Your Career Forecast: November / December 2017

Ellen Fondiler | Your Career Forecast: November / December 2017

I work as a career and business strategist. But my secret passion is… astrology!

About once a month,  I post an overview of what’s happening in the cosmos and how it might influence your career. It’s called: Your Career Forecast.

Whether you’re job-hunting, running your own business, or wondering about the ideal time to ask for a raise or take a vacation, each Career Forecast will reveal the important dates and cosmic shifts that you need to know about.

I am joined by my dear friend, Heidi Rose Robbins, a master astrologer who will provide expert insight into what’s going on in the stars.

Let’s dive in!


What’s going on this month…

HEIDI: The Sun moves into Sagittarius on November 21st at 7:05 pm Pacific Time. Sagittarius is the sign of freedom and adventure. It wants a big vision and a big goal and is eager to pursue it. It is optimistic, risk taking and lives with a sense of CAN DO. This is a month to see, articulate and dive into the journey towards your next major goal. Inspiration abounds. Breathe it in.

On December 1st, Venus joins the Sun in Sagittarius. Venus lends its beauty and creativity to the adventure. The journey itself is exciting and innovative. With Venus in Sagittarius, we love to grow, expand and push past old boundaries.

December 2nd brings two major transits. Jupiter trines Neptune in the heavens. This is a deeply idealistic and imaginative time. Dreams feel possible and the intuition is alive and thriving. This is also the day that Mercury goes retrograde. It will stay retrograde until December 22nd. Don’t worry so much about Mercury retrograde. Use it as a quieter, reflective time if you can. Don’t try to manifest a new major idea. Review what has been accomplished this year instead. Reflect, review and remember. Then, you’ll be ready to launch 2018 having synthesized the journey of 2017.

December 3rd is the Full Moon of Sagittarius. The Moon is actually in Gemini, but we consider this the Full Moon of Sagittarius. This is a day when the energies of Sagittarius are MOST available to us. Vision, inspiration and optimism rule the day. Remember the phrase for Sagittarius: “I see the goal. I reach the goal. And then I see another.” There is movement and growth, inspiration and exertion. Sagittarius is also considered “the one pointed disciple.” We get focused and clear about the path we wish to walk.

Mars moves into Scorpio on December 9th. Mars loves to be in Scorpio. It is a tenacious combination and fights the good fight. Dig in. Dig deep. Be determined. Don’t give up.

The New Moon of Sagittarius falls on December 17th. We plant seeds of hope, faith and inspiration. We have the opportunity to breathe new life into any endeavor.

Finally, December 19th is a big day. Saturn moves into Capricorn. It has spent most of the last 3 years in Sagittarius and now shifts into the earthy sign of Capricorn. Saturn will stay in Capricorn for 2 1/2 years. It will be a time of testing and great growth for all who have strong Capricorn in their astrological chart. It’s a time to build, climb and achieve.

Use this month to clarify your goals and launch yourself with renewed optimism towards all you envision.

What does all of this mean for your career? Let’s look closer…


Here’s what you need to know…

ELLEN: On December 2nd, Jupiter trines Neptune. On this day, there’s an idealistic, imaginative quality in the air. It’s a great day to tap into your intuitive decision-making powers.

If you’ve been offered a job recently, don’t make a snap decision based in fear (“I won’t get another offer…” “There’s nothing else out there…”). Breathe. Meditate. Talk a long walk. Visualize the next five years of your life. What do you really want? What do your instincts tell you about this job opportunity? Is it truly right for you? Use your intuition to guide you.

If you’re job hunting and you’ve been coming up empty, again, tap into your intuition. What are you not seeing? Are you on the right path? Is there another way to go about this search? Sometimes, we get so fixated on doing things one way—or getting that one job—that we forget to look at the world of possibility out there that is available to us.

With Mercury retrograde throughout most of December, this is an excellent time to pause, reflect, and get organized for 2018. Back-up your computer. Save an extra copy of your résumé on a flash drive. Update your LinkedIn profile to reflect your latest achievements. Get your ducks in a row so you can reboot your job hunt in January. Historically, January is one of the biggest months for hiring—so take some time in December to get prepared, and then swing back out there in full force after January 1st!


Here’s what you need to know…

ELLEN: With the Full Moon of Sagittarius on December 3rd, all the best Sagittarian qualities—focus, taking aim, bounding towards a goal, adventure and optimism—will be magnified. This is a powerful day! If you’ve been feeling unfocused or uninspired recently, you might notice a major attitude shift on the 3rd.

If you’ve got a job, take some time on December 3rd to map out your plan for next year. Is there a special project you’d love to lead? Is there a new skill you’d like to acquire? What would make 2018 feel like your best year ever? What would make you feel even happier and more fulfilled at work? Write it all down. Then set up a meeting to discuss your vision with your supervisor.

