New Year’s Resolutions for your Career or Business: Do’s and Don’ts





The problem with New Year’s Resolutions

The nature of the word “resolution” refers to solving or fixing something. That’s the major downside of New Year’s resolutions; they come from a negative place of feeling “not good enough”, making us wish to fix ourselves in order to be perfect and that’s not a very motivating place to be. And because of this, the initial adrenalin rush from setting resolutions gets replaced by our lack of motivation and soon becomes a forgotten notion.

We don’t need to be fixed, we need to grow.

We, as humans, are not broken, and we don’t need fixing. However, we are driven by fulfillment and we need to experience a life of meaning. Sell-fulfillment is achieved when we satisfy our need to continuously grow and our need to meaningfully contribute to the world. At times, we get so busy with our daily routine that we forget how important it is to fulfill our need to grow.

This year, instead of subjecting yourself to fail on your resolutions again, let’s go with a new approach. While you’re reading this, mark today as an opportunity to set new habits and behaviors and to continue to pursue them consistently.

Here are my tips on what to do and what not to do this year to help you reach your professional goals.



Take a stock of where you currently are in your professional career path and where you want to be. If you’re past your 50s, you could be in a wide range of places in your career. The great thing is, you’ve already got a lot of experience behind you but there’s also a long way to go. Figure out what you want next.

As hard as it might be, the trick is to sit down and be real with yourself.

Do: Clearly define your goals.

Research shows that a lot of people fail to reach their goals because they don’t set definitive ones. Instead of ambiguous ones such as “grow in my field” or “get better at my job”, set specific objectives. It could be “I want to take the lead on 5 projects this year” or “I want to be promoted to Marketing Director by the end of the year”.

Don’t: Set unrealistic expectations.

Don’t overburden yourself by setting too many goals. Pick one or two specific areas that you want to improve on and work at them. This will ensure you stay focused and you aren’t wearing yourself too thin.



You might be one of those individuals who love their current jobs and aren’t looking for a major change. If that’s the case, it’s time to figure out how you can grow at your company and get the most out of your job.

Do: Work harder to meet the demands of your job

Practice your skill more. Find out what you can do to drastically improve the quality of your work. No matter how educated or how long you’ve been in a profession, there’s always more to learn.

Don’t: Let the fear of uncertainty or rejection stop you.

Don’t be afraid to ask for more responsibility on projects if you’re confident you can handle it. Or those great ideas you’ve been afraid to share at team meetings. Speak up, you’ve got nothing to lose.

Do: Earn more respect at your office

Take notice of the professional habits of senior leaders you look up to. Dress well and be on time. Try to procrastinate less and use your hours at work more wisely. Having a great work ethic always goes a long way.

Don’t: Indulge in work place gossip

Office gossip and drama is a normal part of every workplace culture. Though you can’t avoid it, you can do your best to stay away from it. Be friendly and helpful to your coworkers but always keep a professional demeanor.



If you’re looking for a new job or a change in career, here’s what you need to focus on this year:

Do: Strengthen your personal brand

A well drafted cover letter and updated resume is key, but having a strong online presence is also a determining factor in today’s hiring process. Make sure your social media profiles are free from embarrassing pictures and content you don’t want your employers finding. Join industry groups online, follow trends and share resourceful articles on your profile. It might be unfamiliar territory, but step out of your comfort zone and establish yourself online.

Don’t: Forget to keep up with technology

Make a conscious consistent effort to stay in tune with the latest technology. There are classes online to help with this. Whether its social media or software updates in your field, you need good technical skills to make advances in your career. Don’t be the person that looks lost when it comes to tech and loses an opportunity to someone younger because you’re afraid of a smartphone.

Do: Build your network

Having a strong network in the industry can be a game changer when it comes to securing a job. Build a strong network of contacts on LinkedIn. Stay in touch with friends and family members that have made great advances in their profession and strengthen your relationship with them. Attend networking events, start conversations with new contacts and grab every opportunity of meeting new people.



Are you happy at your current job but unsure about what your next steps should be? Are you confused about switching a career this late in the game or starting your own business? We all grow through professional cross roads at some point in our lives.

