Category Archive: Self-care & Personal Development

6 Signs You Have What it Takes to Be a Great Leader

~by Jessica Whitton~


Being a great leader is nоt a gоаl for mаnу, however, if уоu do want to be one, mаkе sure you hаvе the necessary qualities. Some people hаvе lеаdеrѕhір ѕkіllѕ іn their blood, but nоt аll оf them want tо pursue this as a career.

Only one-third оf еmрlоуееѕ think that іn order to аdvаnсе their саrееr, they need to become a mаnаgеr. In a recent survey, it wаѕ noticed that only оnе out fіvе еmрlоуееѕ said that they would leave their соmраnу іf they wеrе not рrоvіdеd the сhаnсе to ѕhоw their lеаdеrѕhір ѕkіllѕ.

6 Signs You Have What it Takes to Be a Great LeaderCоmраnіеѕ must еnсоurаgе their employees tо take the leap and start investing their tіmе tо bесоmе a mаnаgеr bесаuѕе іt is bеnеfісіаl fоr the growth of the organization. They should highlight the importance of collaboration and leadership for the success of the team. Lеаdеrѕhір should bе dіѕрlауеd аѕ the trait required for professional development.

We all know how to invest in stocks, but putting time and effort into personal growth is just as important when looking to become a leader in your organization. If уоu are considering becoming a mаnаgеr, make ѕurе that іt іѕ the right саrееr choice fоr уоu.

If you want to be a great leader, demonstrate that you have these 6 traits.

1. Yоu Knоw Hоw tо Buіld Rеlаtіоnѕ

In order tо bе a lеаdеr, іt іѕ important that уоu hаvе the ѕkіllѕ required tо build and maintain strong relationships. You will bесоmе a lеаdеr when реорlе are rеаdу to fоllоw уоur lead. You hаvе tо mаkе ѕurе that you understand the requirements of each individual.

In the workplace, уоu will соmе across реорlе with different backgrounds, so you must have the skills to get along with them. In this dіgіtаl аgе, уоu should have the ѕосіаl networking ѕkіllѕ and knowledge tо get involved іn every асtіvіtу rеlаtеd to your organization.

2. Yоu Are Approachable

When leaders are approachable and maintain an open door policy, their еmрlоуееѕ will rarely quit their jоbѕ. An agreeable mаnаgеr respects their employees, listens tо their problems and appreciates the contributions of еvеrу tеаm mеmbеr.

3. Eyes on the Big Picture

Tо be a good lеаdеr, іt is important hоw уоu іmаgіnе your tаѕkѕ and projects. You need a broad perspective оf the рrоjесtѕ because іt will hеlр уоu organize the tеаm by investing the required amount оf tіmе. Apart from that, уоu wіll be able to dеtеrmіnе the positive changes that will help уоu reach уоur gоаlѕ quickly. So mаkе sure that уоu think outside оf the bоx and hаvе уоur еуеѕ оn the bigger picture.

4. Think Strategically

Strаtеgіс thinking helps a manager dеvеlор and implement tаѕkѕ. It іѕ essential for a mаnаgеr tо understand the work environment of the соmраnу. When coming up with solutions, they must be able to make decisions quickly. Mаkе ѕurе that уоu have the skills to identify the іѕѕuеѕ and then gеnеrаtе solutions that will ѕоlvе the problem without having a nеgаtіvе impact оn the productivity of the organization.

5. Kеер Your Ego in Check

As a lеаdеr, уоu might have the misconception that you muѕt know everything. Hоwеvеr, kеер in mind that mоѕt оf the time employees working undеr уоu have more knowledge and a better understanding of their tasks.

Tо bе a gооd lеаdеr уоu have tо do what is best fоr the company. Nеvеr tаkе іt personally if an еmрlоуее has better ideas than уоu dо, bесаuѕе еvеrуоnе іѕ working for the success of the organization. You hаvе to ассерt the fасt and let уоur team members do their best and shine.

6. Proven Trасk Rесоrd

Tо рrоvе that you have lеаdеrѕhір ѕkіllѕ, уоu muѕt ѕhоw a track rесоrd of excellent results іn уоur gіvеn field. Apart from that, уоu also hаvе tо demonstrate уоur expertise оnсе you become a manager.

