Books to Read: About Strengths

One of the keys to loving your career is to find work that capitalizes on your strengths and innate talents. Capitalizing on your strengths requires, first, knowing what they are. Check out these books to begin finding your strengths and learning how to use them at work.

StandOut 2.0:
Assess Your Strengths, Find
Your Edge, Win at Work

by Marcus Buckingham

StrengthsFinder 2.0:
Discover Your Strengths

by Tom Rath and Gallup

Find Your Why:
A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for
You and Your Team

by Simon Senik

Unstuck at Last:
Using Your Strengths
to Get What You Want

by  Sarah K Robinson

ENJOY A New Approach to
Stress and Burnout

by Nicole Seichter







5 Steps to Qualify for the Job You Want

Want to change jobs, careers or land a promotion but feel you are under-qualified? You are not alone. Most clients who come to us believe they are lacking the skills or experience needed to land the job they really want. First, you are likely WAY more qualified than you give yourself credit. That said, we have a simple formula you can follow to identify and gain any experience you are lacking.

Step 1: Find a Job Description
Find a job description or job posting for the type of role you want. If you are not targeting a specific company, pull 2 or 3 job descriptions for comparison!

Step 2: Identify What They Want
Look through the job description(s) and make a list of everything companies say they want in their ideal candidate. If you pulled multiple job descriptions, many of the skills will overlap. Note these as key qualifications and list the rest as optional.

Step 3: Check All the Experiences You Already Have
Think about experiences you’ve gained in your current and past roles. Draw a check mark next to the requirements you currently fulfill. Don’t get tripped up by industry lingo…. If you have a relatable experience, it counts!

Step 4: Find Your Experience Gap
If you can check off at least 60-70% of the qualifications, than you’re ready for the job! If not (or if you want to seal the deal), then it’s time to skill up. Identify which experiences you can gain in the shortest period of time and circle them.

Step 5: Skill Up
Take control of your career by creating the opportunities you need to accomplish the experiences you circled. Here are a few simple ways you can skill up quickly:
✦  Take on a special project or assignment
✦  Tell your boss what you want to learn and ask for an upcoming opportunity
✦  Volunteer with a non-profit and specify the skill/task you are looking to do
✦  Shadow a friend or colleague to learn more about the area

Ultimately, you are in control of where your career heads. If your career is not heading in the direction you want, then take the reins and steer it where you want to head!

Still feeling uncertain? We are here to help. Find out more here.

Stacey Chambers is #ThrivingonPurpose!

Meet Stacey Chambers

You Must Meet Stacey Chambers!
Once a Child Life Specialist, Stacey Chambers is now a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments. When Stacey’s stage of life changed, she found herself in need of a new career. Check out Stacey’s inspiring story to see how she created a fulfilling career that brings variety, matches her purpose, and allows for much needed family time.


Current Career:  Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments
Prior Career:  Hospital Child Life Specialist

