Here comes summer!

Here comes summer!

My favorite season is around the corner. I love summer. I grew up in Michigan and was surrounded by lakes to swim in. As a youngster I would get to swim all day while my mother cleaned the homes of the “summer people”. It is surprising she let us because she was terrified of the water. We took our swimming lessons in the “ice tea” water of the river.

As a teenager I drove around with a swimsuit, floatie and towel in the trunk of my car and never missed a chance to jump in the lake. That swimsuit didn’t take up much room because it was a little orange bikini. When I was a teen it didn’t really matter what I wore, I thought it looked great. Now I find myself looking at bathing suits with a much different eye. I want a bit more coverage for lots of reasons. And I want some substance to it so there isn’t any jiggling! Funny how what we think about ourselves and our bodies changes over the years.

When I went to college one of my room mates wouldn’t go swimming because she couldn’t stand how she looked in a swimsuit. I felt so sorry for her but didn’t even realize that not going swimming because you hated how you looked was a possibility let alone have any idea how to help her

50 some years later, I have created a video about those messages we send ourselves. I believe hearing them is the first step to changing them. Next week I’ll share some tips on changing them.

For now I invite you to dream about what you will do in whatever swimsuit you get. Maybe you will just lounge by the pool in the warm sunshine, or kayak down the river, or waterski or actually swim! Those days are coming and finding a swimsuit that lets you comfortably do those activities you love is the first step. Did you know you can save some grief in the fitting room by knowing what style of suit will work best with your body type?

You can snag my guide to swimsuits by body type here.

Swimsuits are made from some of the least environmentally friendly fabrics there are so getting one that you love and would love to wear until it wears out is one way to save the earth. Taking care to rinse out the chlorine right after you use it and gentle washing will extend the life.

You may get lucky and find something at a thrift, vintage or consignment shop and if you do I admire your diligence.

I found this article from The Good Trade with links to several swim manufacturers using recycled plastics for swimwear. I plan to try Summersalt when my current suit wears out.

Summersalt also had a quiz to shop for certain features (including butt coverage and torso length) by size to help you choose a swimsuit.  And pricing was quite reasonable.

I hope to be in the water enough this summer to wear out my suit. How about you?

What are your favorite swimsuit memories?

Nailing that Virtual Interview

Nailing that Virtual Interview

If it has been awhile since you have interviewed for a job you might be surprised at the hiring process that is used now.  To save everyone time, keep traffic down and to test your tech savviness, hiring has gone online. Your chance to shine in person has been replaced by a chance to shine (and possibly be recorded) in the vast virtual world.

What can you do to show up and shine forth your best side? Just four things are needed Prepare, be on time, nail the technology and practice.

  1. Preparation – Prepare for an online interview just like you would an in person interview.
    • Make sure you know where you are meeting and how you are going to get there even though it is in the virtual world. Keep any meeting id’s or passwords  handy and make sure your computer or phone are charged so you won’t run out of power at an inopportune time.
    • Dress the part. Research the company’s dress code and dress up one level. Yes. I recommend dressing top and bottom and putting on shoes. Then you will feel like you are doing business and not chatting with your mom (although there is some benefit to feeling as relaxed and comfortable as if you are chatting with your mom). Wear a flattering color near your face that gets the message you want to share across. (blue is typically seen as a trustworthy reliable color while purple is seen as more creative and or more juvenile) Showing up ready to shine shows respect for yourself and the interviewer
    • Have your notes and any questions you want to ask placed nearby for easy access. Have a paper and pen for note taking.
    • Figure out where you will have the interview. This will have to be a place that is quiet, free from distractions and with good internet.
    • Prepare your background. What is behind you should look organized and clean. An online interview lets the interviewer literally see into your home if you let them. A blank wall or one with some neutral photographs of nature or landscapes is the best. A pile of boxes and disorganized papers or dirty dishes is not. Some technologies will allow you to set up your own neutral background like a wallpaper behind you. This can be a good choice if it is hard to find neutrality in your home.
  1. Be on time – Give yourself 10 or 15 minutes to get set up and be ready to go online a few minutes ahead of the scheduled time. Close out all distracting windows on your computer or phone and turn off audio or visual notifications that might distract you. Don’t eat or drink during the interview and move any food or drink away from your interview space.
  2. Nail the technology – Explore the platform the interviewer will be using and download any needed software ahead of time. Test it out. Make sure your phone or computer camera, microphone and speaker can be accessed by the platform.
  3. In addition to the usual preparing for possible interview questions, practice interviewing on a video. It can be disconcerting to look at yourself while you are interviewing and using the camera and microphone to record yourself and play around ahead of time can be helpful to get comfortable. Find someone to practice with to see how you sound and look. Have them look closely at how you present yourself as well as evaluate your background and surroundings. Know where the camera is and practice looking at it to make eye contact with your interviewer. Play around with the best placement of your computer or phone for a flattering angle. Sit up straight.  Practice smiling and being enthusiastic.  Practice appearing relaxed and confident as well.