Whеn уоur rоlе changes from аn employee tо a lеаdеr, уоur responsibilities wіll increase. So іt іѕ important that you work with dedication, competence, credibility and aspiration to рrоvе your talent. Mаkе ѕurе tо сrеаtе a big dіffеrеnсе bу investing іn the right skills to enhance the overall productivity of the organization.

Meet the Author: Jessica Whitton

Jessica is an entrepreneur, blogger, mother, and paralegal. She currently runs two online businesses and a freelance writing service at When she’s not working, she loves to spend time with her daughter and further her education.

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How Women Can Leverage the Relationships They Build

When it comes to building relationships, it seems that women do it better than anyone else. Most women know what to say to start and maintain a friendship or even a casual acquaintance relationship. Unfortunately, many women stop exactly at this point.

women relationshipsThey don’t go farther with the relationships in their life. They don’t know how to capitalize on the relationships in their life, and they end up missing vital opportunities because of this.

When it comes to women and relationships, the best thing that they can do is to leverage their relationships and turn them into opportunities for themselves as well as the other person involved. The problem starts to arise when women look at leveraging friendships as selfish and “fake.”

When two people become friends, the best outcome is the success for each. When one woman leverages her relationship with another individual, they both end up getting ahead, sometimes substantially so. The mutually supportive relationship can lead to more money for all parties involved, better job offers, and even networking opportunities that can lead to unstoppable outcomes. Women can leverage the relationship when desire and yearning for mutual success are involved. Partners succeed when they are open to opportunities that could help all the parties concerned.

Another issue that comes up with women and leveraging relationships is that most women don’t know how to go about this process smoothly and efficiently. The reality is that leveraging friendships is very easy, but one must stay attuned and open-minded to opportunities that present themselves.

When your intention is to help others’ succeed, then the partners could create opportunities or be open to opportunities that would benefit both parties. When women connect with the right partners, magical events start to show themselves, and the results are fantastic.

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Meet the Author: Divya Parekh

Divya ParekhDivya Parekh is an award-winning business relationship expert and speaker. Divya delivers high-energy presentations using her science-based, 9-step growth process that moves leaders to take the right actions for their success. Leaders in business who believe that success is achieved by building and nurturing relationships partner with Divya to create a thriving business that is joyful and easy to run.

Learn how to develop purposeful and profitable partnerships at

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Co-Parenting: Putting the Child First

co-parentingWhen you and your spouse separate or divorce, you both have experienced a loss. Regardless of why it happened, it is natural to feel sadness, anger, resentment, and regret. Unfortunately, these emotions often manifest themselves in unhealthy coping behaviors and children often get caught in the middle. However, as hard as this separation is hitting you, always remember that your children’s sense of security has been shattered. Your children need both of their parents to put them first.

Healthy Co-Parenting

While easier said than done, there are numerous ways that you can make this transition better for the children:

• Try to reach an agreed custody plan.

A long, contested custody dispute is a recipe for an unhappy child. There is fighting, uncertainty, and sometimes inappropriate tactics that parents use to try to win. Ideally, you can reach an agreement that accounts for: (1) who has been the primary caregiver of the children; and (2) allows for ample visitation for the other parent. In circumstances where parents communicate very well, there are even joint custody arrangements where parents have 50-50 time with the children.

• Allow the children to resume some sense of normalcy.

This means letting them stay in the same home, going to the same school, participating in the same activities, and seeing their friends.

• Try to find commonalities.

Take a strength-based look at your children’s other parent and acknowledge good parenting traits and shared values. While it may be difficult to give a complement to your ex, it is to your children’s benefit that good parenting is acknowledged and encouraged.

• Don’t argue in front of the children.

Continued arguments can cause lasting psychological damage to the child at a critical developmental stage. If you cannot stop arguing, establish healthy boundaries, such as a trusted third party transporting the children or exchanging the children at school.

co-parenting• Don’t disparage the other parent in the children’s presence.

Whether addressing the children directly or having a conversation in their presence, this is immature and emotionally destructive.

• Spend time with the children and don’t impede visitation with the other parent.

It is in your children’s best interest to continue to have a relationship with both parents. Your problematic relationship with your former spouse should not interfere with the children’s relationship with their other parent.

• Read books, watch videos and speak with other parents.

Or consider individual or family counseling. Other people have gone through this experience. Talk to people to find creative ways to harmoniously co-parent your children. Just because your relationship did not work out, it does not prohibit you both from being fantastic parents.