What is your purpose and passion?
I have always felt a strong passion to be an advocate and supporter for children who have unique needs. I think a strength of mine is being able to bring a voice to those in need, thinking outside of the box to achieve higher outcomes, and injecting fun where you may least expect it.
Why did you decide to change careers?
As a child life specialist in a children’s hospital, I worked many long hours, weekends, and holidays.  In anticipation of wanting to have children of my own, I knew that I would prefer a more predictable schedule.  Additionally, the pay at the time was not enough to justify the long hours. Lastly, as a child life specialist, I was faced with many devastating situations – children who passed away, children who had lost limbs or family members in a trauma, etc, and my role was to help share the difficult news, explain a diagnosis, and/or help provide emotional support during painful medical procedures.  I could feel the toll emotionally that it was taking on me, and I felt that would only increase once I had children of my own.
What steps did you take to change careers?
-I explored options available to me at the University associated with the hospital I worked at. I took some exploratory courses and met with department chairs in a few different areas before I settled on obtaining a teaching degree in the area of Special Education/Visual Disabilities.
-For 2 years, I took 2 classes per semester while working.  In order to do this, I moved positions at the hospital to accommodate the course hours.  (I worked 6 am – 2:30 pm at the hospital and took a class 4 pm -7 pm 2 days per week.)
–  I worked a part time job off and on to supplement the cost of the courses and to save money for my student teaching.
-When it was time to do my student teaching, I left my work at the hospital to teach for a semester unpaid.
-I was also planning a move to a new state, so I obtained a separate teaching certificate for Texas and interviewed for jobs in preparation for a new school calendar.
What do you love most about your current career?
-I love the new and unique expertise I have learned and been able to bring to the district I work in.
– I love the continuity with students and families that I get to have by working with them throughout their schooling journey.
-I love that I see children of all ages with very unique needs
– I love that I can create my own schedule from day to day
-I love that there are new things for me to learn all the time
-I love the consistency and predictability of the schedule that aligns with my children’s school schedule
– I love being able to see my daughter and her friends sometimes during the day at school.
– I love the knowledge I have gained within the school system that helps me to be prepared as a parent of school aged children.
-I love the flexibility I have for needs that come up with my children.
How do you feel since your career change? 
I know for sure that this is what I should be doing in my life right now.  I feel that it definitely supports my career goals and purpose as well as my goals as a mother and wife.  I know at my old job, I would be working on holidays and in summers that would take time away from my family.
Did you find career change to be easier or harder than you expected?
Getting a degree and working was definitely a challenge.  When I transitioned to the new job initially, I felt intimidated to be new at something at an older age, but I also realized quickly that I could carry over so many experiences, knowledge, and wisdom from my previous job that really gave me an edge.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work? 
I love spending time with my family, running, reading, and playing tennis.
What advice would you give someone considering a career change?
I think a career switch that is thoughtfully considered can bring such liberating change to your life.  In my case, the new job was more money, less hours, and equally rewarding…but not every decision to change is quite that simple.  If you’ve explored all of the factors and your personal priorities can be better aligned through a career change, I think it will be worth it in the long run.

Change is:  Inevitable.
Jobs are:  What we make of them.
Life is:  A journey. Each experience is something you can take with you and learn from.
Final Thoughts: If you are not happy about something, change it or change the way you think about it. In my house, if there’s a problem, you are not allowed to complain about it if you are not working on a solution.
We are so excited to see Stacey is #ThrivingonPurpose!

Jennifer Depace is #ThrivingOnPurpose

You must meet Jennifer!

Once a sales and marketing manager,
Jennifer is now an inventor and children’s book writer.
You can find her latest product HERE on Amazon!
Check out Jennifer’s story below and learn how she
made such an inspiring change.

Current Career:  Inventor (Product Developer) & Children’s Book Writer
Prior Career:  Sales and Marketing Manager

