January 3, 2012 By Anne Pryor

Not long ago, I sold my home of 20+ years. When I bought it in the late 80’s, selling and buying a home was much simpler. An ad was listed in the newspaper, a For Sale sign was staked in the yard, and an earnest real estate agent helped me find this gem after visiting a handful of available homes. No internet, no digital photos, no virtual tours and panoramic video.  No redecorating or “repositioning” of the home and certainly no “staging” the house for potential buyers.

Imagine my surprise when I decided to put this home up for sale after two decades. My new realtor swept into my home with a to-do list a mile long to prepare my home for sale. I was told that with the advent of internet marketing, my home would be photographed, videotaped and posted on the web for all to see. It needed to appeal to buyers and thus needed to be decluttered, in move-in condition, and presented in the best possible light – no exceptions.

Gone went my favorite wallpaper, personal photos were banished, rugs were pulled up to showcase newly polished wood floors. It took me nine months to get my house market ready and let go of what I thought was fabulous décor. Ultimately my home sold in five days at my asking price. The lesson learned – trust the experts. This is a new day.

The process of buying and/or purchasing a home is not unlike our approach to career change.  We get comfortable with the routine and expectations and it is easier, sometimes, to just stay put.  Like the purchase and sale of a home, a career shift involves some disruption from our routine.  How we approach a job search or transition has changed today from when we last made a move. It is uncomfortable to approach change and disrupt all the things that we have come to take for granted.

However, how will we ever know what “can be” if we don’t move beyond our comfort zone a bit?

How is your career doing? Are you ready to advance or seek a new challenge….ready to make a change and stretch yourself? If your career were a home, how would you prepare it for market? Are you clear and focused in what you want? Do you know what is unique about you that would appeal to the market? Do you know how to market yourself?  Do you know how and where to be found online to get the best results?

How do you know when you are ready for a change? Have you experienced any of the following?

  • You long to feel energized and engaged in your work.
  • Others give you feedback that you could be happier in a different line of work.
  • You feel that you’ve hit a career dead end and it is time for advancement.
  • You want to unearth your strengths and attributes to really understand where you best fit.
  • You want to feel that your best skills and talents are recognized and/or acknowledged.
  • You know you are capable of so much more – but are unsure of what that is.
  • You are ready for radical change.

Look to these signs as an indication that now is the time to begin the work of gaining career clarity and focus, identifying your uniqueness, and presenting your best self through online visibility.

What should be on your to-do list to prepare for your next career move? Your list might include:

  • Uncovering current interests, values, strengths and skills.
  • Identifying passions and desired outcomes.
  • Knowing the labor market demands for your areas of interest.
  • Identifying your unique personal brand.
  • Communicating your personal brand effectively, efficiently, and consistently.
  • Developing a strong and consistent online presence.
  • Cultivating and maintaining a thriving online network.

Like a great real estate agent who knows how to navigate the housing market, Meaningful Connections is a trusted guide along your career path.  Think of us as your team of strategists for career change and advancement,  personal branding,  and online visibility. We can help you prepare for change and get what you desire by putting you in the best light.

We would love to help guide your career success.

November 4, 2011 By Anne Pryor

by Anne Pryor

As a former Director of Marketing with Lifetouch, the world’s premier photographers of portrait memories, I have some expertise in eyeing a professional looking, attractive portrait. Here are some tips that I recommend:

Be Happy – Your state of mind matters. Feel good about yourself. TIP: Practice smiling, yep, you may not have done it in a while, so check out your smile in the mirror. Do you look better with or without teeth showing? I look better showing teeth showing, so I’ve been told. I actually laughed for one minute while sitting in my car in the parking lot before my portrait appointment. It put me in a great state of mind.

Be Comfortable, Current and Polished – What you wear matters. Does it portray the brand image that represents what you want to be known for, as my business partner, Kathleen Crandall would say? TIPS: It’s best to stay away from stripes, checks, plaids and busy prints in photos. Get a make-over if needed. Update your glasses, hairstyle and make up before the session. Check magazines for the latest styles. (I just visited ReVamp Salon Spa, Christopher Hopkin’s salon, in Minneapolis for tips on how to use make-up the right way for my face shape and age. Yep, I’d been doing it wrong from some 50 years! Christopher is my high school classmate and a make-over expert.)

Be Approachable – Close up head shots are great for the small space on LinkedIn. I suggest having the photographer also take a head and shoulder photo so that you have room to crop. (In case you have a large nose like I do and want to pull the shot back a bit.) TIP: Also, the background should complement your coloring and not be distracting.