If you are separating or divorcing and have children, call us. For more than seventeen years, New Direction Family Law has represented clients in all areas of family law, including child custody and divorce. Our team also has an extensive history in advocating for the best interest of children and we want to help you and your children move forward. We serve Wake, Johnston, Lee, Harnett, Cumberland, Nash, Granville, Franklin, and Durham counties. Call our team today at (919) 719-3470 for a consultation, or visit us online at our website.

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New Direction Family Law

Meet the Author: Elizabeth Stephenson

Elizabeth has extensive experience in a range of different family law legal proceedings, including mediations, arbitrations, litigation, and appeals. She is the person you want by your side when you’re facing divorce, separation, child custody, property division, domestic violence, or any other family law issue. She understands the emotional upheaval and stress experienced by families facing separation and divorce. Using expert knowledge of North Carolina family law and 17 years of practice in the field, she is dedicated to providing steadfast support and guidance to each and every client.

Family Law

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Why Pushing Yourself is Essential to Finding Success in Any Area of Life

~by Kara Masterson~


It has been said that the easy road becomes hard, and the hard one becomes easier over time. For example, this is something that an engineer knows because of work and school, particularly if he or she masters electrical engineering, which is incredibly difficult and requires a good deal of struggle along the way. Among so many examples, a surprising one can be found in a pee-wee football program in a wealthy suburb of New York.

pushing yourselfThe Massapequa Mustangs regularly win the local travel championship, as well as a “bowl game” in Florida. The program has created several NFL players, such as Gary Baldinger of the Buffalo Bills and Darryl Young of the Washington Redskins. The Mustangs are so good that a 7-3 season is generally thought to be a bad one. How does this mostly white team of kids from well-to-do families win so much? Because on August 1st of every year the Mustangs are at practice while other teams wait until September. They are running plays with no pads; they are ingraining the moves to memory; they are building their muscles. The players and coaches take the hard road, which leads to easier victories on the field.

Getting away from sports, we will discuss how pushing yourself also applies to professional jobs, the military, and what is happening in the brain, body and spirit when we struggle.

Law, Accounting, Medicine, etc.

First year professionals suffer. It’s true. They are pushed very hard, and many quit. However, those who struggle through long hours, diligent work and extra effort find that after just a few years there are incredible opportunities awaiting them.

For doctors, it is a significant salary after residency. Not only are they ready to make the money, but they are also very adept at helping others, even when they are tired. Additionally, they understand their own limitations under duress.

For lawyers and accountants, this comes after passing the CPA and Bar exams. Many find that after only two years of working lower paying jobs they can leave an accounting or law firm and become high-paid executives, or they can stay on as partners earning incredible profits.

Why do companies tend to seek out those who stick with it? It shows character, determination and a willingness to endure the hard road, which will be necessary when the going gets tough.

Military Leadership

Our troops are incredible, but some make it further than others in their careers. And the big difference is usually how they got there. U.S. Marine Corps General Martin Steele is an incredible example of this. Following a youth of living in a desegregated Arkansas town, he enlisted to fight in Vietnam. As a Corporal he enforced that his unit would never speak ill of someone’s race or background, which he was extremely sensitive to from high school sports matches against segregated schools.

pushing yourselfFollowing his deployments, he went to Officer Candidate School to teach. It was very hard, but he endured it, and then became a candidate himself when a Sergeant inspired him to move forward. In spite of starting at the very bottom, General Steele rose higher than almost any officer in the history of the U.S. military when he was promoted to a three-star general. While his struggles did not specifically lead to his promotions, they did build his character, and many say that he created a better Marine Corps.

Struggle and the Brain, Body, and Soul

Struggle does not just build character. It also builds the body and soul. With these changes, the brain also follows, as noted in this Stanford University article. Anyone who has hit a punching bag knows that at first, a shock of pain goes up the arm or concentrates in the hand. Then after some time, one can wail away with little issue. Runners knows that their feet, hips, back, calves, and all the rest can only take so much strain at first, but then they can go farther.

You can succeed in life, but the road to success is not the easy one. It’s the one that requires some struggle. Those who have much and have not struggled often do so because someone else struggled years before.

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Kara MastersonMeet the Author: Kara Masterson

Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from Utah. She enjoys playing tennis and spending time with her family.