Feeling stuck? Not sure what you want to focus on next year? Here’s a fun exercise that I learned from a colleague of mine who’s a life coach…

Start writing an email to your best friend and pretend that it’s December 2018—not December 2017. In other words, pretend it’s one year from now.

In your email, tell your friend about all the wonderful projects, achievements, and experiences that you’ve enjoyed over the last 12 months. Write “as if” all of these things have already happened—as if you’re “recapping” the year for your friend. This is sometimes called “pre-capping” or “pre-membering.” It’s a really fun exercise—and you might be surprised by what you start typing out!

Also, mark down December 9th on your calendar. On this day, Mars moves into Scorpio, which creates a tenacious, persistent energy. If there’s a project at work that’s been lagging behind schedule, this is a great day to hold a meeting, get your colleagues fired up, and get things moving again. The theme of the day is: perseverance. Is there a colleague who hasn’t returned your emails? Pick up the phone and call. Is there a supervisor who forgot to approve your vacation request and you’ve been waiting for ten days? Nudge them again. Maybe you’ve been told, “Sorry, we can’t do XYZ because it’s not within our budget this year.” Revamp your proposal and get back in there—try again! With the Mars-Scorpio combination on the 9th, your persistence will be rewarded.


Here’s what you need to know…

ELLEN: On December 1st, Venus joins the Sun in Sagittarius. Venus is all about love, beauty, affection, and connection. Lovey-dovey, swoony feelings. Don’t be surprised if you get some fan mail or a glowing review from a client on this day! Sagittarius brings a spirit of adventure and a goal-oriented perspective—think: an archer taking aim at the target.

On the 1st, this Venus/Sagittarius combination is terrific for entrepreneurs. We’ve got love in the air—plus a spirit of adventure and optimism. Anything is possible! Consider questions like, “What do my clients love most about working with me?” and, “What’s the next adventure for me, as a business owner?”

The New Moon of Sagittarius falls on December 17th. The New Moon is always a potent time to plant new seeds, begin a project, or set a new intention. This is a wonderful day to breathe some new life your business. What’s feeling stale or stagnant? Maybe it’s time to update the photos on your website. Or change some business policies or systems. Or maybe there’s an exciting new program or service that you want to develop—this will be a great day to put things into motion!


• Clarifying your goals.

• Being quiet and reflective (especially from Dec 2nd – 22nd).

• Cleaning, clearing, setting the stage for a successful new year.

• Using your intuition and imagination to find new solutions and pathways.

• Optimism, possibility, taking creative risks, and feeling a little more “daring” than we might typically feel.


November 21st – Sun moves into Sagittarius. (A month of optimism and enthusiasm begins!)

December 1st – Venus joins the Sun in Sagittarius. (Love is in the air, along with a spirit of adventure.)

December 2nd – Jupiter trines Neptune. (A day of idealistic, imaginative thinking.)

December 2nd – Mercury goes retrograde until December 22nd. (Reflect, clean things up, organize, clear space and the set the stage for the new year.)

December 3rd – Full Moon of Sagittarius. (Sagittarian qualities will be in full force! A day of optimism and curiosity. Set some exciting goals.)

December 9th – Mars moves into Scorpio. (Be persistent and tenacious. Your efforts will be rewarded.)

December 17th – The New Moon of Sagittarius. (Begin a new project, plant new seeds of hope and possibility.)

December 19th – Saturn moves into Capricorn. (It’s time to build, climb and achieve… away we go, into the new year!)


“It is true that we are called to create a better world. But we are first of all called to a more immediate and exalted task: that of creating our own lives.” —Thomas Merton

As Merton reminds us, yes, our professional goals are important. It’s wonderful to set big, ambitious, world-changing goals, to build a business, or build a legacy. At the same time, let’s not forget about the other parts of our lives. After all, “work” is one facet of life. But it’s not the whole picture.

If you’ve been hyper-focused on your career lately, take a step back, and consider the other parts of your life. Relationships. Health. Family. Friends. Is there an artistic, travel, or fitness-related goal that you’ve got in mind? Something that’s not directly related to your career? Something that’s “just for you”? Write it down. Set the intention. Take aim and let your arrow fly towards the target.

Sagittarius invites us to gallop into the future with a “Yes, we can!” attitude. This month, the cosmos seeks to remind us that anything is possible. With the right attitude, nothing is out of reach, and every door can be unlocked.

Wishing all of you a lovely holiday week.

With love,

Ellen & Heidi

Learn more about my career & business coaching services here.

Learn more about Heidi and her astrological services here.