This extra time you take preparing for your first online interview will help you feel like a pro at online even if it’s your first time. Good luck. I wish you the best with your job search.

I now offer online interview personal image sessions to help you nail the interview and show your best stuff.

Your real life has become a virtual life

 

 

Your real life has turned into a virtual life. You left work one day and the next you were working from home. The adjustment was abrupt.

There has never been a better time to bring your best when you show up in whatever virtual format your meeting host has chosen. It’s probably true everyone at the meeting will be focused on the presenter or their own image, but why not show up the best for yourself?  This means getting dressed in something you love to wear, turning on your own video (at least for the opening) and being prepared and present. Even introverts (and I am one) are starved for seeing some other real humans in real time doing normal things, so show yourself.

Here’s what I’ve learned from my first few virtual meetings.

  • Being familiar with technology helps. Especially if you are the presenter. You should find someone to practice your presentation with ahead of time. Make sure you are familiar with all the features like sharing your screen, the chat box, turning on your video and audio, muting yourself and figuring out how to find out who else is participating. Each technology  has a help section or introductory tutorial for you to check out ahead of time. If you need to download software to use the platform, do so ahead of time.
  • Make sure your computer or phone video and audio work. It can help to use wired or wireless headsets. You won’t be producing as much background noise when you use these. You may need to give the platform special permissions to access your video and audio so figuring that out on a practice run will make it easier for the real thing.
  • If you don’t want everyone to see the way you really live either find a place in your house that offers a neutral background or create your own. Some technology allows you to change your settings to a virtual background.
  • Be prepared so you don’t have to get up and create visual distractions (remember your boss or co-workers will see you leaving the meeting or doing other work). Have your coffee, water or tea nearby. Have a paper and pen handy for notes or split your screen to take notes on your computer during the meeting. If possible close the door and put up a Do Not Disturb note.
  • Try to figure out how the presenter would like to handle questions and comments. Taking turns and raising hands makes the process go more smoothly. It can be a challenge to get your ideas heard without stepping all over someone else’s input. This is even trickier virtually than it is in real life.
  • Show up like you would if this were an in person meeting. Don’t make the same mistakes I have – by being late, or showing up in pjs.
  • Be present. Don’t work on another project or scroll Facebook while you are in a meeting.
  • Turn off any audible notifications or alarms.
  • Put a little time into your personal appearance. Brush your hair, groom your beard if you decided to grow one, put on some earrings, wear some color and put on a smile (at least during your introduction). I’ve also noticed these meetings can be recorded and sometimes show up as a screenshot in various places. How would you want to show up if this were the case? 

This could be the new normal for a while. How you show up virtually deserves the same courtesy and respect as an in person meeting. Be the person you want others to be and act accordingly. I am offering 30 minute virtual image sessions and technology practice so you can get more comfortable showing up online.

If you need a good laugh, I recommend watching this skit from Saturday Night Live’s virtual show on April 11. 

Slip ups

Slip ups

I should know better. I believe how you show up matters. But sometimes you just need to show up and I am embarrassed to say this is how I showed up for a 7 am zoom meeting this week. I could beat myself up but I won’t. I am also sure I won’t repeat this mistake. I didn’t get up in time to show up how I wanted but I showed up. I made a bad decision and will get up earlier next time as well as make sure the camera is off.

Have you had some slip ups? Don’t fall off the wagon.

Take a little trip with Stella from @letsgowithstella and learn why you shouldn’t give up your whole game plan with just 1 trip.

Style words for the day = nap

Style words for the day = nap

How are you owning your 9 while you stay at home? Have you put any thought into how you feel when you get dressed for another day (probably at home)? Now is the perfect time to play around with what you put on for the day to see if it changes the way you feel.

Today was grocery day so I wore what I wore yesterday knowing it was going to have to go into the wash as soon as I got back into the safe zone so I am actually on my second outfit for the day. And it is pretty obvious the words I was looking for for the rest of the day were comfort, slouch and warmth.  This outfit is sort of a danger zone however because it is all stretchy meaning there will be no clothes binding discomfort if I overindulge (I will pay for it with some internal discomfort if it happens).  And we’ll see if I actually get my intended work done. I’m supposed to be putting energy into social media scheduling and with comfort, slouch and warmth in the vocabulary my social media today might just be a picture of me napping.

If you didn’t take a few minutes to create some words to express your style today, take a look at what you are wearing and see what sort of energy they are giving you. Does it make it easier or harder for you to get your work done when you are dressed for naptime?