[DARE #9] Let’s Get Rid of Your Sunday Blues

dare9It’s the week of Thanksgiving here in the US. In cities across the US, many of us are celebrating our gratitude for family, friends, uplifting colleagues (notice how I said uplifting), and/or gracious clients.

In that spirit, today rather than focusing on anything negative – the loss of a job, getting dinged after that critical interview, or just a general feeling of uncertainty regarding your next step, I want you to consider my next dare.

Dare # 9: Be a philanthropist


This dare was inspired recently while driving around in a nearby town. I saw two little boys with a lemonade stand. I stopped the car and the young gentlemen said that they were selling lemonade to fund a Bar Mitzah project.

Being extremely curious, I asked for details.

What’s the project about?

The boys said that all their sales would go towards putting together care packets for soldiers back in Israel.

To add to this act of generosity, I told them how I was house hunting — and one of the young men began to sell me on his neighborhood,  cul-de-sac, and school.

Side note: His mom is a realtor so he even suggested that her and I connect.

Quite the salesman, I thought.

Imagine, that this kid upsells his $1 lemonade sale into a house? Clever, right?

But, I digress.

That interaction inspired this dare.

It also inspired me to research other young entrepreneurs/philanthropists.


Because my hypothesis is that at our core we are prewired with the desire to do good.


And that by fulfilling our desire to do good we can push beyond our disappointments and frustrations.

I also focused on young do-gooders because if they can make an impact then YOU someone with an education, a voice, means, and an extremely powerful network can make a dent in the universe.


So, let’s JUST DO GOOD.

Here’s a starter list of not-for-profits started by children.

Perhaps, you can donate to one of these groups?

If you do donate, then scroll down because I have a gift for YOU.

  • Sierra was diagnosed with cancer at the age of seven. She successfully received treatment and decided (along with her big sister Emilina) to share her story, strength, and yoga techniques with sick children. Want to support her efforts? Visit her site: Childhood Cancer Kids


  • Sara was inspired by a local newspaper story focused on a neighboring town with financial troubles. The town faced such hardships that it canceled local bus service thus prohibiting its residents from accessing its nearest library. So Sara decided to launch her “JUST 1 BOOK” campaign.


  • By 8, Hannah had founded The Ladybug Foundation Inc., a registered charity, and had become the innocent face of the homeless, seeing their plight with the clarity of a child and speaking out for them across the world, to one person at a time and to groups as large as 16,000.


  • 17 year old entrepreneur, Asya Gonzalez, has committed her life to end sexual abuse of all kinds since she was 13 years old.  Asya is very passionate about bringing about preventative awareness and education of Child Sex Trafficking and UNTESTED, Backlogged Rape Kits through her created foundation, She Is Worth It.


  • The concept of Empower Orphans was ideated by Neha Gupta in 2005, when she was only nine years old. It is a tradition within her family to celebrate family birthdays by taking food and gifts to orphaned children in the family’s Indian hometown. Neha felt inspired to launch her organization following these trips.

Bonus: If you do decide to donate a minimum of $25 to any of these organizations then I will give you a free 25-minute coaching session.

Tiny print: Just email me your proof of payment. Offer ends on December 1st, 2014 at midnight.

Donate $25 to any of these organizations above AND

I’ll gift you a 25-minute coaching session

(a $150 value gift)

Happy Sunday,


PS: Last week I dared you to network WITH real purpose. I didn’t forget! I’ll fill you in next week on how my meeting went.

PPS: Yes, there are orgs started by little boys out there…truthfully…these specific stories inspired me hence they made my list. I’ll take this void on my list to inspire one of MY three sons to start his own philanthropic venture.

[DARE #8] Let’s Get Rid of Your Sunday Blues


It takes guts to google yourself for fear of what’s out there. Last Sunday, I asked you to do just that for a few reasons:

As I mentioned in last week’s challenge, prospective employers are googling you and truthfully so are prospective partners (including romantic and platonic).

As a result, it behooves you to continuously check what’s out there and imagine whether or not these search results are working for you.

