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Top 5 Career Lessons

I love lists. Just yesterday I read a doctor’s delightful Top 10 list on prescriptions for happiness. Orderly lists reassure me there’s a path forward. These days I read lists and choose the items that resonate most with me. Today it’s #7.

In honour of my love of lists, here’s a countdown of the lessons I learned while writing my eBook, Career Advice: What I Wish I Knew When I Was 24.

1. Advice vs. Feedback

Surprisingly, my editors found this piece of “advice” the most valuable. Advice vs. Feedback says you gain more insight by asking for advice instead of feedback. Feedback creates resistance because most of us associate it with criticism.

Advice, on the other hand, has positive connotations. You can freely give advice because it’s about your internal experience instead of your interpretation (i.e. feedback) of someone else’s behaviour. The recipient can take it or leave it based on what they need in that moment.

2. Don’t Make Assumptions

A Career Advice contributor recommended a book she received from a mentor, The Four Agreements. One agreement says, Don’t Make Assumptions. The writer, Miguel Ruiz, explains that we make assumptions to feel safe. We assume because we lack the courage to ask and/or because we think others see the world as we do.

One editor didn’t know what “groupthink” meant. I thought it was a common term. I “assumed” everyone knew it. And in that small assumption, I lost my audience because they were now wondering, “What does this word mean?” instead of focusing on the content of the text. I changed it to “herd mentality” and that clicked better.

3. Be Generous

I received lots of career advice from people genuinely interested in sharing what they’ve learned. People talked about the importance of a growth mindset, imposter syndrome, gut instinct, the value of networking, career moves, “can do” attitude, travelling in your 20s, and the main question we ask kids, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I appreciate the willingness of these leaders to be vulnerable. To say what they wish they did – and didn’t – do. Most importantly, I feel reassured by the generosity of spirit seen in these “advice-givers.” They provide a roadmap for young adults through their life experiences.

4. Know My Audience

Writing this book felt overwhelming at times. I had to decide what was important and what to discard. I asked, How do I impart key messages without over-generalizing or becoming overly specific?

Eventually, I saw themes emerge (figuring it out, soft skills, thriving) which became the framework. I realized this frame needed a roof – leadership – which so many young adults want to understand.

I thought about what my audience wanted to know. In the end, I removed a section that I valued because it created confusion for my target audience. It was hard to relate it to the chapter’s theme without diving into much more detail which, in turn, derailed the overall message of the chapter.

5. Jungle Gym

My audience liked the visual of career-as-a-jungle-gym instead of a ladder. Here’s one instance where my audience and I aligned completely. I wish I knew this when I was 24. Then I wouldn’t have suffered so much when I didn’t feel I climbed it quickly enough.

Header Photo by Matias North on Unsplash, Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash, Photo by Andrea Lightfoot on Unsplash, Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash, Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash, Photo by S. Tsuchiya on Unsplash

Age and Stage

So, there you go. Lists simplify but they also clarify. And amplify. Reviewing my Top 5 Lessons, I wonder what I’d say if I wrote it after this book in a version created 20 years from now. I certainly couldn’t have written this book 20 years ago.

Age and stage. Ahh, there’s a lesson in that.

You have to be open minded in order to grow. The coaching that Laura gave me opened my eyes to what and how I was doing things and allowed me to see the bigger picture. I am not done yet but I already see the changes in my everyday life.


I think coaching is a great way to help you clear your mind when you get stuck with overwhelming situations or when stepping into changes in your life.


Coaching is life changing. It pushes you outside your comfort zone and challenges your perspectives.  It is highly motivating and the exercises and techniques used are both fun and informative.  I think the main benefits of coaching are to see yourself, others and the world more clearly.  I think coaching is valuable to anyone regardless of where you are in your life or career.


I honestly never thought I’d need a coach. I thought coaching was for CEOs and industry VIPs. I didn’t think it was for the “little guys” (i.e. me). Now, I’m of the belief that everyone – yes, EVERYONE – needs a coach. Coaching has really benefitted me and I’m so grateful to have had that time with Laura. It’s changed my life!


Laura is very patient. She took the time to understand what was causing me to be stuck where I am today and help me build a better vision so I can continue to grow.


I think Laura’s coaching was what I had been waiting for. Laura was so approachable, kind, and open. Her willingness to help and support made a difference for me. I found in her coaching new strategies, ideas, and perspectives that I could incorporate into my goals and objectives that I didn’t see before.


Laura is an incredibly intuitive, positive and caring coach. Her techniques helped me recognize both my strengths and areas I might want to explore as I embark on the next chapter of my career. The exercises she employed were instrumental in providing self perspective and challenging my frames of reference.


Laura is a natural coach. Her probing and compassionate questions helped me learn about myself: my value system, interests, goals and strengths.


Coaching sessions with Laura gave me new perspectives on how to process specific feelings and situations in life.  She showed me how to sit with my emotions, acknowledge them, and then use visualization strategies to move through them.  I now feel more confident and in control of how I choose to walk through life.


From the beginning, Laura put me at ease, creating a safe, open space for me to talk and share freely without fear of judgement. I loved the variety of approaches she used depending on the topic we were working on and it was fun being able to try out things I wouldn’t have considered before! With Laura’s coaching, I substantially grew my confidence in the workplace, overcame fears, dealt with issues I’d been carrying around for many years and, most importantly, learned to value myself and define a path forward into the future.


Laura’s coaching was a breath of fresh air and EXACTLY what I needed at that point of my life. I didn’t realize how impactful coaching was going to be, but by the end of the sessions together, I left feeling refreshed, inspired and genuinely curious about what my future held for me. Because of Laura and her coaching, I believe I became a better person – someone who is more open-minded, someone with a clearer focus, and someone who is willing to explore opportunities and possibilities far more than I ever did before.


I engaged Laura for coaching as I took on an expanded role leading an asset management company in Canada. As a female, I knew I would be a role model and had high expectations of myself. I was feeling overwhelmed and anxious.

In our first few coaching sessions we worked through exercises that allowed me to reflect on my purpose, leadership style and what mattered most to me. I continue to be grounded by the clarity I achieve in my coaching sessions – allowing me to be resilient and confident when challenges came my way.