While you’re on the fence about it, here’s what you can do to help steer you in the right way.

Do: Update your resume

Make sure it includes all your achievements and projects over the past year. Highlight new skills you’ve acquired. Consistently keep your resume updated.

Don’t: Forget lessons learned

Look back on everything you’ve learned so far and stay in tune with it. Whether it’s a new skill you’ve learned or something regarding your profession, make sure you practice and stay on top of it.

Do: Get a mentor

If you’re confused about which direction your career is headed, get help. No matter what your age, it’s never too late to get a mentor or a life coach. Find someone with experience that can help guide you.

Don’t: Be afraid of change

Sometimes we get stuck in our comfort zones and are scared to change. Don’t be stuck and don’t settle. As familiar as your current situation is, there’s always more waiting for you, if you want it.

Do: Be prepared for new opportunities

Even if you’re not currently looking to switch, you never know when an irresistible opportunity might come along. Always be proactive with your efforts. Continue to learn and build your skills and grow your network.


A good way to help you stay consistent is to remind yourself that investing time and energy towards improving your skills and career is an investment in yourself and your future.


Want to find out how your style and brand impact your professional success? Sign up for my 11-page self assessment work- book that will help you stand out and get noticed, without ever saying a word @

Year-End Check-Up! 2017 Style Tips

Since our mid-year check up blog post was highly popular, we decided to refresh your memory with some of the highlights. Can you believe it’s already mid December? But before we move on to a new year, let’s go over some style tips we learned in 2017.

The end of the year is the perfect time to check in with yourself. It’s time to look back on your outfits and style choices of the year and figure out if this is the personal brand you’re trying to showcase to the world.

Here are 5 ways to analyze your personal style choices and revamp your outfits.

It makes a great difference in how you feel. You can start with one simple change.


First and foremost you must have the appropriate clothing in your closet in order to have something to wear on a daily basis.

Organize your closetDo you sometimes pass over new jeans, morning after morning, in favor of an old pair?  Only 20 percent of the clothes in the average person’s closet are worn on a regular basis, according to a survey from California Closets. Another survey by Voucher Cloud revealed that the average woman has $550 dollars of unworn clothing in her closet. Most commonly unworn items in her closet are shoes and coats.

Decide what type of clothing you need to have in your closet. For instance, if you are working a full-time job, then you should have over 80% of your closet filled with business clothes. The other 20 percent could be casual, sporty, casual chic, and a few items for evening wear, depending on what you need.

Sort through pieces you haven’t worn in ages and get rid of the ones you’re not likely to wear again.  Once your wardrobe is filled with pieces you love to wear, you will never say you have nothing to wear again.

Wear colors that compliment your skin tone

I was surprised to find out how little people consider their skin tones when picking out color choices. In my opinion, it makes a world of difference to your look.

Examine your closet and experiment with different colors to find out which hues work best with your complexion. Ask a close friend (one whose fashion opinion you trust!) what colors look good on you and work best with your skin.

It will also be beneficial for you to understand your skin surface tone, which is the color you’d describe yourself (light, medium, tan, dark, etc). Your skin’s undertone is the color underneath the surface. You can have the same skin tone as someone, but a different undertone which is as follows:

  • Cool: (pink, red or bluish undertones)
  • Warm: (yellow, peachy, golden undertones)

If you have cool under tones, colors that look great on you include:  mint or kelly green, teal, lavender, purple, navy, hot pink, rose pink and burgundy.

For warm toned skin, colors that look good on you are:  peach, yellow (lemon and mustard, which has more brown tones), brown, red, lime green, orange, kelly green, and mint green.

Are you wearing the appropriate clothing for your Body Type?

Do you know your body shape? This is the first step in feeling good in your clothes and building your personal style. It’s important to make sure your clothes fit in proportion to your body shape.

Knowing your body portions and what you need to adjust or camouflage will make you self consious of your body and can lower your self-esteem.

Explore the 5 different body shapes and identify your body type.

Hourglass, Rectangle, Apple/Oval, Pear/Rectangle, and Inverted Triangle.

