Kristin Hiemstra

Help! Help! I'm Being Depressed!

For those who love Monty Python’s and the Holy Grail as much as I do, you will notice that this is a modification on the famous dialogue between the King Arthur, ruler of the Britons, and Dennis, the peasant who did not vote for King Arthur. Dennis is not in favor of the dictatorship which the king represents, instead, he prefers an anarcho-syndicalist commune with lots of input and voting from the community. When the Dennis challenges King Arthur on his right to the throne, King Arthur has him dragged away and Dennis begins yelling “Help, Help, I’m being repressed!” (King Arthur obtained his position of King because he pulled a sword, Excalibur, out of a stone and The Lady of the Lake therefore declared him King. An obstinate Dennis declares “strange women lyin’ in ponds distributin’ swords is no basis for a system of government”) The thing that makes Monty Python’s Holy Grail so great is the pure absurdity of it all.   So, where I am going with this? One of the things that bothers me the most in the world – yes, that much – is how people view themselves when they are not working for someone else. Many unemployed people are depressed and don’t feel good about themselves because they don’t feel like they have value. “After all,” they reason, “if I were valuable why would the...

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Forget the Pity Party

As a school counselor it has been my sincere pleasure in life to work with thousands of families from all different racial, economic, and cultural backgrounds. I’ve worked with traditional families in which there was a father, mother, two children and a dog, as well as ones that have two moms, two dads, one parent, and everyone is a different race. It is true, almost everyone comes through the public schools and as a school counselor, I’ve really had a taste of America.   Doing this work has absolutely influenced my parenting style because I’ve had the unique opportunity to see what works as well as what does not.  Though I have access to grades, they are not what I use as a barometer of parenting success – to me it is all about character and the courage to be comfortable in one’s own skin. Some of the most wonderful people I know have not boldly succeeded in all of the academic endeavors they have undertaken.    To me the true test of a character is how a person deals with problems. For example, most of us know better than to steal. And, when you don’t need anything, the choice not to steal is a relatively easy. The same is true with being a nice person; when you have everything you need, it is easier to be nice than...

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4 'Must-Do' Tips for Applying to College

College application season is upon us, and seniors from around the area are looking for higher educational opportunities that will take them into their bright futures. Having worked with thousands of families during this process, I’ve had the unique experience of seeing what works and what does not when it comes to getting those compelling applications out the door. For you, dear readers, I’ve put together a few of my favorites. Enjoy.   Tip 1: Organize your student’s college application process:   a. Find your student’s natural areas of interest and preferred learning environment to determine if a technical school or a liberal arts school is the best fit.   b. Make college visits to schools of interest. Be sure to include small, medium and large schools.   c. Identify 3 schools to apply to, including a reach, a competitive and a safety school.   d. Put a calendar together indicating all important dates. Try to get the application complete and mailed at least one week ahead of the deadline.   Tip 2: Present your student in the best light to the teachers and counselors who will be writing recommendations.   a. Make an appointment to get to know your counselor better.   b. Give both teachers and counselors a month lead time to write a recommendation.   c. In a folder, provide your teacher and counselor with a...

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10 Tips in Making it Through the College Application Process

College application season is upon us and finally all that hard work is going to pay off. Students are busy writing their essays, moms and dads are busy trying not to nag, and college admission’s counselors are traveling at neck breaking speed around the nation trying to encourage applicants to apply. Here are a few tips that can help this process go smoothly for everyone involved.  Get Organized. Your young adult is going to handle the college application process the same way they have handled all academic assignments in the past. If they habitually procrastinate and wait until the last minute to do things, they will do the same during this time. You can help them by providing organizational tools such as a wall calendar with deadlines so they know when to do things like: request transcripts, take the SAT, request recommendations, attend meetings, etc…  Have an angle and a plan. It’s no secret colleges are competitive. Each college is looking for a well rounded student body not necessary a well rounded student. Decide ahead of time which aspect of your student you want to highlight for example, academics, trumpet playing, sports, passion for classical languages, etc… and develop a plan to showcase that talent.  Set restrictions up front. If your have certain financial and geographical restrictions let your child know so they don’t waste their time researching schools that...

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Five Hassle-Free Ways to Save Money

Recently I had award winning author Laura Adams, aka “Money Girl” on the Art of Potential show to share easy ways to maximize your hard earned money. She authors the top-rated Money Girl podcast that has been downloaded over 10 million times; to listen to a podcast of our interview click here.  Laura has taken some of her simple tips as well as helpful websites and provided us with (drumroll):  Five Hassle-Free Ways to Save Money by Laura Adams   Saving money doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does require you to scrutinize your expenses. Here are 5 tips for hassle-free ways to cut costs and save money:   Tip #1: Update Your Banking   Shop around for a better checking or savings account that pays you more interest and charges zero fees. The best bank accounts reimburse ATM fees, never charge for debit cards or paper checks, have no minimum balance requirement, offer free online bill pay, and are FDIC-insured. Find a high-yield account at sites like checkingfinder.com and depositaccounts.com.   Tip #2: Optimize Credit Card Debt   Why pay more interest that you absolutely have to? If you’re carrying a balance on a high interest credit card, learn more about moving it to a less expensive card or using a balance transfer card to save hundreds or thousands of dollars in interest each year. Search for...

