Global Leadership Speaker and Premier Work-Life Balance Speaker
Speaking Information at (727) 467-0202 or e-mail

Archive for January 2018

Transition time? Ugh. Here we go again.

Transition blues. Ugh. Here we go again.

Nineteen years ago, I had a plan. I’d quit my job as a journalist, write my book of mentoring wisdom from great women leaders, then get real rich. Talk about career transition and reinvention!

The day I resigned, my friend Susan said, “I hope you understand that it will be a very long time before you see a penny from that book.”

I thought she had no idea how good my book was going to be.

I dove into my dream, all gung-ho and certain of my inevitable success. But soon I became the humiliating cliché of the starving author in transition

Careers move in and out of transition. It's all about the obstacles.

Careers move in and out of transition. It’s all about the obstacles.

who couldn’t find a publisher. I’d left my career to pursue my dream – and I’d failed.

I remember driving through the toll booth on Florida’s Skyway Bridge and seeing a sign that they were hiring toll collectors.

“I wonder if they’ll hire me,” I thought.

That’s how defeated I was. Never mind that I’d been very successful as a journalist and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize four times. Was this my next transition?

A friend shook some sense into me.

“If you lose faith in yourself,” she said, “Then who is going to have faith in you?”

Susan was so right that it would be years before I ever saw a penny from my book. But I persevered and it became a best-seller and then an Oprah book. All of my obstacles led me to a career as a leadership speaker. I never would have imagined that in a million years.

That whole experience, which was both crushing and exhilarating, taught me so much about our career highs and lows. It’s never a straight shot up. There will always be setbacks. If it were easy, everybody would be wildly successful.

And the real challenge is this: Once you figure it out and make it, you have to figure it out and make it again. These days, this world changes so fast that we have to keep re-inventing. That can be exhausting.

Shouldn’t we get to coast a little?

But we don’t get that luxury. I have to do re-invent, too. What worked five years ago doesn’t work now. Reboot or be irrelevant.

Your ability to succeed rests solely on your ability to recalibrate and rebound. If you are sick of proving yourself, you aren’t alone. But you have no choice. You can’t keep doing what isn’t working and you are too smart to just give up.

So, buck up.

Figure it out.

Recalibrate your vision, come up with your task list, expect obstacles and setbacks and always know that, one way or another, you will be successful.

I just finished writing my ninth book – this time, it isn’t about leadership. It’s about dealing with my parents as they aged, faced stroke, Alzheimer’s and dementia, then died. Per usual, I’ve had some obstacles. I had an agent tell me the book was too personal. Another said that nobody wants to read a book like that when they are dealing with those issues. But I persevere for one reason: I needed such a book when I was facing those issues.

And, anyhow, if I don’t have faith in myself – and my work – who’s going to have faith in me?

Fawn Germer is one of America’s most sought-after leadership keynote speakers. She’s the best-selling author of nine books and is one of two women in the top 25 on the prestigious “Guru List” of best leadership speakers worldwide. For speaking information, write



When Your Job Doesn’t Fit Right…

If you have got two left feet, you don’t need to prove a point by becoming a ballerina. Life is never a perfect fit, but it should still fit – especially at work.

Back when I was a reporter, I worked with a man who consistently made fact errors and required three times the editing of anyone else on staff. Since the paper was a union shop, he couldn’t be fired, so he was relegated to night and weekend shifts and given the worst assignments. He told me he’d been “utterly miserable” for all but two years there, yet he wound up staying for more 20, languishing until the paper went out of business. Twenty miserable years!

What was really tragic about it was that he loved technology and math – and was brilliant in those areas. He just wouldn’t pivot toward his strengths. He wouldn’t consider technical writing or IT positions because his miserable reporting job had a good paycheck, benefits and union protection. If only he’d embraced his considerable strengths instead of trying to force success with his considerable weaknesses.

Most of us have what I call a “considerable strength.” Mine is information. I know how to get, process and communicate it on deadline. That is valuable talent. But I also have my considerable weaknesses – math, paperwork, foreign languages, bookkeeping… there’s a long list. So what? I know what I am good at, and I play to my strengths.

Are you playing to your considerable strengths? If you aren’t, your work life is more stressful and less successful than it could be.

Examine what you are doing and decide whether it’s time for a change. If it isn’t going to get better, DO SOMETHING. There is a difference between diving into discomfort so you can learn new things and stubbornly trying to make a bad fit work.

Ask yourself:

  1. How do you feel when you show up for work? Are you more filled with hope and purpose or resignation and dread?
  2. Are you on track to advance? Are you being recognized and rewarded for your contributions? Is there room for you to grow in your job or are you stuck in place?
  3. How are your work relationships? Are your colleagues supporting and advancing you? Do you fit in?
  4. How do you feel on Sunday nights? Are you ready to roll into the next week, or are you anxious?
  5. Is your job fulfilling? Challenging? Purposeful? Or does it just look good on paper and/or provide a reliable paycheck? Does the prospect of doing the same thing for many years excite you or turn you off?

You know in your gut if you are forcing yourself to succeed at your weakness. Explore other options and take your time to find the right fit. Don’t run in and quit your job when you don’t have another one and don’t take the first thing that comes along without careful deliberation. Change is good. Risk is good. Plan your change and fortify your risk.

Few of us get to love every aspect of our work every minute of the day. You will always have to make peace with doing some things you don’t enjoy or might not be great at, but when you fight to make something work that really doesn’t, you are wasting time and wasting life. Are you willing to lose 20 years to a bad fit?