What is the message that 2009 has brought to us? Having experienced the financial hardships of the recession, I have come to the conclusion that we live in a very interconnected world. Relationships, personal or professional, have a lot to do with our success and happiness. One prerequisite for having good relationships is to be a whole person. To genuinely connect with people in a spirit of mutual respect and interest. These relationships require that we understand who we are, who we want to be and are able to communicate these aspects of ourselves to others.

Many of the people that I have spoken to this year have been disoriented and disconnected. Some have graduated college and are attempting to enter a very difficult job market. Others have had their careers interrupted by forces beyond their control. In either case, there is a struggle to find a purpose or direction that will lead them out of the current malaise. Time horizons in obtaining the next opportunity have gotten longer. People are often struggling as they are focused on finding their next opportunity without reference to their longer term goals.

Some of the advice that is disseminated has been very good for both individuals and society. Some economists have suggested that the best thing to do when you have limited financial opportunities is to invest time in improving your health. Others suggest improving your knowledge through education. And some organizations are geared up to help improve your spiritual well being. A predominant message that I continue to communicate is to focus on developing one's social well being.

Social well being refers to the mindset you take to a situation. When you are able to find humor and laugh at life's situations - rather than cry - this is a healthy mindset. This takes work. Taking on new perspectives and changing the lens from which you are seeing situations can be a real challenge but also a true test of one's character. Gain new perspectives by engaging others, sharing your knowledge, listening to others and being present. This will reduce your stress. You will make others smile and yourself as well.

Success is based on one's character and the strengths demonstrated. A job doesn't define the person, but rather the person is defined by their character - who they are, what they stand for, and what they share.

As we enter this holiday season, reflect on your message - what has shaped your life's journey? Keep your longer term goals in perspective to help you through this "blip" in time. Reflect on where you have come from, how you have developed and evolved, what is important to you and the world you contribute to, and the direction you are headed. The direction you are headed will take some contemplation and planning. So ask yourself, "What makes my journey engaging?"

Keep your message positive as positive messages will inspire others to want to help you. Remember to ask about others and show compassion. If you remain open and listen, you can learn and gain from the richness around you. Engage in conversations as there are many gifts that can be exchanged. Be open to sharing, giving and receiving.

As I communicate in this column and other venues, such as my speaking engagements, coaching groups and individuals, teaching, and being part of various communities, I am communicating my values. This allows me to be me, speaking from the heart, providing guidance and compassion. I believe in the value of relationships, the importance of optimism and helping others, the need to be curious and continue to grow, and the ability I have, as does everyone else in this world, to build a better future.

No matter where you are in your career, when you tell your story, continue to focus on your core principles. Your successes are based on these principles that make up your character. When you are telling your story, whether it is during an interview or informally, be yourself. Your stories reflect who you are, your core principles, your development and evolution, and your successes along your journey.

This column provides thought provoking strategies for getting unstuck along your career journey. A certified Executive and Career Coach can be instrumental in guiding you in your efforts to gain a new perspective. I invite you to contact me at Lisa@ChenofskySinger.com