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How to Catch A Case of "Spirit"

As I learned in my recent radio interview with him, Rev. Haywood Holderness is not a man with outspoken opinions until you ask him if it is our responsibility to feed each other. Suddenly this gentle giant gets fired up and if you aren’t donating food to your local food bank my advice is to run and do so quickly. In a world full of food, his answer is a resounding ‘yes’ and he means it.     Perhaps the “Rev.” gave you a clue that Haywood is a clergyman. Unlike many of his ilk, in addition to a degree in Theology, he also holds an MBA from Wharton School of Business, oh, and I should probably mention he was a code breaker for the US military. Far from a man with his head in the theological clouds, he is a man of God, living in the real world with homelessness, drug addict, and greed. Because we are created in the likeness of God, he believes we will triumph over all of these things and he takes daily steps to make that happen by finding resources for non-profits. Haywood is a man with a great case of Spirit.    Regardless of your personal title for spirit, I am referring to the driving force in life that compels us all to strive to make the world a better place. To me, the word spirit has some energetic implications, for...

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3 Tips to be Happier or Make Someone Else Happy Now

For many of us, happiness is like a unicorn, something exquistly beautiful that is just beyond our reach. Whether it is more money, a more supportive family, a healthier body, or fill in the blank with your personal desire, many of us have this idea that happiness is just around the corner. While it is true that people who live below the poverty line report less happiness and more stress, for the rest of us the research does not bare out that winning the lottery will change our lifelong happiness line – though for the first few days you just maybe in a state of bliss. So let’s talk about what we do know: 1. Happiness is a lot like being physically fit, you have control over it. It may surprise you to learn that happiness is not just something that randomly happens, for those who report the highest levels of happiness (which happen to the be the Amish and Tibetan Monks) happiness comes from the way you orient yourself to life. Both of these populations share a strong belief system in which life is seen as a loving expression of their respective God. This belief leads to a tremendous personal responsibility to create a loving, compassionate, and forgiving world – after all if you are going to manifest God, you have to act like God yourself. Tip one:...

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How to Become an Interim Senior Manager

This week’s Art of Potential radio show features an interview with Managing Principal, Vince Papi of Executive Smarts. This is a great show for the senior manager who is is looking for project work, or for job seekers who are laid-off and anxious to work. His no-nonsense advice on the value of networking, resumes, and interviews is fantastic for job seekers of all experience levels.  Following are Vince’s observations on the current job market and strategies for becoming an Interim Manager: “Many companies are encountering a shortage of senior management talent. Due to recent downsizings they often have very little executive bench strength and so they consider a flexible talent solution–interim managers–as a way to turn around performance, provide temporary leadership for projects, or assist with transitional periods.  For these reasons interim management assignments are a growing career choice, not a temporary employment opportunity for many individuals. Interim managers bring a breadth of knowledge, experience and relevant best practices to each and every assignment. He or she is generally classified as an energetic, task oriented individual with first class organizational, communication, and diagnostic skills. In order to be considered for an assignment a person must demonstrate certifiable functional skills in areas that include operations, human resources, technology, supply chain, sales, marketing or finance. They should also have a quantifiable record of achievement and demonstrate flexibility and self-sufficiency. There are...

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2 Steps to Career Passion and Fulfillment

We all have things of significance that happen in our lives. However, what is significant to one person maybe not even register in the memory banks of another. This happened to me one time when I caught up with a college friend who reminded me that we had been pulled over by a police officer while I was driving to visit my aunt and uncle in the small town of Hillsdale, MI. I do not get pulled over often, in fact I can count the times on one hand … I think…. I say that because I had no recollection of the event. Perhaps it was because the policeman did not give me a ticket that I do not remember.     In life, this is true for ourselves as well. We are bombarded with experiences every day that form who we are. When trying to determine your career path, it is the memories that stick with you, for better or worse, that often provide the most insights into the area that will ignite your passion. For example, you may know the name Susan Komen because it was her death that inspired the ubiquitous pink ribbon and Race for the Cure. However, you may not know the name Nancy Goodman Brinker. Nancy is Susan’s sister and the force behind the pink ribbon movement. Nancy felt if Susan’s doctors had been...

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How to Be Socially Smarter

Nick Boothman, best selling author of How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less, is one of my favorite writers. He is an expert in face-to-face communication and was a fascinating guest on the Art of Potential radio show. (click here to listen). During the show he shared ways to be socially smarter and has given us permission to reprint them. Here they are from his fabulous Boothman’s Boosts. – Here are 5 ways to be smarter, socially when you walk into a room full of of strangers – in 90 seconds or less. Wear great clothes – more people will take you seriously (don’t over do it – don’t be better than anyone else) Head for the middle (popular people always go to the middle of the room in restaurants, parties classrooms etc.), Move more slowly than usual. People who move fractionally more slowly than others tend to get noticed and come across as confident and sexy. Get into the habit so it becomes natural: otherwise don’t bother. The three-second rule. Notice someone and within three seconds go over and say something. Do this several times. Ask “Talk-show” question. The best way to start a conversation is with a statement followed by an open question. “I hear Seattle’s a fantastic place. If I only had 3 hours what should I see?” Remember to give feedback....

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