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Forget the DIY Divorce — Your Future is at Stake

~by Sarah J. Hink~


The Internet and technology make it increasingly easy to navigate the world on your own. If you want groceries delivered to your door, there is an App for that. If you want to learn how to repair a leaky faucet, there are dozens of YouTube videos regarding your specific faucet.

DIY DivorceIn fact, with a wealth of information at our fingertips at any given moment, it is tempting to believe that you can save yourself some money by representing yourself in a divorce proceeding. After all, there are plenty of online forms available. There are also endless Internet forums full of people telling you how simple it is to handle your own divorce.

Don’t Take a DIY Divorce Approach

A divorce proceeding is no time for a Do It Yourself (DIY) approach. It may be tempting to download a set of those forms and fill them out, but you may do yourself significant harm in the process. Before you begin representing yourself in a divorce proceeding, consider the following:

Divorce laws in North Carolina are governed by statute and by an ever expanding body of case law from the Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court. Divorce lawyers have worked years to study and master this area of law.

Attorneys can take the facts of your case, apply the relevant laws and provide you with a comprehensive set of options. This will allow you to make an informed decision about your future.

A divorce requires you to file legal pleadings. Legal pleadings and proposed orders that do not strictly comply with the relevant state statutes my be voidable. A lawyer knows the legal requirements of pleadings as well as the strict timeframes to file these documents. 

DIY Divorce There are strict rules of procedure and evidence that you must comply with, even if you are representing yourself.

If your former spouse has an attorney, you will be at an incredible disadvantage. That attorney has no duty to go easy on you, and the court will not give you special treatment just because you are representing yourself and have no legal experience.

Your Future is at Stake

Divorce can mean ending a cycle of domestic violence and getting the proper protective orders for yourself and your children. It also means ensuring your financial future through alimony and the division of marital property. It cannot be understated that divorce can also mean obtaining child custody orders and child support orders that keep your children safe, happy and financially secure.


If you are divorcing, or considering a divorce, contact us. New Direction Family Law wants to help you secure your future so that you can move forward. For over sixteen years, we have worked tirelessly to serve our clients’ interests. We serve Wake, Johnston, Lee, Harnett, Cumberland, Nash, Granville, Franklin, and Durham counties. Call New Direction Family Law today at (919) 719-3470 for a comprehensive consultation, or online at our website.

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Meet the Author: Sarah J. Hink

Sarah J. HinkSarah has practiced family law exclusively since being licensed to practice by the North Carolina State Bar. She enjoys working with people in a time of crisis, and her ability to stay calm, poised and pragmatic lends itself well in the family law environment. Sarah works with her clients throughout their case and is able to fight for their legal rights and the best interest of their family to ensure that they find the stability and security needed to move forward from crisis toward a positive and new direction.

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6 Elements for Achieving Your Wildest Dreams

~by Hannah Ross~


Life is a precious thing and it shouldn’t be wasted by living a normal routine, same thing every day. Life must be cherished by doing different activities that add to your life – with great achievements.

wildest dreamsThere should be no pause in life, and you must set goals which are your passions to bring your life into a flow. When you only think about surviving, you begin wasting the precious time of your life by doing nothing productive. A person who desires success and growth should understand the fact that doing exactly what others are doing will make him or her no better than them.

You should dream, and then work hard day and night to achieve those dreams that will make your life a living heaven. When a person has wild dreams about something, he or she strives to fulfill that dream in order to create a beautiful and colorful picture of their ideal life.

The real purpose of life is far from just eating or living in a nice house. Every person should endeavor to live an extraordinary life. Having the wildest dream is easy, but achieving it is far more difficult.

Recognizing and putting into practice the following 6 elements can help you achieve your wildest dreams.

1-Willpower and Determination

As mentioned above, it’s easy to dream. But achieving your dream is far more difficult and requires the right kind of energy. When you start working to fulfill your dream, you might face many problems and hardships. Here, one thing should be understood — without willpower and determination, you cannot achieve anything. You cannot give up at any point because if you keep changing your focus and dreams, there will be no success. Your determination and willpower will enable you to avoid all distractions and face every problem with strength in order to achieve your set goal.

