Using the holidays to map a path to your dreams

Twenty Ten Talent Christian McKenzie

Retail marketer and Twenty Ten Talent columnist Christian McKenzie shares how she uses the holidays for personal success planning.

When a new year is approaching, I either feel relieved or panicked. My level of satisfaction with my accomplishments dictates my feelings. Luckily I have a process to determine what I’m feeling and why. I dust off my vision board and note what I have and have not finished. After this year’s assessment, I had no regrets sabotaging my Christmastime cheer, but I strive to improve my career planning skills each year.

December is often a crucial month for personal success planning. If I wait until the new year begins, time can be wasted on trying to envision and quantify goals. I originally got my inspiration from Mickalene Thomas. I visited Thomas’ Origin of the Universe exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. I took a guided tour and learned that as a graduate student at Yale Thomas was not a strong artist. A professor told her that she had unresolved issues with her mother that were affecting her art. She needed to see an art therapist. Then I decided to give art therapy a try. Therapy helped me understand that a small change in one aspect of my life can radically change my entire life.

There have been years where I felt that a lot of money and work were coming in, but it didn’t feel like every gig was contributing to my overall goals. At those times I used continuing education programs, life coaches or therapists to redirect my efforts. Here are some of the career planning resources that I used: – find affordable classes in your city (full disclosure: I’ve taken so many courses Dabble offered to start discounting my classes). – a leading online learning platform – a leading source for training, staffing, and career transitionsfor design, marketing, technology professionals – a life coaching resource – a career destination for media professionals – a networking and mentoring organization for up-and-coming magazine editors and writers – Art therapists covered by health insurance

I have experienced angst around managing money, and this angst would rule how I spent my money. When I was stressed about money, my career suffered. But I worked through it. Here are some books that resonated with me as a woman learning to manage her money:

Money, A Memoir: Women, Emotions and Cash by Liz Perle

Worthy: Boost Your Self-Worth to Grow Your Net Worth by Nancy Levin

Get Rich, Lucky Bitch! Release Your Money Blocks and Live a First Class Life by Denise Duffield-Thomas

The 21-Day Financial Fast: Your Path to Financial Peace and Freedom by Michelle Singletary

If you prefer one-on-one coaching, there is a growing financial therapy industry that can help you address any hang-ups about money. Once you’ve worked through any issues, I’d recommend getting a certified financial advisor to help you with investment and estate planning.

Making sure I set aside time for goal planning is the reason I make the creation of vision boards an annual group activity with my friends over the holidays. If I set a date, I make sure I show up and complete my vision board. If you have a creative steak, which I believe everyone does, use the holiday period to find the right resources to help you map a path to your dreams.


Post by Christian McKenzie

Christian McKenzie is a retail marketer who has worked for Macy’s, Sears and NBC. Currently she’s an Account Manager for Pear, formerly Apparel Media Group. You can follow her journey on Twitter at @xian_mckenzie.

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