HourglassCurves, curves and more curves!
Your shoulders are relatively as wide as your hips/thighs and your waist is distinctly narrower than your shoulders and hips/thighs.

Rectangle– Shoulders are as wide as your hips/thighs. Your waist is as wide as or just narrower than your shoulders and hips/thighs.

Apple/Oval – Shoulders are narrower or as your hips/thighs: from the front view, your waist appears the same width or wider than your shoulders/hips.

Pear/Rectangle – Your hips are wider than your shoulders with a round, sloping shoulders, a well-defined waistline (and might even have killer abs), your buttocks and thighs are full and round. Pear body shapes gain weight on their thighs.

Inverted Triangle – Your shoulders are wider than your waist and hips/thighs.

Complete your outfit with accessories

Accessories complete the outfit and have the power to instantly make you comfortable in your own skin and boost your confidence. Here are a few accessories you can try out in different seasons:

  • A pair of comfy sandals, flats or heels – I’m always looking for style and comfort and I think the designers finally got it right. There are so many stylish and comfortable selections out for recently including Birkenstock’s, slide-in mules or heels with ankle straps and snug boots.
  • A sassy handbagTry a color like coral, blue or yellow. You’ll be surprised how much the handbag adds a pop of color and updates your outfit.
  • Statement sunglassesA classy pair of sunglasses can take you from drab to fab, instantly. You will also beat the heat, in style, during the hotter months.
  • Hats – They protect you from the sun and in colder months, warmer hats are good accessories that also cover your ears.

Never again leave the house feeling uncomfortable about your style choice

If you don’t feel 100% confident about your clothing choice before leaving the house, then don’t wear it. Try this quick trick — take a full-length picture of yourself and see how you look. The camera doesn’t lie. I always do this when I’m trying on sunglasses and want to select the right style. I can always tell which ones I should buy based on the picture and how I feel in them.

You will be able to recognize the right outfit at the moment you look in the mirror and feel nothing but pride, satisfaction, happiness, empowerment and confidence in what you’re wearing.


By doing all of these things you will continue to feel better about how you look and present yourself to the world. Its starts with how you feel about your style.

The end of the year is always a great time to evaluate what has been working for you. It helps put things in perspective for the new year.

To your beauty,

For a complete Color Analysis, including a FREE color palette of your customized colors, contact Brenda at or call (707) 648-7991 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

How to Use Photos to Build Your Personal Brand

I recently went to Birmingham, Alabama, to visit my daughter and had the pleasure of meeting Gretchen Birdwell, who is a photographer in the area. Gretchen did a photoshoot of my daughter and me, which was such an inspiring and wonderful learning experience. I decided to share some tips so you all can learn the importance of using photos to build your personal brand.

The music playing in the background helped me relax and Gretchen made sure I was comfortable and feeling beautiful and special in front of the camera. I learned the many ways of camouflaging certain parts of the body to look my best. For instance, positioning my chin in an outer motion to create a younger appearance, as well as standing in a way that makes my body look long and lean. I also posed in my own natural ways to show the real side of me, instead of restricting my poses in the photos. Of course, lighting and background is important in any shoot, so Gretchen was prepared with the correct backgrounds that would work with our skin complexion.

It was totally a rewarding experience. The best part is that I felt so beautiful and she made me look even better. You can see the behind the scenes video of our photo shoot here.

All my personal brand photos online and in my newsletter were taken by Gretchen Photography.

You can check out more of her work and information about her here.

I decided it was time to take new photos since my style has recently evolved. I wanted to show a different, more fun and business casual chic side of my personality. My main style has been a classic and professional look and I decided to extend my brand to a different side. The clients I serve not only include professionals but also non-working, work from home and retired women.

Photos tell your story better than any written word. People want to see what you look like or what you do before they contact you. It helps them connect to you better. They can even get a glimpse of your character from photos before they talk to you. Did you know you can sense a natural or a fake smile just by the picture and whether you are trustworthy or not? If you are an artist, you should also show your painting or photos of you in the studio. All of these techniques help to build your brand. Make it easy for your audience to see you at a glance and learn what your brand is all about.