2-Passion and Hard work

No doubt, wild things can only be done if you have extreme passion. Yes, the other element for the achievement of your wildest dreams if to have a passion so that you can work hard day and night without feeling drained. When a person is passionate about something, he or she will put in tremendous effort to make it happen. Hard work is that one thing which keeps a person from being disappointed and that enables them to achieve their set target. Therefore, the more passionate a person is, the harder he/she will work to fulfill their dreams.

3-Courage and Support

If you have the wildest dream, such as traveling the whole world on a bicycle or jumping from the world’s highest cliff, you need the support of your loved ones in order to achieve it. This element of courage and support gives you strength and power to achieve whatever you want from life. When your family and friends stand right behind you to support your dreams, you won’t feel so alone. This can make you stronger so you can do what it takes to achieve your wildest dreams.


wildest dreamsAnother essential element for the achievement of your wildest dreams is patience. Things are never readily served on a platter; you always have to put forth extra effort to start with, and then wait for results. This wait is very important because if you show no patience, you might end up making some bad decisions, such as taking a shortcut to eliminate that wait, which can ultimately result in failure or disappointment. Patience can make the path towards your dream clearer. Without this element, you may face anxiety and you may be tempted to give up on your dream.

5-Improved Productivity

To achieve your dreams, you should improve your productivity level. This process of productivity initially takes place in your mind, and later becomes visible by becoming a part of your actions. You must improve this process to improve your whole practical life. With an increase in your productivity, you can achieve your wildest dreams more easily. For good output, you first have to increase the amount of effort and energy. In short, higher productivity will take you more quickly towards your wildest dreams.

6-Positive Approach

The final element for the achievement of wildest dreams is to have a positive approach towards life. Optimism opens doors when you find yourself stuck in a situation. You should always have an optimistic approach in difficult situations. With a positive approach, you’ll be better able to find ways, whether simple or difficult, to achieve your wildest dreams.

Never give up on your wildest dreams, as you live only once!

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Hannah RossMeet the Author: Hannah Ross

Hannah is a student counselor and an aspiring writer. Currently she works at Assignment Hub and provides help to undergraduate students who struggle with writing their assignments.

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How to Get the Management Skills You Need to Rise in Your Industry

~by Hannah Whittenly~


As a new entrepreneur or business owner, you are probably well aware of any flaws that you may have and might even lack the complete confidence that you need. Such feelings are completely normal for those first stepping foot in the business world. However, you can overcome that by compensating with strengths — especially when it comes to the way that you run your business. In this game, efficiency is key, and those who do it better come out as the winners. A huge part of that efficiency is your ability to manage.

management skills

To help you gain the management skills that you absolutely need to come out on top, here are a few tips:

Determine Which Skills You Need

As “Management Skills List and Examples” indicates, there are hundreds of management skills that you should try to learn. Yet, to optimize your ability to move forward in your career sector, you need to know which of these management skills are the most applicable within your field. As noted in the aforementioned article, most management skills pertain to five basic functions:

  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Coordinating
  • Directing
  • Oversight

Within each of the five major categories is a subset of skills that can include things like:

  • Persuasion
  • Research
  • Presentation
  • Responsibility
  • Productivity
  • Qualitative Skills
  • Problem Solving
  • Sales
  • Project Management
  • Public Speaking

You’d be better off determining which major and minor skill sets will help you rise in your specific industry rather than simply trying to attain general management skills. Entrepreneurs, for example, often have great ideas and come up with very useful products. Getting it out to the public, however, can be difficult—especially if you’re not a well-known person or have some significant competitors. In this case, it might be best to step up your game when it comes to sales, presentation and persuasion. If you’ve ever watched “Shark Tank” on TV, then you know that those three things are very important. Study up on different techniques and strategies that will make you stronger in those areas, but don’t forget to practice them! Grab a few of your friends or family members and practice pitching your products and business services to them. Little by little, you’ll get stronger at those skills and see your business profit for it.

Develop a “Team” Mentality

management skillsOne of the best ways to gain management skills is by working effectively with others. You can either do this through networking or working with whatever size team that you have available to you, small or big. You can collaborate with them on new products, event planning and business strategy. Doing so can help you develop management skills such as the following:

  • Conflict Resolution
  • Adaptability
  • Collaboration
  • Division of Work
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Engagement
  • Flexibility

With this idea in mind, make sure that you operate according to a “team” mentality. There are several ways that you can learn to work effectively in a team. As noted in Inc., effective teamwork necessitates that each group member understands what the team is trying to accomplish. Therefore, one way for you to operate effectively as a team member is by remaining up to date regarding the group’s professional objectives.