On my end, I went further than just googling myself. I looked for any biography (i.e. bio) of me that’s out there to see if my message is consistent. And here are a few nuggets that  I realized and most importantly what each means for YOU:

1. Too many bio iterations can confuse readers or prospective clients (ex: am I Gen X expert or focused on helping middle managers get unstuck?)

Why does this matter to you?

If you are focused on a niche skill then make sure you are consistently communicating that niche skill. For example, if you are all about working with the public sector then say that on a consistent basis.

As for me, you don’t have to be a middle manager or Gen X-er to partner with me as your coach. You DO have to be a knowledge professional with a proven track record who wants to excel in today’s competitive, global, and propane-charged job market i.e. you have to be a “gunner.”

2. You are evaluated on both your professional digital presence (ex. LinkedIn) and your personal ones (ex. Pinterest)

Why does this matter to you?

Do not ignore your personal digital activities. If I stumble upon a photo of you showing your baby bump (good, bad, or indifferent) then chances are your interviewers have seen it (unless you are a Facebook privacy ninja).

I have an old and unused Pinterest account. I deleted it because I’m not sure how by you knowing that I love exotic travel spots is going to influence you to work with me.

3. The element of surprise when googling yourself is not always a good thing.

Why does this matter to you?

Sift through the google pages. Don’t just stop on page 1. Trust me. You need to know what’s out there. Don’t let others have a more informed google impression of your brand.

On my end, I learned that a conference (that I never agreed to work with) is using my name and bio to market their events. What did you find on your end?

Last related tip: Create a google alert related to your name so that this exercise is no longer necessary and you have a better handle on your name and your online presence.

Now, off to DARE #8: Buy folks coffee


If you are spending more than 8 hours a day feeling anxious, unenthusiastic, nervous, mad, or anything other than purpose-driven then set up 1-2 coffee meetings this week.

-Before setting up these meetings identify people with whom you work (or just know i.e. folks who already trust you) who are working on anything that excites you

-Write out briefly why you are excited about their efforts

-Think about how you can help them with their efforts (on the side, yes during “off-hours”)

-Volunteer to support these folks in some purpose-driven way

For example, let’s imagine that you loss that loving feeling for working in relationship management. If you find the thought of working in corporate development appealing then consider finding someone who works in corp. dev. and proposing to work on a short-term assignment for that person. I’m suggesting more than simply shadowing someone.

Another idea can be that you are inspired by someone who volunteers for a not-for-profit. Ask them what they are working through with their mentee or group of students or end-beneficiary. Take the initiative to help them improve whatever it is that they are focused on.

I want to hear how it went this week.

Email me: Melissa [at] MelissaLlarena [dot] com and let me know.

I’m very curious where your interests lie.

Happy Sunday,



The Weakness Question — 20 Ways Interviewers Will Ask About Your Flaws

It’s the question that everyone dreads — “What’s Your Greatest Weakness?” But what if the interviewer never mentions the word, “weakness?” There are numerous methods an interviewer can and will use to discover your professional shortcomings.

Whatever form it takes, you want to be ready to recognize and answer the question in a way that eases the interviewer’s concerns and positions you as the ideal candidate for the role. Continue reading

[DARE #4] Let’s Get Rid of Your Sunday Blues

sunday dare4

Last week I asked you to “ask for more.”

The rationale behind that dare was three-fold, to get you to:

  1. Think through what you might need more of to live a more manageable life
  2. Identify who holds the power in giving you this need
  3. Persuade that decision-maker in a way that focuses on their needs

Continue reading

Can Blogging Help You Build Your Career? 5 Questions to Consider


Ten years ago, the blogosphere seemed like a place for those looking to write about an interest outside of their jobs. Today, there are thousands of blogs covering a wide variety of topics, from recreational to career-focused. The spectrum of content is vast and ever-growing.

So, why blog? Continue reading

[DARE #3] Let’s Get Rid of Your Sunday Blues

sunday dare3final

How did last week go? Did you complete Dare #2? Or did you try your own dare?

I spent last week asking folks about my newsletters and blogs. The 4 things that I learned where:

  1. You get a crapload of emails so career guidance from different sources blends together
  2. You want to receive relevant content that includes stories that align with your experiences Continue reading