Studies also show 43% to 75% of employers check social media prior to hiring and everyone should invest in putting his/her best foot forward online.

If you are no longer in the job market, but are running a business and sell any type of service or product, it’s critical to have your website with a picture included.

You will know it’s time for new photos when your current ones don’t represent all of who you are anymore as well as your core values (which is your total brand). You should have a mixture of headshots and candid photos that represent your brand. But headshots are typically the images you will use as profile photos. If you’re one of those that tried to crop a friend out of your picture to use for your profile or you’re still hanging on to that old school photo wearing shoulder pads and teased hair, you don’t need me to tell you it’s time to refresh it up!

It all boils down to people are being exposed to 5,000 marketing messages daily. Everyone is trying to figure out who they can trust and photos help answer the question. Looking at a picture will project who you really are.

What your photos say

Profile pictures provide both “open” and “hidden” hints.

“Open” hints are the messages that you deliberately choose to communicate in the picture, in other words, the impression you project. If you take a picture with a hat, this could be your signature style and project that you are a hat person.

“Hidden” messages are the ones where people see the underlining image of what you cannot hide. For instance, if you take pictures at distance it may give a hint of security. If you are tilting your head and smiling, you project dependence. When you stand with your hands crossed below your chest area, you look like you are in a position of power. Make sure to take the photo in a pose that represents your brand to project the impression you want to present.

I recommend taking getting professionally photos that are not staged but reflect your personality and brand. If not, the desired impression will be weakened and not trustworthy. Show movement in the photo, for example, looking away from the camera or standing and shifting leg movements to show the real you. Photos that are too staged do not represent the real you. You want to show your business and fun side in the photos. People are looking for others who are authentic and they can trust. This is the real bottom-line of why photos are so important.

In conclusion, here a few simple do’s and don’ts to building your personal brand with photos:

Don’t do:

  • Photos that are badly lit, or out of focus or of poor quality
  • Don’t use stock photography


  • Tell your story with professional photos
  • Post regular content with good quality images
  • Post photos that will start a conversation with your audience
  • Invest in a good quality set of photos that build your personal brand (a professional photographer)

Join the conversation! I want to hear from you. Respond to any of the questions below.

Are your current photos due for a refresh? If you are planning a photo shoot, do you know what colors look good on you? Do you know what type of photos and poses to take that represent your brand?



Is Your Personal Brand Working for You?


YourBrandHave you ever thought about how people perceive you? What does your reputation stand for? How do you want to be seen? How do you know when you make a memorable impression on people?

These days, everything you do in the public impacts your brand and your professional success. If you are interested in seeking a new job, being promoted, or making a sale for your business, make sure you are being perceived the way you want.

I remember interviewing for a job. I withdrew since I did not want to spend extra time working after hours, and it wasn’t a good fit for me. Two months later, I received a call from the same Vice President who interviewed me. He said that another position was available, and he wanted to know if I was interested. He said he was impressed with me when we had met previously, and he never forgot me.

So how did I leave a memorable impression? It was based on the following three things:

  • My brand was aligned with the way I wanted people to perceive me. My skills and knowledge in the Human Resources field were valuable to the organization and department. They could see my professionalism and that I was customer-service oriented. They needed all of these factors for the position.
  • I made a connection with the interviewer. This means they saw me as a good fit with the culture. They trusted me, and we were able to build a relationship. These factors are also critical in the position.
  • When I withdrew from the position the first time, I made sure to send a nice thank you note within 24 hours and wished them well with the search. They noticed my follow-up skills and integrity.

All of these factors left a memorable first impression on the interviewers; and in turn, I received a job that was a better fit for me through the “Hidden Job Market”. This means the job was never posted, and I had no competition. This is the ideal way to land a job.

I ask you – is your personal brand leaving the memorable first impression with people you want it to? If so, what three things help your brand leave a great impression? If not, how do you start building your brand? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

To your beauty,

For a complete Color Analysis, including a FREE color palette of your customized colors, contact Brenda at or call (707) 648-7991 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.