What is your purpose and passion?
I am most fulfilled when I am creating something.  I am least fulfilled when I don’t have an opportunity to produce something tangible. Right now, I am a licensed inventor and I am a writer of children’s books. Both allow me to fulfill my desire to create.
Why did you decide to change careers?
While outwardly successful, I was very unhappy in my career and now I understand why. I had no opportunity to express my best skill set! The company I worked for was very happy with me and compensated me well, which made me feel confused and guilty for not being fulfilled. Ultimately, I wanted an opportunity to figure out how to enjoy work, and I couldn’t wrap my mind around that while steeped in my previous career.
What steps did you take to change careers? 
I took classes in product licensing so I could “prototype” a career as a product developer. I enjoyed the challenge, and felt very rewarded when I got my first licensing contract. Regarding the children’s books, I kept writing and submitting and writing and submitting until finally I now have an agent and hopefully (fingers crossed) a book sale in the future! Both of these things required me to grow a thicker skin and become less afraid of the word “no,” which was in itself, very valuable.
What do you love most about your current career? 
I kept trying to tell myself that I had to whittle my interests down to one career, but that just doesn’t work for me! I like doing both! They are both creative in very different ways, and they nourish that part of me that hungers for a creative challenge.
How do you feel  since your career change? 
I feel much more excited about my future! I am learning constantly and growing as a writer and an inventor. When I think about it, I had stopped growing in my last career, and it feels energizing to learn and grow!
Did you find career change to be easier or harder than you expected? Definitely harder. I wish I had done it sooner! I think the hardest part is peeling away the expectations (mine and others) and deciding that, no matter how difficult, it is worth it to find some way to contribute to society that doesn’t drain you but in fact, energizes you. Working outside my talents and skillset was a huge drain on me. I always felt a bit like a fraud, but the worst part was not having the language to understand what was making me unhappy.  Now I do!
What do you enjoy doing outside of work? 
Hiking, fitness, photography, cooking (sometimes, when in the mood), reading, exploring.
What advice would you give someone considering a career change?
It’s always a good idea to invest in yourself. The more you understand yourself, the better your chances of designing your next career will be. You can’t be in the driver’s seat if you don’t know where you’re going. (Well, you can, but it won’t be very productive). If you’re not in the driver’s seat, then you’re just passively going along for the ride and you may end up somewhere you don’t like. That’s why it’s better to not give that control to anyone else, and design your career for yourself based on your likes, skill sets, talents and the world’s needs. If you are in a place where you cannot simply state what you want to do (I definitely could not before working with Career Design), then it would be invaluable to explore that further with people who are skilled at teasing out the truth, and who have your best interests at heart. Heather and Hollis are very good at what they do, and they have a passion for helping people – a great combination!

Change is:  Necessary for growth
Jobs are:  Necessary for money, but can also be outlets for satisfying and meaningful contribution
Life is:  Fascinating
Final Thoughts: Don’t let fear drive you to action or inertia. Fear shouldn’t be driving, anyway. I definitely wasted some time in “paralysis by analysis.”  😉
We are so proud Jennifer is #ThrivingonPurpose!

3 Reasons LinkedIn is Crucial for Your Career

With over 575 million users, LinkedIn has quickly become one of the most powerful career tools of our time. The average LinkedIn user spends 17 minutes on the site per month and every day this number is growing. Here are 3 compelling reasons why YOU should begin spending more time each week on LinkedIn.


1. You likely have more than Half a Million connections at your finger tips.

If you are connected to 500 people on LinkedIn, then you have direct access to over 500,000 people in your network. Wild, right!? When you learn how to use LinkedIn’s robust search features and authentically reach out, LinkedIn becomes one of the most effective ways to connect with target companies, employers, and clients.

2. LinkedIn is the #1 Social Network for Lead Generation.

LinkedIn is the best platform for finding new leads. Hubspot found that LinkedIn is 277% more effective at generating leads than the other leading platforms. In fact, 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn! Build a network of authentic connections, and when the time comes, you will have a powerful base for growing your client base.

Linkedin lead generation

3. LinkedIn is a critical part of landing a new job.

The stats on landing a job through LinkedIn are astounding. Check it out:

  • 35.5 million people cite they have been hired by a person they connected with on LinkedIn
  • 70% of all jobs are found through networking. The more quality connections you have on LinkedIn, the more opportunities you have to hear about new positions.
  • There are over 20 million open job listings from over 30 million companies.
  • Roughly 122 million people have received job interviews through LinkedIn.
  • 87% of recruiters cite they check out candidates on LinkedIn, more than any other social media platform.
  • Job Applicants With a ‘Comprehensive’ LinkedIn Profile are 71% More Likely to Get an Interview.

Image result for linkedin job search statistics"


Regardless of your current career or what you hope to do next, LinkedIn is a great place to market yourself and build quality career connections. To learn more about LinkedIn and how to use the platform, join our upcoming “How to Really Use LinkedIn” Webinar.

Hollis Roberts, Certified LinkedIn Profile Expert, will teach:

  • LinkedIn’s role in today’s career space
  • How to organically grow a quality LinkedIn network
  • How to search for careers, clients, and connections like a pro
  • Tips and tricks for making the most of your time on LinkedIn

See upcoming workshop dates

Learn more about Hollis Roberts


From Money to Meaning – Chris Packard to Share on His Career Transition to Nonprofit – March 4th

Chris Packard moved from a highly financially rewarding career as owner/operator of five successful McDonald’s restaurants, the career he started at the age of 17 with only one semester of college. Years later, while extremely successful, he knew he wanted to do something different. He contacted me and we explored this possible next step.