An Interview with Janet Roberts

Ellen Fondiler | An Interview with Janet Roberts

Whenever I meet someone who’s got a really cool job, who runs a thriving business, or who has completed an amazing project, I always want to know: “How did you do that?”

I’m always curious to hear the “behind-the-scenes story” — who they emailed, what they said, how they got their first client, how they got their foot in the door — the exact steps that they took to achieve their goal.

HOW DID YOU DO THAT? is an interview series where we get to hear the REAL story behind someone’s success—not the polished, neat and tidy version.

To see a complete list of all the interviews that have been completed to date, head over here.

Ellen Fondiler | An Interview with Janet Roberts

Name: Janet Roberts
Location: Salinas, California
Profession: Artist and Co-founder of Mindful Mats

You’re a full-time artist. You support yourself financially through your artwork. For many people, this is the ultimate dream! Tell us how you found your way into this work.

As a young girl, I didn’t have the fearlessness to be the artist I wanted to be, so I chose work alongside the artists I admired rather than being “one of them.” This led to a 20-year career in art history, first working at The Detroit Institute of The Arts, then at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and then a career as an art buyer, representing contemporary painters in a small gallery I operated.

For a long time, like so many people, I imagined artists were visited by muses and had tormented inner selves which fueled their imagination and fervor. I felt these people were somehow “different” from me, that they possessed something I did not. However, through the years, I began to see that this simply isn’t true. Anyone can be an artist. To be an artist, one must just commit, and commit fully. Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.

Twenty years ago, after my third cancer diagnosis, I determined I wanted to become a full-time creator. I manifested that my work would feed my family despite the fears I had. I decided I would give myself one year to find my inner voice, my true work, the work my hands needed to make. After one year—and several hundred paintings—the gestures and the symbols and the icons became mine.

It was challenging to transition from art buyer to artist, but I feel it was a perfect unfolding and just the right direction in my evolution toward a successful and fulfilling expressive life.

Ellen Fondiler | An Interview with Janet Roberts

You mentioned your battle with cancer. Your mom faced cancer, too. How have these challenges impacted your life and career?

Cancer has been both a blessing and a curse.

The curse…

My Mother suffered from cancer as a young woman, and was diagnosed manic depressive as a young mom. Looking back, it was most likely post-partum depression that went undiagnosed, but she was treated with Lithium. I was a child of the ’50’s—a victim of my mother’s chain smoking, drugs, and drinking—at a time when society seemed completely void of any “common sense” when it came to health.

My childhood was difficult. My mother was frequently ill and I was left, as the only daughter in the family, to pick up the household slack. I was preyed on by my maternal uncle from age 11 to 16, when I finally stood my ground and he stopped. The adults in my home never felt safe, and so I turned to academic mentors for support and guidance. I helped raise my three brothers as best I could, and then at 17, I left home with a college choral scholarship to USC.

The blessing…

Being a four-time cancer survivor myself, cancer has provided me an insight to my deep inner life. It helped question my intention. It asked me to understand and learn my true north. The disease provided a door into a world I did not know: mindfulness. I learned my higher purpose, my will to forgive and love, to see gratitude everywhere, and to encourage others everyday to see their own infinite possibilities. I became the mentor my young self so needed. In this way, cancer has been a gift.

Ellen Fondiler | An Interview with Janet Roberts

You have four amazing daughters, three grandchildren, and your home and studio are off the grid. You compost. You recycle. You have an organic garden. You’ve created a very beautiful, intentional life. I’m curious to know if you have a morning routine, and if so, what is it?

Every morning begins with my Earl Grey and my horseback ride. Then I stretch, do my yoga, and meditate for 30 minutes, after which I make beds, fluff the sofas, and walk outside to sort out the garden, the decks and the many sweet seating areas around my home. I have as much furniture outdoors as I have inside!

My dog and I feed the horses, water everything that grows in a pot, and then share our avocado on toast and an egg.

Then we walk down to my studio and begin our day, answering emails, phone calls and preparing the day’s work. I try to execute at least two paintings weekly, and I draw and write in my sketch pad every day, always seeking out new ideas and innovations.

When you’re making a custom painting for someone, what is the process? How do you get to know the client and their tastes, and what they might like?

Often, I work with designers and they make the process painless with palettes, swatches and room renderings. Corporate clients—like hospitals and hotels—always have interior professionals. They know exactly what they want and I have no ego when asked to execute something specific. Often in the commission, I find a new direction, breaking free of old shackles, colors, or styles. Other times, I meet the patron and we discuss many of the same ideas but with their wedding vows, or a special affirmation or a poem or a song or even a rap lyric embellished for influence.

I also create legacy paintings for family members who have recently lost a loved one. Together, the family composes a picture with words, icons, symbols, and colors inspired by someone they lost. This painting remains in the core home, and often Giclée prints are made so other family members can view and enjoy it. There is so much love in those paintings.

