• Guest Author Halimah Bellows, talks about her life and her new book Champion Your Career

    My guest today is Halimah Bellows At an early age, Halimah Bellows became aware of her natural ability to listen to people non-judgmentally as well as her desire to be of service to others. In her life as an educator, a career counselor and a coach, she has been able to marry her fascination with people’s stories with her deep interest in the world of work.

    Welcome to my blog Halimah, please tell everyone about yourself.

    1. What made you want to write a book? Was it for the book itself, to become an author, or both?

    I was inspired to write my book “Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work”, because I felt that a comprehensive career development book for the 21st century was needed to address the critical concerns of our time—the workers who are victims of downsizing and outsourcing, the “boomers” who are at retirement age but cannot afford to retire and the recent college graduates who are faced with an avalanche of confusing information and are clueless about how to pursue an appropriate career path.

    2. Tell us about yourself and your life: where do you live? Where are you from?

    As a career counsellor/coach, I’ve been able to bring together my innate abilities and passions and the skills that have naturally flowed from me since I was a child. People have always fascinated me, and the world of work fascinates me as well.

    After completing my undergraduate studies in Social Science and English at New York University, I earned an MA in English Language Teaching at the University of Exeter in England and then taught English as a Second Language in England and Indonesia. Returning to the United States, I earned my MS in Counselng Psychology at San Francisco State University and received intensive Certified Coach Training at The Coaches Training Institute in San Rafael, California and Retirement Options in St. Louis, Missouri to become a Certified Retirement and Professional Coach.

    Additionally I have obtained graduate certificates in Training Systems Development and Educational Drama. I hold Washington and California Community College Teaching and Counseling Credentials and am a Certified Dependable Strengths Articulation Process Facilitator. I served on the executive board of the Puget Sound Career Development Association for two terms.

    I am also employed as a teacher of English as a Second Language at South Seattle College where I have worked for over 20 years. I also volunteer with several community theatre groups and for community events like Folklife Northwest. I participate in and am considered an elder in my spiritual practice. I do yoga and pilates. I love to travel, have lived in Asia and Europe and am married to a British citizen.

    3. Tell us about your books: what are you currently releasing, what have you released in the past, and what are you currently working on? Which is your favourite and why? How strongly do you relate to the message/theme/characters in your book?

    In addition to my current book “Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work”, I have created and distributed “Career Quest Cards”, a practical, portable tool that provides a distillation of 30 key career-coaching exercises. A Career Quest Card app is also available.

    I am passionate in my belief that fulfilment from making the right career choice is imperative to achieving a life well-lived. Most working adults spend one third of their days in the workplace. Being in a rewarding career and a healthy work environment has a ripple effect throughout their personal and interpersonal lives.

    I’m not really planning another book right now though am working on a 2nd edition of it with updated career resources. I am also looking at making an audio book of “Champion Your Career”. And there is always the possibility of expanding on some sections of “Champion Your Career”—such as a book specifically for retirees.

    4. What methods do you use to market your books? Do they work? Which methods do you find most successful? Do you find different methods work for different books?

    First of all, you must fully utilize your own network, all of your work associates, community groups etc. Beyond that, a good public relations consultant can open many doors you might not be able to open on your own.

    The importance of a good book cover cannot be overemphasized. If you are able to find your own graphic artist to work with, it is worthwhile to do so. If you self-publish through Bookbaby or Create Space, they do offer the service of creating the cover for you, but it’s much better to find an artist who can really work with you to graphically convey the message you intend.

    I am active on social media and have my own, twitter, facebook author and book page as well on Linkedin and having the book listed on Goodreads and other online book sites.

    5. Do you immerse yourself in an author’s lifestyle, and what does that mean to you personally? Would you recommend publishing? What do you think are the required attributes to write a book, particularly in your own genre? What message would you give to new authors?

    I feel that having a passion for one’s subject, as I have for mine, is essential for any author. My method for developing my book was an approach that worked for me. Much of the material came from a radio interview show that I had done earlier, based on my twenty years of experience as a career coach. I was given the rights to the tapes from the show, and, with the help of my developmental editor, I turned the interviews into prose and added updated information, resources and social media platforms. I was fortunate to be able to work with a developmental editor who was comfortable with my speaking and writing style—a process which I recommend to writers who have the kind of active public life that I have.

    6. Where can readers find your books for sale? Do you have a blog? If so, what is its general theme?

    “Champion Your Career” is available in print and as an ebook on Amazon https://goo.gl/Bhk5Je Barnes & Noble, Books a Million and Powell’s online bookstores. It is available directly from my website, www.championyourcareer.com. Additionally, it is also now being carried in bookstores around the country as well as in some local college bookstores and college and public libraries in the Pacific Northwest. My blog, www.careerquestcards.wordpress.com, is continually being updated with articles and tips for career seekers at any point on their career paths.

    The path to a fulfilling new career is a journey of many steps. Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work has been written to serve as a helpful guide and companion on every step of that journey.

    Champion Your Career is unusual in that it combines career counseling with career coaching. By asking the appropriate questions, Champion Your Career gives you not only the theory behind choosing a career that’s right for you, but offers practical exercises, resources, and powerful questions so you can then become your own career champion. The books that are on the market now offer career choice theory with self-assessment exercises, but without the coaching structure and support that moves readers to active decision making within the process of championing their careers. Champion Your Career provides you with theory, exercises and coaching to support you on the path to finding both the right career and the job that’s perfect for you.

    Anyone who has faced the challenge of embarking on a new career knows how important it is to have someone cheering you on and guiding you in developing effective strategies. In this book, seasoned career counselor/coach Halimah Bellows offers you the tools for becoming your own career champion. With empathy and enthusiasm, she will inspire you to delve deeply and honestly into your experience to discover the career path that is right for you.

    Champion Your Career uniquely addresses the major concerns, methodologies and plans of action that are applicable in the 21st century for a new generation of career seekers, in a new economy, and in a quickly changing marketplace. The resource listings are current and include many websites, blogs, and forums that keep the reader updated on the latest career trends in a given geographic or demographic area.

    Career development is a process. The strategies presented in Champion Your Career can be used throughout your working life.

    Thank you Halimah for talking today.

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