Chris Packard - Career Transition from Franchise Owner to Non-Profit

Chris Packard’s Career Transition from Franchise Owner to Nonprofit

Chris realized that his earlier success was built on his keen management ability. He explored the nonprofit arena and soon realized that those in nonprofits did not have strong management training skills. So his goal became teaching management to nonprofit personnel. He returned to school and completed a masters at the University of Texas and is currently teaching one class, Economic Development for Municipal Staff for those in the nonprofit industry.

Attend this meeting and learn more about Chris’s midlife career change, which is now taking him to the top of the nonprofit world!!

Location: CDA offices in Garland. (Get our address and directions here.)

Date: Sunday, March 4, 2018

Time: 2:00 pm

Come learn how you too can have a highly successful career change from money to meaning!!

Email or use this contact form to RSVP .

Kim Martin and Laurie Bostic to Share on the Life of a Grower – February 24th

Are you a grower? Would like to know more about growing food and flowers then translating it into a full time highly satisfying and successful career?

Kim Martin and Laurie Bostic - Barking Cat Farm

Hobbies Can Turn into Your Future Career

Kim Martin and Laurie Bostic started Barking Cat Farm, a small acreage specialty farm, in 2004, thereby ruining a perfectly good hobby and opening up unexpected career paths. Barking Cat Farm focuses on growing high quality crops in an organic and sustainable manner.

Find out how two engineers walked away from their technical careers and developed a full-fledged career growing, selling and consulting on organic produce and flowers!

Location: CDA offices in Garland. (Get the address and directions here.)

Date: Saturday, February 24, 2018

Time: 3:30 pm

Email or use this contact form to RSVP.

More About Our Speakers

In addition to regularly teaching horticulture classes, Kim is responsible for crop planning, variety selection, forecasting production, propagation, disease and pest control, soil health, marketing and more.

Laurie is the chief tractor mechanic, irrigation specialist, small equipment and fencing expert, insect identifier, and groundskeeper. She also helps with growing and sales.

Both Laurie & Kim have their Permaculture Design Certificate from Geoff Lawton’s Permaculture Design Course. Both have studied under Dr. Elaine Ingham and are working towards becoming Certified Soil Life Consultants. They offer permaculture design and soil biology consulting services to other growers and gardeners.

Do come, bring friends, ask questions and be ready to learn!

We’re Planning Something Great

We don’t have any upcoming events on are calendar at this time. Please come back regularly to see what’s new. We have some great things in the works.

John Murray Presents on Maximizing and Protecting Your Wealth

Career loss resulting in financial chaos strikes when least expected! So become financially prepared! You need a plan, a process and a system for saving, investing and keeping out of debt!

Former CDA client, John Murray of 818 Group, LLC, and special guest Keith Chapman of Chapman Wealth Management will present.

Maximizing and Protecting Your Wealth
Using the Innovative Ideas of the LEAP SYSTEM®

They will discuss the following critical points and much more:

  • How stock market volatility may erode your wealth
  • How we are taught to transfer away much of our wealth
  • Why traditional financial planning strategies may fail

Read More→

Career Maturity Workshop – January 22 & 29, 2017

Dr. Harkness and staff are providing a two-session career workshop to help teenagers determine their future career direction based on their interests, skills, and current and future workplace needs.

Career Maturity Workshop for Teenagers

CDF2-5-600These seminars – for children and their parents (the final session) – are designed to teach children and their parents about the critical importance of mapping student education/interests to future jobs. The seminar, which is underwritten by the Career Design Foundation, introduces students and their parents to the concepts of Career Design Associates, a leader in re-careering for adult workers. For the Career Design Foundation classes, Dr. Harkness and her associates are soliciting students and their parents – usually recent high school graduates or incoming high school seniors – to participate in the career workshop series at the Career Design offices in Garland. Read More→