Pursue an Additional Degree or Certification

When you’re an entrepreneur or new business owner, you’re pretty much on your own, and learning the skills that you need is pretty much all up to you. Therefore, if you’re serious about gaining the management skills necessary to rise in your industry, consider the value of pursuing an additional degree or certification. Engaging in an ongoing education process will always provide you with some or several management skills that you can use and list on resumes when you apply for jobs. If you’re an entrepreneur providing a service to the healthcare industry, for example, it would be beneficial for you to get your healthcare administration degree online. Whatever industry you’re in, you can find some way to become more educated in it. Not only that, but pursuing an education is one of the best ways to become up to date within the industry you’re trying to work in. It could also help to establish your legitimacy.

Hopefully, the above tips have helped you understand how you can go about becoming an effective business person with managerial skills that can only take you upward to success. Just remember to practice every newly obtained skill at every available opportunity.

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Hannah WhittenlyMeet the Author: Hannah Whittenly

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She graduated from the University of California-Sacramento with a degree in Journalism.

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Natural Leader? 4 Ways to Use Your Talent in Your Career and Life

~by Emma Sturgis~


Natural leaders have a special talent for getting people to listen. You can put your innate talents to use both in your career and in your personal life. Consider these four ways that you can make the most of your talents and help others in the process.

natural leader

Starting Your Own Business

As a natural leader, you may find success in starting your own business. Your leadership talents are essential to the success of any type of business. Find your market niche, join your local small business administration or chamber of commerce, and discover what it takes to open your doors in a type of work that drives your passion and suits your talents.

Mentoring New Staff Members

If starting your own business is not your thing, consider taking on a leadership role in your place of work. You could initiate a mentoring program if there is not already one in place. When a new person joins the team, you could act as his or her mentor. A mentoring program allows you to introduce a new staff member to how your organization operates and helps the new person to get a good feel for what is expected and what the culture is like.

Getting a Masters in Health Administration

natural leaderStudying from top MHA programs is a natural step for your career. Health administrators take on leadership roles in health care facilities such as nursing homes and hospitals. You may find yourself in charge of a highly educated and passionate group of nurses, physicians and other health care professionals who are driven to deliver excellent care.

Volunteering With Children

You could inspire children in your community to live up to their dreams with your leadership skills. Consider volunteering at a school, helping kids learn how to read or tutoring them in math or science. Community organizations such as Big Brothers, Big Sisters offer volunteer opportunities that allow you to work with one child for the long-term. Community recreation centers are also a great way to show your leadership. You could coach a team or teach a class for kids.

Leadership is a highly prized skill. Your ability to use this skill in the workplace will allow you to advance into visible roles. Leading other professionals can bring a tremendous sense of satisfaction into your life. You can also put your talents to use in the community, helping others to achieve their own personal goals for education and careers.

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Emma SturgisMeet the Author: Emma Sturgis

Emma is a freelance writer based in Boston, MA. When not writing, she enjoys reading and rock climbing. Say “hi” on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2.

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How to Separate: Sometimes it’s Easier Said than Done

~by Elizabeth Stephenson~


how to separateIt’s that time of year for Spring cleaning, and sometimes that may include cleaning op your personal life and relationships. That may mean refocusing on your current relationships and moving forward together, or realizing that it’s time to move on separately. If your decision is the latter, wanting to separate from your spouse is sometimes easier said than done. There are a myriad of issues you need to consider before either of you physically leaves the marriage.

1. Somebody’s gotta go.  Even when both parties are unhappy and want to separate, many times neither wants to leave the marital home. You may have a great emotional attachment, you may want to stay for stability for the children, or sometimes, you just don’t want the other spouse to be able to live in what used to be “y’all’s” home. No matter the reason, in order to be legally separated in North Carolina, one of you must vacate the marital home.