Be Engaging – You look most engaged if you’re looking at the viewer; eyes toward the camera, and if you’re turned towards the copy on the page. Since LinkedIn changes the placement of the photo on the profile from time to time, I suggest posing left facing, right facing and straight on. (Most people like one side of their face better than the other, I do as well. (It’s the nose thing again.)

Be You – Some are opting for more “personality photos” and not the traditional head shot. This is fine depending on the brand image that you are trying to project. You may want to stand and try more freestyle posing. The photographers will work with you to get the most authentic pose.

The Technical Stuff – LinkedIn requires that you upload a JPG, GIF or PNG file (File size limit is 4 MB).

Special Photo Offer – I still appreciate the good work that Lifetouch does, so I had a photo taken at the JCPenney Portrait Studio.  In case you didn’t know, Lifetouch owns and operates studios in JCPenney and Target stores nationwide.  I’ve set up a partnership with Lifetouch to provide my friends with a special offer to get your LinkedIn photo offer from Meaningful Connections.

Just click here: Lifetouch Portrait Certificate LinkedIn Photo Offer.

The Unveiling

After (Photo by Cory, JCPenney Portraits, Eden Prairie, MN)

March 26, 2011 By Anne Pryor

Funny thing, shoes.  They’re the first thing that people look at and judge you on.  You know it -what do you look at when you first meet people, are interviewing candidates for a job or when people are lined up in church to go to communion?  Their shoes.

Thirty days ago my dear aunt Carol died suddenly and I, along with my two uncles and their lovely wives, planned Carol’s wake and funeral.  I had never done this before so I didn’t know what to expect.  We called a funeral home that had been recommended to us and one that Carol had done some educational programs with.

Carol was an expert in handling palliative care and end of life issues especially for cancer patients and their families.  (This is an important step, to get the right funeral home, with a good reputation, space, kind people and people that the church likes to work with.  Call the parish office to see which funeral home they suggest and like to work with, it makes the process much easier.)

We arrived at the funeral home and met our mortician, Brandon.  Yep, I looked at Brandon’s shoes.  Guess what.  They were brown, worn, dirty and unpolished.  I judged him quickly; unprofessional.  I didn’t make a good first meaningful connection.  A bit harsh, even for me, but, I’m a high J on the Myers Briggs scale.  That means I move fast and I’m plan full and I’m very decisive.  We had many things to do in a very short time, not to mention that we were in Salt Lake City, away from my home in Minneapolis, and we only had a few days to get many things done in preparation for Carol’s funeral.

I had assumed that we’d spend maybe an hour with Brandon at the funeral home.  After all, I knew exactly what Carol wanted – to be cremated, a simple service and very elegant.  Well three (yes 3) hours later we were still with Brandon.  No matter what I tried I couldn’t get Brandon to speed up the process.  He was methodical, well rehearsed and slow.  I kept saying, “Okay, Brandon, that’s good, what’s next?” he kept saying, in the slowest most unemotional yet empathetic manner, “Next we’ll do this, Anne.”

I was so emotionally drained after our three and a half hour meeting that I didn’t want to go back the next day to proof the programs, prayer cards and DVD photo presentation.  This time, I decided that I’d change my mental approach.  I met Brandon where he was and slowed down to meet his style.

I had many rounds of changes to the programs – I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to creative formats, especially for Carol.  First, the fonts were too big, then they were too small, then spacing was off, then I wanted the prayer centered on the back…  Well, each time I wanted to make a change Brandon’s response was, “I’m happy to do that, Anne, not a problem.”

After hearing his compassionate response more than five times I began to respect Brandon and to appreciate his deliberate and disciplined approach.  He was successful at helping people in their time of loss.  He was calm and patient.  He didn’t judge me for wanting to make all of those changes.  He really did understand the process and he had fine tuned it to meet the customer/families needs.

Everything went beautifully for Carol’s prayer service and funeral.  I’m grateful to Brandon.  We did make a meaningful connection.  I told him so upon his return from a muddy cemetery.  Hence the bad shoes.

March 13, 2011 By Anne Pryor

Two weeks ago I was called to UT for a family emergency.  My dear Aunt Carol, more a sister, mother and best friend to me, had a blood clot that traveled to her heart.  She just had hernia surgery and it was supposed to be an outpatient surgery – no complications, but, there were.

My aunt died on 2/28/11.  She was only 67 and she had retired on January 6, 2011.  She didn’t even get to collect her first 401K distribution. Carol was an amazing woman and I knew it.  She started the first cancer wellness house, cancer preventative treatments, cancer support groups, innovative palliative care, end of life and ethics programs in UT.  Her programs were models for the nation.

Carol was a pioneer and her colleagues, professional associates at  St. Mark’s Hospital, where she served as a Clinical Nurse Specialist, held two touching memorial services for her.  Hundreds of doctors, nurses and staff came to share their stories, cry buckets of tears and talk about how they would never manage without her.  Carol asked the hard questions.  She moved human beings from this life to the next and helped families left behind understand the whys.

I loved my dear aunt and my life is changed because of her.  It’s time for all of us to live while we’re living.  Carol used her best dishes every day and she shared them with others.  She left a legacy of care and compassion like no other.  She made meaningful connections that bridge this lifetime.

In her memory, I’d like to invite you to think about your legacy. I’ve attached a document titled What My Family Should Know.

Make sure that your memory and how you want your passing and things cared for is documented.  This document will ensure that your survivors can easily and effortlessly carry out your wishes.


Be well, my friends,

Anne Pryor

December 26, 2010 By Anne Pryor

What are your intentions, goals and actions plans for 2011? Check out Anne Pryor’s simple format. 

Make your goals with a friend and meet weekly or monthly to help coach and hold each other accountable.  Better yet, go for a nordic walk while sharing your success stories, that’s what Kathleen Crandall and I do.  Now, that’s making a meaningful connection. 

Be well & happy in 2011, 

Anne Pryor

December 22, 2010 By Anne Pryor

Earlier this year, I took a class called The Quest for the Healing Jesus from Pastor Ron Moore.  I learned that there were 41 healing miracles by Jesus in the Bible.  I’ve always been impressed with the healing miracles of Jesus (who hasn’t) and wanted to gain greater insight into how He did that; could I learn to do healings; and what’s the secret sauce? After analyzing the healing miracles I saw two common threads 1) Jesus never judged those He healed and 2) He showed unconditional compassion.  I realized that Jesus must have had self-compassion first.  At least I never read where He said, “I’m fat, I’m not smart enough, I can’t heal, or no one likes me”, but, in full disclosure, I haven’t yet read the good book from cover to cover.

I was recently gifted the book “Buddha’s Brain” from Corporate Psychologist and Outlier Catalyst, Dr. Peter Marston, yes, he’s the master at finding and developing outlier talent.  In the book, a quote by Pema Chodron hit me “The root of compassion is self-compassion”.  After much reflection, I realized that this is the root of the suffering that I’ve seen in myself and from many of my clients, some who have been terminated from jobs, recently divorced or are going through other life changes.

According to Dr. Leary, 2007, self-compassion is actually more powerful for reducing the impact of difficult conditions, preserving self-worth, and building resilience.  It also opens your heart to be open to the suffering of others.

Do you recall a feeling of compassion from a partner, spouse, coach, doctor, baby sitter, teacher, daycare provider, boss, or other?  I’ll never forget two instances of complete and overwhelming compassion that I felt.  The first recollection was from Patricia Berg, CEO of Career Partners Twin Cities, where I am an adjunct Career Coach and Online Brand Strategist.  My initial meeting with her was just after my job was eliminated.  I knew that this was a very special woman. Compassion oozed from her.  Pat was instrumental in opening me to career possibilities, changing my paradigm, helping me to hold and understand paradox and giving me the permission I needed to find and activate my passions for my Freedom Plan Portfolio Career Life.  I am forever grateful to her.

The second recollection was from one of my clients. At the end of our last session together, Barb, warmly touched my cheek and thanked me for my wisdom and guidance.  I can feel the heat of her hand and her compassion and healing touch to this day.   

Who has given you unconditional compassion? Perhaps you want to thank them by working on your self-compassion.

MY GOAL:  2011 – to increase my self-compassion; to open my heart to others and to show unconditional compassion. 

MY INTENTION: I start by setting my intention, writing it down, and saying it each day: “I am filled with self-compassion.  This is a quote from Soul Healing, by Dr. Sha, “I love my heart and soul, I love all humanity, all hearts and souls together in love, peace and harmony, love, peace and harmony”.  My heart is open and I’m easily and effortlessly sharing compassion with others.”

TIPS: (from Buddha’s Brain)

1)      Recall being with someone who really loves you – the feeling of receiving caring activates the deep attachment system circuitry in your brain, priming it to give compassion.

2)      Recall someone you naturally feel compassion for.  This arouses its neural underpinnings which warm you up for self-compassion.

3)      Extend this same compassion to yourself – be aware of your own suffering and extend concern and good wishes toward yourself; sense compassion sifting down raw places inside you, like gently falling rain.

4)      Say phrases in your mind such as “May I be happy again. May the pain of this moment pass”.

5)      Open to the sense that you are receiving compassion – deep down in your brain.  Let your sense of being soothed and cared for sink in.


Learning Strategies Corp has some amazing personal development CDs and programs that I’ve experienced.  I had the pleasure of working with Pete Bissonette and Paul Scheele and these programs activated my conscious awareness and propelled my personal development.  I started with Natural Brilliance and then moved to Jeddah Mali’s CD programs. 

Perhaps Jesus had the secret sauce all along.  I’m coming to believe that self-compassion is the foundation of activating our full potential to heal ourselves and the world. Why not give it a try in 2011?

With loving compassion,

Anne Pryor

July 4, 2010 By Anne Pryor

I like second chances.  Did you know that there are two New Years in a year? January 1 and July 1 (fiscal year).  Each July 1, which happens to be two days after my birthday and this year was a milestone, I take time to reflect on the past 12 months and see what I choose to change, improve and incorporate into my life so that I can be the best that I can be.

Here are my five goals for the new fiscal year.  Do you have yours (written down)?

1)  Live and Thrive My Freedom Plan Portfolio Career – My intention is: “I am wealthy – I have more money than I can ever spend in this human lifetime.”  My actions:

–         Only buy what I need. Ask myself if I really want/need the item.

–         Shop consignment.  For all clothes, other households.,          

–         Revisit my net worth and monthly expenses and see what I can cut back. the net worth and cash flow forms.  (I just saved $900/yr. by having the courage to color my own hair)

–         Pay myself first.  Save 20% of my income.

–         Give back. Start five endowed scholarships for five former high school teachers and college professors that were extremely influential in my life.  Blessings to Diane Ferber Busack (Redwood Falls High School), Carmen Dekoster, Dr. Hugh Curtler, Eileen Thomas (Southwest Minnesota State University) and Dr. Priscilla Herbison (St. Mary’s University of Minnesota).

–         Pay if forward. Donate 16 hours per month at Ready For Success, a wonderful non-profit organization in MN that helps lower income men and women prepare for job interviews.

–         Be willing to allow unlimited possibilities in my business ventures

–         Say YES and THANK YOU to opportunities that present themselves. (Speaking and teaching opportunities)

2)  Challenge myself to move outside of my comfort zone. My actions:

–         Meet new and interesting people that challenge me.

–         Blog more often and share my personal stories.

–         Read the instructions and try to put together mechanical things. (I’m not mechanical)

–         Be honest.  Share my true feelings.

3) Be physically fit and healthy.  I will maintain a consistent and deliberate wellness practice and approach.  My intention is: “I am healthy, beautiful, sexy, powerful and alive at my ideal weight. My actions:

–         Nordic walk 2-5 miles daily.  (Train for the Burke)

–         Meditate for 20 minutes, pray for 10 minutes and do stretching exercises for 5 minutes every morning.

–         Eat only when and what my body desires.  Take wheat grass, flax seed, fish oil, Vit. D and eat five fruits and veggies daily.

4) Nurture loving and meaningful relationships. Send Lovitude = Love & Gratitude. My actions:

–         Love myself first.

–         Think “How Can I Help You?”

–         Understand what other’s desire and connect them.

–         Schedule Meaningful Connections monthly sessions.

–         Attend events that allow me to connect with people I desire to meet and can help.

5) Enhance my spiritual practice. My actions:

–         Pray twice daily.

–         Send blessings to my clients, connections, friends and the Beings that I see, touch, think about, and read about.

–         Attend weekly services.

–         Attract a spiritual guide to help me to further open my psychic abilities.

–         Be grateful. At the end of the day, write down five things that I was grateful for during the day.

–         Listen to webinars.

–         Be kind.

–         SMILE.

“For everything that has been… I say Thank you, Hao, Mahalo.  For everything that is still to come…I say YES!”

Have a wonderful New Fiscal Year!

July 30, 2009 By Anne Pryor

You’ve heard the saying: “It’s not what you know, but who you know.”  That statement is so true – especially in these challenging economic times.  If you’re looking for a job, you may have and MBA with 15 years of experience in your chosen field, but so do tons of others out there that you are now competing with.

How do you differentiate yourself? It takes more than just skill and a well written resume. You need to harness the power of networking, establish your own personal brand, and take control of it.  We launched Meaningful Connections to help people like you learn how to make yourself stand out among a sea of other well qualified competitors.  We look forward to talking with you.