From Surviving to Thriving

Guest Post by: Linda Hardenstein

“I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing, but I do know this isn’t it.”

It’s frustrating to be unsure about your career path, or to be unhappy at work. Especially when you have talent, knowledge, skills, and abilities to contribute.

“Making it Work” Doesn’t Work

Being miserable in your career causes stress and burn out. It can have a profound, negative effect on your health, your relationships, and your wellbeing.  I found that out the hard way when exhausted, overworked, and burned out, I fell down a flight of stairs on the way to a business meeting. I heard my neck crack and wondered if I’d ever walk again. The emergency room brought a stark reality into focus – I was miserable. I had no life. It was time to stop tolerating unhappiness and start living!

How did I go from just surviving to thriving in my career? Here’s 5 steps I took, and you can too:

  1. Decide. There is great power in letting go of what is no longer benefitting you. Deciding to release what’s in your way opens the door for what’s next to show up.

“Everyone has been called for some particular work and the desire for that work has been put in his or her heart.” – Rumi

  1. Find Your Purpose. Each of us is born with a distinct set of talents and gifts with a special role to play and a unique contribution to make. Knowing your purpose shows where you fit. It helps you understand where you don’t. One of the quickest and easiest ways to discover your purpose is with the unbiased guidance and support of a career coach.
  2. Align With What You Were Born to Do. You can’t help but live out your unique design. The problem arises when you’re doing what you are designed to do in a job, or a place, that doesn’t resonate with who you are. If you’re at odds with something — a boss, a co-worker, your company’s mission, work that takes away from living the life you really want, or a lack of recognition for what you contribute — you’re out of alignment with who you are. Doing work that is in alignment with who you are, brings ease, joy, a sense of meaning and accomplishment.
  3. Be Open. Giving up what you think you “should do,” or going against what a well-meaning parent or teacher told you to do, isn’t easy. For fulfillment, meaning, and motivation, let go of who you thought you should be. Be who you are.
  4. Take Action. Once you’re clear that it’s time to find the right job, synergies and opportunities will line up to support your intention to fulfill your purpose. Inspired action will lead you to the next step and the next one. Before you know it, you’ll be thriving in your job and life because you’re doing what you were born to do.

Linda Hardenstein, MPA, PCC, coaches professionals to find their purpose and authentic careers to have more meaningful lives. Contact her at

© Linda Hardenstein, 2018



Guest Post by: Yolanda Gruendel, GUAA Coaching Partner

Every so often, my eye catches the paperweight on my desk.  It reads, “you can do anything but not everything.” It was given to me by a friend and fellow graduate of the Law Center a few years ago.  When she gave it to me, she confided that she had purchased one for herself. We laughed. Two peas.

On one level, we know we cannot do everything.  We simply do not have the time. And yet, we behave as if we could.  We gauge success by whether we are able to cram everything into our days and feel overwhelmed when we can’t.

Not being able to get to everything necessarily means that on any given day, we are procrastinating.  To focus on some things, we delay or delete others. It is not a matter of whether we procrastinate. The only question is whether we procrastinate absentmindedly or deliberately.  Those of us who procrastinate absentmindedly tend to value all activities equally and focus on the immediate. Whatever event or distraction captures our attention hijacks our time and energy as well.  When that activity is over, we dedicate the time we have left to our remaining commitments or never bother to circle back to them.

Other people procrastinate more deliberately.  They know the to-do list never ends so they sequence activities based on their relative importance.  They resist getting carried away by unexpected events. They keep their focus on the vitally few important activities that matter most, and they put off, outsource, delegate, or eliminate altogether the other tasks.

It is a relief when you finally accept that you cannot do everything.  I always knew it, but at the moment of choice, often opted to take on more.  I wasn’t trying to do everything, just this one additional thing. My commitments mushroomed.   The realization that something needed to change forced a critical internal conversation about what mattered most to me and which activities contributed or detracted from these priorities.  I try to maintain my attention and energy these days where it matters most and measure each activity or commitment accordingly. As for the rest, well, I’ll get to it later.

ACS Programs @ John Carroll Weekend Seattle

What a weekend! My first John Carroll Weekend in Seattle, Washington (also my first time to the Pacific Northwest). Alumni panels. City tours. Flying fish. Chihuly Glass Gardens. John Carroll Awards Banquet. Inspiring panels featuring notable alumni. The weekend had it all!

Alumni Career Services managed two John Carroll Weekend programs: a panel entitled The Future is Female: Empowering Women and Girls as Change Agents, Innovators, and Influencers and the Second Annual Alumni Pitch Competition.

The Future is Female panel was introduced by Julia Farr Connolly (C’88) and the Honorable Nancy Pelosi, moderated by the Honorable Melanne Verveer (SLL’66, G’69, Parent’94), and featured four Hoya women who are leading the way for women’s engagement nationwide:

  • Helen Brosnan (C’16), Executive Director, Rise to Run
  • Terri Carmichael Jackson (C’89, L’92), Director of Operations, Women’s National Basketball Players Association
  • Elizabeth Nye (F’94), Executive Director, of Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest
  • Sasha Spencer Atwood (B’01), Director of External Affairs, TrackTown USA

Speaker Pelosi’s remarks at the beginning of the panel set the tone for the discussion: “There is an evidence-based case that we’ve never had before,” she said, “that it’s not just the right thing to do, but the great moral imperative of the 20th century, to achieve women’s equality.”

The Second Annual Alumni Pitch Competition was held at the WeWork Holyoke building, an historic building just a few blocks from the Four Seasons where the Future is Female panel took place. Four alumni entrepreneurs competing for the coveted title of Winner and the monetary prize to aid them in continuing their startup dreams took to the stage to pitch their startups to a panel of alumni judges.

The 2018 pitch competitors were:

  • Ada Vaughan (MBA’06), CEO of Chore Check, LLC
  • Sarabeth Boak (C ’11), co-founder of Stitchbridge, Inc.
  • Giana Korth (B’10), founding member of Tampon Tribe
  • Jake DeCicco (B’16), co-founder and COO of SUNNIVA Super Coffee

This year’s panel of judges included: David G. Brown (Parent’14), Managing Partner, Oak Hill Venture Partners and Vice President, Keystone Inc.; Monica Ferguson (B’00), Co-Founder and CEO, Solemates; Douglas Knopper (MBA’85), Co-Founder/Co-CEO, FreeWheel TV; Alan D. Gould (F’83), Co-Managing Partner, Peak Opportunity Partners; Mike Shim (C’95), Managing Member and Founder, True North Cos.; and Eric Woods (B’91), Founder, Paladin Ventures.

After a lengthy decision-making process, the judges named Tampon Tribe the 2018 Pitch Competition Winners!

Many thanks to our generous sponsors for their contribution to the Pitch Competition prize: Devon George (B’01), Shulman Rogers, Netcito, Social Lens Research, and Spotluck. 

Now that John Carroll Weekend is over, the Alumni Career Services team turns its attention to the upcoming Women’s Forum as its next major programming milestone. We look forward to bringing you more programming updates throughout the year as our calendar marches on!

Hoya Blogga!

Hi Hoyas! We’re expanding our social media footprint and starting a blog, bringing you another way to connect with and benefit from Georgetown Alumni Career Services.

You may remember our CASE award-winning blog from a few years ago…think of this as a revamp of that blog. Our ACS blog will be a space for career related ideas, thoughts, resources and opinions from fellow alumni, certified coaches, Hoya Friends, and the Alumni Career Services staff.  We’ll discuss and reflect on career tips and hacks, industry trends, current career issues, articles, and resources. Read along to get to know us and the world of Georgetown Alumni Career Services!

Stay tuned!