the move I chose to make.

However, the unbeaten path can also be a very lonely one. For all the people who have commended me for making a career change, more questioned my decision when I was in the thick of making my move. While part of my professional circles stayed intact, others parts of it quickly disappeared. I experienced a lot of disenfranchisement from the professional networks, industry associations, and social groups I once belonged to when I was working as a full-time marketer.

Change is hard. It takes time, persistence, and a tremendous amount of patience. Having observed the trajectories of many people who have changed directions in their careers, reaching the point of true fulfillment or satisfaction can sometimes take years to achieve. And while making intentional, positive changes in your career can create significant improvements, rarely does a moment of triumph occur as the result of a single pivot or decision where the skies part and all is right with the world. Instead, it tends to typically happen after arduously paving out a new path, brick-by-brick, until you eventually turn a pivotal corner that’s only comes after many days, months, and years of consistent, hard work.

Myth 4: You must have a complete plan before you proceed

Sometimes, when you hear the career narratives of people who have relaunched their careers, it seemed like they had a really grand plan of how all the pieces would fall into place mapped out from the start. That makes sense, right? Making a career change is so daunting, so one way to mitigate the risk could be to create a solid plan from start-to-finish of how you’re going to get from where you are today to where you want to go.

I can definitely empathize with the idea of having a plan before you start a new endeavor. I’m much more comfortable having a plan vs. NOT having a plan. Whenever I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs personality survey as part of corporate team-building exercises, my test results have consistently, without fail, ranked me as the most extreme “J” (aka “Planner”) on my teams, a pattern that’s held true across three different companies and three different teams made up of people who already tend to skew toward being planners.

Unfortunately, the need to have an end-to-end, comprehensive career plan can actually create an insurmountable barrier to change. I see many career changers get caught up in a paralyzing chicken or egg spiral. On the one hand, someone wants to have a career path ironed out before making the move. But on the other, you have to sometimes test out that career path to know if it’s right or wrong. Therein lies the conundrum.

Also, creating a full-blown plan itself can be very daunting. It’s hard enough to figure out your next step, let alone your next 10 steps. Excess planning can sometimes get in the way of concrete progress.

   You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. You have to trust the dots will somehow connect in your future. –Steve Jobs

I’ve found that the people who end up being able to pull of a career change aren’t necessarily those who have it all planned out. Instead, they’re the people who decided to just start somewhere and proactively explore other routes, even if those initial explorations ended up not being 100% perfect or fruitful. This might mean taking an evening course, attending an online webinar, getting a professional certification, or starting up a side project as a way of testing the waters.

As John Maynard Keynes once said, “It is better to be roughly right than precisely wrong.” So when you know you’re in the wrong job, even taking a small step in broadly the right direction can create concrete progress that eventually enables the career change you’re seeking.

Career change is not easy, but it can be achieved

Career Change Achieved

In the end, being able to separate these myths from reality allows you to be more prepared to deal with the real dynamics and challenges of making a career change. Simply being aware that change involves some serious bravery, tweaking as you go, some solitude at times, and the willingness to start somewhere without a fully mapped out plan is the first step toward being at peace with the thrilling and challenging journey ahead.

Hear more about these myths at, where you can watch my full talk at General Assembly, London to learn more about my own story of career change, the 7 stages of career change, these 4 myths, and enablers of change. The part where I talk more about these myths starts around 20:00.

Joseph P. Liu is a Career Consultant, Podcast Host and Speaker.   Contact him at