Ellen Fondiler | An Interview with Janet Roberts

You give 50% of your earnings to non-profits and charities. That’s an extraordinarily generous thing to do. Talk to us about this decision.

Twenty years ago, when the Internet began sharing artist’s work on websites, and the artist/gallery model began shifting, I found myself examining the idea of who I was sharing my proceeds with. If I was giving 50% of each painting sale to someone, who did I want it to be? A gallery? Or my community?

It seemed to me, sharing with my community was the only answer. I began exhibiting my work in collaborations with non-profits I admired. Sharing 50% with them seemed a beautiful “karmic” thing. Some of them are green charities like EMA who plant gardens in at-risk urban schools. Most of them are mentoring non-profits like The Boys and Girls Club and Buddy Programs throughout the country. I also promote meditation and mindfulness in after-school programs and as an alternative to detention.

To date, I have helped raise over $1.8 million dollars for several non-profits, all of whom share my intention of growing a better planet and a whole child. This feels so right, because I know and see the impact these programs make.

You recently started a company with your daughters called Mindful Mats. Tell us about this project. How’s it going so far? What are your future plans?

All four of my daughters—and now my three grandkids—practice yoga and meditate daily. Each has their own unique way to practice, but we are each devoted to mindfulness. Hannah, my eldest, suggested to me that I take my catalog of 1,000 images and print a few on yoga/meditation/fitness/beach mats. It made complete sense since most of my patrons are also mindful people who practice yoga and meditate. And what better way to help non-profits during my painting workshops with the kids… creating meditation mats for them from their own artwork!

We researched eco-sustainable, recycled rubber mats. They had to be printed with soy ink and be made in America. After several prototypes, we now have the perfect product with beautiful images that people are really responding to. Cost is the only challenge as they are made here, printed here, and most other competing mats are made in China. So, profit margins are slim, but Hannah—who is driving this little engine-that-could—knows we aren’t really in this to make lotsa money. This is an absolute passion project.

We are heading to Aspen for the Lead With Love event to sell these mats in their marketplace. Influencers like Marianne Williamson and Deepak Chopra own our mats, so it’s a good fit. I also have a solo show there in a gallery that represents me, so the timing is perfect. We have no idea how the mats will sell there, but we are hopeful the patrons will love them!

We just launched Mindful Mats in March of this year, and these things take time, but having the mats available elevates my work, and reminds collectors who I am and what I do. Collaborating with other fitness clothing and jewelry designers has been exciting. And I adore hanging out with my girl tribe when we do events and share ideas and take trips. They are my inspiration, after all.

Who are your role models and why?

Survivors. Victims who rise up and triumph. Encouragers. Anyone who sees the magic despite their trauma or tragedies. People who love and forgive and who are fearless in the face of adversity. Anyone willing to assist those in need, who have less, and who reside on the fringes.

Ellen Fondiler | An Interview with Janet Roberts


What are 3 pieces of advice that you’d give to an aspiring artist?

1. Know your audience.

If you want to be a full-time artist, earning enough income to support your lifestyle, you must know who you are creating your work for. In your heart, you are working for you, to express what you cannot express in any other way. So, know exactly who you are expressing yourself for so you can actually be paid by them to do it.

I know my audience are predominantly female, over 35, and seekers. They are open hearted, open-minded, women who do yoga, meditate, have children, a career, they travel, are curious, active, and know love. Each of them shares a similar constitution. None of them voted for Trump.

2. Do the work.

Don’t talk about creating or watch others create or spend too much time looking at art others created. You must create. Do it. Every day make something. Paint something. Write something. Compose something. Sculpt something. Every day. Just do the work. Discipline. Sacrifice. Commitment.

My friends who are part-time artists, and far more talented than I am, ask me how I do it. How does it work? I explain that when I work every day, eight hours a day in my studio, just like my husband does in his office, the money simply rains on me. The emails arrive, the phone rings, the inquiries are fielded. When I stop working, and the energy is suspended, and my studio is quiet, and I am not “in it,” the money flow ceases. It is like magic. As if the ‘Imagination God’ rewards those who do and not those who don’t. So, just do the work.

3. The power of Manifestation is real.

When I meditate each morning and evening, I place in my head and heart the life I imagine and desire. I ask the Universe for only that which I feel I deserve, always considering my service to others, and I am very specific about what I and what others in my life need. And so far, since beginning this practice thirty years ago, it has been a very powerful tool toward my fulfillment and success.

Give yourself time each day to ask for what you need, be specific, and work toward that goal. Assist the angels who are listening. Together, this practice has proven extraordinary. Write it down, express it within yourself, make it real. