Four Ways to Grow as a Pro


“I barely have time to get my work done. Who has time to watch a webinar?”

Do you ever feel that way? If so, your point is valid.  Many of us tend to put off our professional development, but there is high value in learning new skills, refreshing our perspective, and as Stephen Covey put it, “sharpening the saw.”

Here are four ways you can incorporate professional development into your busy life:

Harness your commute time. There are multiple podcasts that can help you learn and expand your perspective, with a bonus of not starting your day in a bad mood from listening to the news or talk radio.

Arrange to attend a conference once a year. Make the case that it is valuable for you to get away, even if it’s for a local one-day workshop.  Not only will you gain from the presentations, you will make valuable connections with others.

Create a sustainable book reading goal. Since 2012, I’ve had a practice of finishing one book a month. That doesn’t mean start and finish…it means finish a book I have not yet completed. This plan seems to work for me. Maybe you could read one book a quarter, or a book every two weeks. Shoot for something you know you can sustain over time. Check out my books and others here.

Join a membership site/Become a blog supporter.  I have belonged to Platform University for years because it offers a central place for resources related to building an online business. There are membership sites for almost any industry or interest, and you can drill down with their classes and discussions. Alternatively, you can follow the blog and social media presence of writers you find beneficial. This method is typically free, although some providers use sites such as Patreon to obtain financial support. (At HOPE Unlimited we have “HOPE Helpers.”*)

Use an aggregate app.  Apps such as Feedly or Flipboard help you capture blog posts and articles into a central place to form a type of customized newspaper.  Electronic assistants such as Alexa, Echo, etc. can do the same thing, allowing you to select news and tips that you would like to listen through each day.

Your professional development is your responsibility. Continual learning will keep you sharp, which is of great value in an ever-changing, fast-paced world. Be intentional about your growth.

*Tip: if you benefit regularly from an author/speaker, show your support by purchasing their books and products, or becoming part of their membership community. It matters. 

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7 Exercises You Can Do Right In Your Chair

Guest Post by Dave McDonald

You may be an overwhelmed professional, but you can manage your energy better if you move regularly. My thanks to Dave McDonald of The Great Outdoors Fix for this guest post and infographic.  (If you receive this by email and cannot see the infographic well, click here.)



The lack of physical activity might be the biggest factor why you are gaining weight. This is why if possible, you have to keep moving. The nature of your work is not important. The point is to do exercises just to keep the fat burning. Even if your job requires you to sit in front of the computer for the entire day, there are still activities that you can do. For instance, you can do some stretching or leg exercises without disturbing other people in the office.

Another strategy is to wait until everyone goes out for lunch and start doing the exercises on your chair. This is if you worry that your officemates will make fun of you. Again, these are simple exercises that won’t make you really sweaty. Therefore, even if you are attending a meeting with your boss in the afternoon, it doesn’t matter. You will still look fine. Just keep doing these exercises to stay in shape.

Once your work is done, head to the gym for more intense exercises. Just keep doing these strategies so you won’t worry about gaining weight anymore. It is just a matter of discipline and consistency in your weight loss strategies. You can do more if you want as long as it doesn’t interfere with your job.

For more information about these exercises, check out the infographic below. It provides the right steps that can be done with ease. Start doing the exercises now before it’s too late.

7 Exercises You Can Do Right In Your Chair!

A Free Path to a Less Stressful Day

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10 Apps, Tools and Resources for Your Professional Development and Inspiration

Your growth is your responsibility


Who has time for personal or professional development?

Dedicated professionals know that it is important to invest in ourselves. Our physical, mental and emotional health play a role into how we can carry out our professional goals. But it can be difficult to make time for feeding ourselves healthy information and inspiration. Here are a list of ten tools that can make it easier, some of which that I am currently using. 

  1. YouVersion Bible App: This is a great way to carry a Bible with you all the time. It has a wide variety of short and long term reading plans, image making tools, and even opportunity to connect with friends if that interests you.
  1. Abide App: Abide provides audio prayers, music, and scenic backgrounds (among other services, depending on what version you pick).
  1. Calm App:* With lovely graphics and though provoking meditations, this app can help you take a few minutes to focus. As this is not a faith-based app, I challenge myself to connect the word of the day to Scripture.
  1. Feedly: Feedly collects posts from sites/blogs that I want to follow. I scan the feed in the morning, marking articles I want to read in more depth later. Then during short breaks or on weekends, I pull up an article or two (or more) read it, and either save it to a topic board or discard it.
  1. The Skimm*: this weekday email provides a conversational summary, generally fairly balanced, of current national and international event, so you can be prepared for daily “water cooler talk.” Immersing myself in news does not work for me, but I do see value in knowing the basics, and this morning email gives me a quick overview. (Warning…the language used in some of the writing may not appeal to some.)
  1. Greenville Today: In the spirit of Skimm, my local county offers a weekday e-newsletter that summarizes interesting information and happenings in Greenville county.
  1. The Daily Shine* this is a weekday text that can be a source of bright encouragement for your day that I have used in the past.   I also have a group of friends in a text group and we randomly send Scripture to one another from time to time. We call this “Scripture Sisters” – it’s our own form of regular text encouragement.
  1. Newspapers: I don’t typically read newspapers instead staying informed by the summaries above. But I do enjoy reading our local business journal (Upstate Business Journal) usually during a lunch break.
  1. Platform University: I highly recommend that you find a membership site that corresponds to your profession or industry. In my case, Platform has had a major impact on my journey as an entrepreneur and the building of HOPE Unlimited. I make time to watch the training videos and/or read resources, usually over a 15-30 minute period once a week.
  1. Books: since 2012, I’ve successfully had a goal of finishing one book per month. (Note I said finish, not start and finish.) Sometimes its a business book, sometimes a faith based book, and sometimes fiction or a classic. This simple goal (which I track on Goodreads) keeps me reading consistently, although I do feel I don’t read books enough.

BONUS: HOPE Academy This is a branch of HOPE Unlimited where we will be offering strategic courses to help overwhelmed professionals. Have you tried the free course yet?

How about you? Do you have a plan for your professional and personal development?

*Caveat: Many of you know that as a follower of Christ, my faith saturates all aspects of my life. I provide this list with the advice to be discerning. Not every tool completely aligns with my worldview, and I have indicated those with an *.  However, I feel the tools can have valuable elements and are worth listing.


Rest & Reflect Week: Three Questions to Guide Your Reflection

013-Refresh to a quiet place


Rest: set a timer for 60 seconds. Close your eyes. Listen for sounds around you. When the timer ends, jot down five sounds you heard, that you normally don’t pay attention to.


The end of a month is a good time to look back and think about what went well, what could have been better, and what you hope to do in the next month. Take a few minutes to ask yourself the following questions:

1. What new skill or task did you learn in your work?

2. What professional relationship needs some improvement? What one step will you take this coming month to make that improvement?

3. Did you take care of yourself in a way to provide you energy for your work? (Part of this month for me was dealing with sickness–there’s no shame in succumbing to viruses etc. but I learned some things in the process…like how I overdid it before I was completely well.)


If you benefit from sharing your answers, feel free to comment!

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 My book, A Light for Your Path, helps you reflect on every chapter in the Bible. With no dated starting point, it’s a great book for year round reflection. Visit my store to purchase.

Reflection Week: Three Questions to Help You Look Back on the Month

January, 2017



Hello readers! It’s the end of January (already!) and if yours was anything like mine, it was very full and fast. I hadn’t totally prepared myself for the wave of the new year, yet I am grateful for what it represents!

I’m opting for a short post this week, providing you with three questions for reflection. I encourage you to take some time (maybe during a lunch break or as part of your morning ritual) to jot your thoughts about this first month of 2017 in relation to your professional life.

1. In what area of my work/business life did I feel the most stress and what can I (of did I) do about it?

2. What three things did I do very well? (Don’t skip this one in our human tendency to be embarrassed to celebrate the gifts and skills God gave us.)

3. What surprised me this month?


Taking time to reflect is very important. If we don’t think a bit about how our professional journey is going, we risk staying in a rut-like routine and a comfort zone. We may miss out on that one tweak that would help us breathe easier, or the opportunity to be grateful for an unexpected blessing.

I’d love to hear how your reflection went!  See below for mine!


Beth’s reflection:

1. In what area of my work/business life did I feel the most stress and what can I (or did I) do about it?

I experienced a growth spurt in business that I wasn’t totally surprised by, but also wasn’t totally prepared for. I am tweaking my approach to my morning ritual, which is helping me devote the right focus to each unique day of the week. I learned that a “one size fits all” approach to how I start my day isn’t a good fit. The customizations seem to be helping.

2. What three things did I do very well? (Don’t skip this one in our human tendency to be embarrassed to celebrate the gifts and skills God gave us.)

  • Customized morning rituals to better fit the day of the week
  • Started a prayer appointment with a colleague from a different state, where we pray specifically for clients by name.
  • Got a Fitbit and increased my fitness focus. I feel I am in a little better shape at the end of the month than I was at the beginning. Got a Fitbit? Let’s be friends.

3. What surprised me this month?

The growth spurt in my business. I’m grateful.