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15 Insider Tips Career Coaches Won’t Tell You for Free

We rounded up awesome advice and surprising tips from leading life and career coaches. Now is the time to pursue your passion, get confident, be productive and grab the career of your dreams.

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limit yourselfNicole Fornabaio/, shutterstock

Limit yourself

Life coach Meiyoko Taylor believes that giving ourselves boundaries can unlock productivity and creativity. He writes on his blog, “When we set a time limit, we actually improve our ability to focus. It almost becomes a competition of ‘beat the clock.’ Ideally, you should try using a timer and limit your work periods to around 25 or 55 minutes—with a five- to ten-minute break in between tasks. If a task is going to take longer than 55 minutes, break it down into smaller chunks. This has helped me tremendously.”

Here are 12 other ways to improve your productivity in five seconds flat!

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relaxNicole Fornabaio/, shutterstock


Writing for O, The Oprah Magazine, life coach Martha Beck remarked, “There is not one useful thing we can do that we don’t do better when we’re relaxed. The harder, scarier, and more important the task you’re undertaking, the more you’ll benefit from relaxation. Are you speaking before a crowd of thousands? Relax! Sitting in a job interview? Relax! Being physically attacked? Any black belt will tell you that the first thing you should do, against all instinct, is to relax, relax, relax!” If you have one of these recession-proof careers, you can relax even more.

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find a mentorNicole Fornabaio/, shutterstock

Find a mentor

In an interview with Bustle, life coach John Moore encouraged the practice of reaching out to people whose path you hope to approximate. “Follow them on social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter and pay attention to their background and how they communicate. Introduce yourself as someone who is following a similar path and ask for 20 minutes of their time for an informational interview. If you get the interview, respect the person’s time—keep the meeting to the exact times you promised. Be prepared—have thoughtful and specific questions ready like, ‘I noticed on LinkedIn you went to a big business school, how important has that been to your career?’ Thank them for their time and follow up with a hand-written thank-you card.”

Don’t make these LinkedIn mistakes that could cost you a connection—or a job.

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sharpen your focusNicole Fornabaio/, shutterstock

Sharpen your focus

Former Navy SEAL sniper Brandon Webb took the valuable lessons he learned while serving in the military and applied them starting a successful business, Hurricane Media. The ability to maintain focus is vitally important to survival on the battlefield, he says, and it is just as important in the boardroom. In his book, Total Focus: Make Better Decisions Under Pressure, Webb writes, “If I had to pick a single core principle for success in business, it would be this: Choose one thing, focus on that one thing, and execute it to the absolute limit of your abilities. Focus on your business, invest in yourself and learn how to say no to everything else.”

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be mindfulNicole Fornabaio/, shutterstock

Be mindful

On her site, Big Heart Coach, life coach Elaine Beth Cohen writes, “becoming mindful enables us to deal with our lives in a way that is profoundly real and possibly more gentle. It enables us to hear our (rational and irrational) thoughts but not necessarily believe them or accept them as ‘correct.’ Mindfulness helps us take a pause and choose what we want to say or do. What I find most powerful is mindfulness reminds me that my life, the very present moment of it, is a privilege and ultimately a fleeting one.”

Check out these mindfulness tips that can help you fall asleep easier.

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don't ignore your nagging thoughtsNicole Fornabaio/, shutterstock

Don’t ignore your nagging thoughts

Listen to that pesky voice in your head that just won’t shut up, wrote life coach Shannon Kaiser, author of Adventures for Your Soul, in an article for “It’s important to take action by exploring the nudges of inspiration that come to you. For example, you may have the idea to start a sales funnel, go to a new network event, or invest in more education. If these ideas keep coming back to you, it’s because they are part of your bigger plan. Making a profit from your passion is a lot like discovering breadcrumbs in the forest. You have to follow each crumb, inkling, inspirational drop that is revealed to you.”

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pick up and moveNicole Fornabaio/, shutterstock

Pick up and move

International best-seller and motivational speaker Tony Robbins writes in his book Money Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom, “Generations of Americans have looked at retirement as a time to pick up and move to a warmer climate, a less-expensive city or a beautiful, low-key place like Boise, ID, or Greenville, SC—to breathe clean air and enjoy the outdoors. But why wait till then? Why not change your zip code today? Why not find a place to raise your family that lets you reduce your cost of living and elevate your quality of life at the same time, while you’re young enough for you and your children to reap the rewards?”