2. But I don’t wanna leave.  Now you may have a problem. You can’t force your spouse to leave. If there is domestic violence, you can seek a protective order and be awarded possession of the home and your spouse is not allowed to return. You could seek a divorce from bed and board – in essence a judicial separation, where the court could order your spouse to leave because his/her behavior or treatment of you is so intolerable. If neither of these fit your situation and you want to separate, you may be the one who has to leave.

how to separate3. I’m outta here!  Although you and your spouse may own the home together or both be on the lease, once you leave with the intent to remain separate and apart, you no longer have a right to come and go as you please. You still have ownership rights to the home, but you’ve “abandoned” the property, so if you return without your spouse’s approval, you could be cited for trespassing. If you didn’t take all the personal property you wanted when you left, you’ll need your spouse’s approval or a court order to get what’s left. The spouse remaining can also have the locks changed.

4. Whoa Nelly… not so fast. Her or she may be a jerk and you want out now, but if you leave and you have no court orders in place or a signed separation agreement, then neither of you are legally obligated to provide financial support to the other. Sounds crazy, right?! But it’s true. Even if your spouse leaves you with the marital home, he/she is under no obligation to financially contribute to the household bills unless a court orders them to do so or you can come to a mutual agreement.

5. So, now what?  If you are not in danger of domestic violence and you can tolerate one another (perhaps living in two separate bedrooms or floors of the home for example), make a plan and set a timeframe to physically separate. If you’re not working, you may want to get a part time job and stash that money away so you can have some funds in the event you have to support yourself or your children for a couple of months. Run your credit report, and if you don’t have your own credit card, open one so you can begin to build your own financial history. Plan on selling your home? Many couples stay in the marital home until the sale of the house. Then they use the proceeds to set up their own separate households.

James R. Sherman once said, “You can’t go back and make a brand new start, but you can start now and make a brand new ending.” Keep that in mind when considering separation. Deciding to end your marriage is the first step. Finding out about all your legal rights and options BEFORE you separate can help you put a plan in place so that you can make the best decisions for you and your family’s future.

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Meet the Author: Elizabeth Stephenson

New Direction Family LawElizabeth has extensive experience in a range of different family law legal proceedings, including mediations, arbitrations, litigation, and appeals. She is the person you want by your side when you’re facing divorce, separation, child custody, property division, domestic violence, or any other family law issue. She understands the emotional upheaval and stress experienced by families facing separation and divorce. Using expert knowledge of North Carolina family law and 17 years of practice in the field, she is dedicated to providing steadfast support and guidance to each and every client.Family Law

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4 Skills That Will Make You an Invaluable Asset

~by Dixie Somers~


When you’re starting out in the real world and looking to make a great living, you’ll need to be better than the rest of those in your field. Although this is easier said than done, becoming a valuable employee at your company — no matter where you work — is possible. Below are several skills you should consider gaining to help boost your value in the eyes of your employer in regards to certifications and pathways.

1. Graphic Design

skillsPretty much every business will need a graphic designer at one point or another. Whether it’s designing logos, business cards, letterheads, or something else, a graphic designer is always in demand. If you’re an especially talented designer, that makes you that much more valuable, especially for small businesses who might not be able to budget for an expensive freelancer. A company with a talented in-house designer will not be letting them go anytime soon, and a designer with certifications and experience is always a plus.

2. Journeyman Skills

If you have skills as an electrician, carpenter or plumber, you’re instantly sought after. Even if your current profession is nowhere related to those skills, if you prove to be valuable when there is a plumbing or electrical problem, you have earned your keep. This is especially true if a company doesn’t have a lot of money to spend on repairs. This can also save you money when home issues arise.

3. Nursing

skillsHighly skilled nurses are more in demand than ever today. The nursing field has a shortage of qualified nurses which makes them even more valuable to companies and clinics. If you’re considering going into the nursing field, then you may want to consider getting a Master’s of Science in nursing online. Earning your degree online will make it easier for you to pursue other goals while you go to school. When you’re finished, you can look forward to a lucrative career in the medical field.

4. Sales and Marketing

Understanding the basics of marketing and sales can get your foot in the door at some places, but having a degree in any one of these areas will set you above the rest. Those who understand marketing and are gifted at sales become crucial assets to a company. These people are the ones that bring in the dollars and keep the company above water. If you’re one of these people who the company relies on to make sales and bring in customers, you’ll have a bargaining chip that you can use if your company hits troubled waters.

There are many more pathways you can take to prove your worth, but the above areas are some of the most useful. Understanding the basics of just one of these will set you apart, and you could have much more career potential than your coworkers.

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Dixie SomersMeet the Author: Dixie Somers

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer who loves writing for business, finance, and those with an entrepreneurial spirit. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters.

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