Try these morning mindfulness exercises.

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Think about your legacy sooner than later

Women’s life and success coach Alionka Polanco, quoted in The Ladders, speaks about a line of thinking that she believes is doing people a disservice: “Just do something that pays a lot of money, you can have fun on the weekends and when you retire.” Polanco believes that this sidelines your dreams. She says you should ask yourself these questions: “What are you known for? What was your career about? What does your income look like? What does your home life look like? What’s the impact you’ve had in the world?” These questions will help you focus on what you really want out of life, not what you’re hoping to squeeze in some time to do on the weekend.

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Take risks one toe at a time

Business coach and author Susie Moore, writing on, says, “Side hustles allow you to achieve a solid proof of concept for your business idea in your own time, sans the risk of taking a full-time leap and losing your income and benefits overnight. You put your toe in the water, then a foot, a leg, your torso—over months. As a side hustler, you generate an income stream that not only boosts your bank balance but also your confidence in being an entrepreneur. It shows you your business idea has legs before you take an unnecessary jump into the unknown. It’s practical. And fun. And empowering.”

Learn these nine science-backed tricks to boost your confidence.

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Make work your play

In his book, Crush It!: Why Now Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion, speaker, entrepreneur, and force of nature Gary Vaynerchuk says you don’t need a vacation if you love what you do. “Live your passion. What does that mean, anyway? It means that when you get up for work every morning, every single morning, you are pumped because you get to talk about or work with or do the thing that interests you the most in the world. You don’t live for vacations because you don’t need a break from what you’re doing—working, playing, and relaxing are one and the same. You don’t even pay attention to how many hours you’re working because to you, it’s not really work. You’re making money, but you’d do whatever it is you’re doing for free.”

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practice appreciating what you knowNicole Fornabaio/, shutterstock

Practice appreciating what you have now

In Tony Robbins’ book Money Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom, the powerhouse motivator writes, “Developing a habit of appreciating what you have can create a new level of emotional well-being and wealth. But the real question is, do you take time to deeply feel grateful with your mind, body, heart, and soul? That’s where the joy, happiness, and fulfillment can be found.”

Here are some powerful quotes that will help you remember to be grateful every single day.

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cut yourself some slackNicole Fornabaio/, shutterstock

Cut yourself some slack

A self-described “life coach for anxious/depressed nerds,” Gabrielle Loehr writes on her blog: “Sometimes, no matter how much you prepare and plan, life will throw something at you that you couldn’t possibly control, like a natural disaster, a serious illness, a car accident, or company-wide layoffs. So if you believe life is completely within your control, you are bound to be disappointed and unduly hard on yourself.” She continues, “However, how you respond to life-changing events like a natural disaster or serious illnesses is completely within your control. So what really matters is finding a balance between recognizing when you can do things versus when you should cut yourself some slack.”

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Find discipline within

In Jocko Willink’s book, Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual, the former Navy SEAL and co-founder of Echelon Front leadership and management consulting company, writes, “If you don’t think you are disciplined, it is because you haven’t decided to be disciplined. YET. It is because you haven’t created it. YET. You haven’t become it. YET. So where does it come from? It comes from you. So make the decision. Make the commitment. Become the discipline—embrace its cold and relentless power. And it will make you better and stronger and smarter and faster and healthier than anything else. And most important: It will make you free.”

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value your timeNicole Fornabaio/, shutterstock

Value your time!

Professional speaker and life coach Shawn Doyle said in a recent article for, “By far the biggest challenge [to productivity] is getting interrupted constantly, but to be very frank we allow it! Someone comes into your workspace and says, ‘Do you have a minute?’ Because you are a nice person you say, ‘Sure come on in.’ Bad move. Now you have given away your time. What you can say is, ‘I am in the middle of something—can you come back in an hour?’ Now you are doing something brilliant—negotiating for time.”

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be the leader you want to followNicole Fornabaio/, shutterstock

Be the leader you want to follow

Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek writes in his book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, “Leading is not the same as being the leader. Being the leader means you hold the highest rank, either by earning it, good fortune, or navigating internal politics. Leading, however, means that others willingly follow you—not because they have to, not because they are paid to, but because they want to.”

Read these inspiring quotes to get you through the day.

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Joe McKinley
Joe McKinley is a regular contributor to Reader's Digest, covering cars, careers, tech and more.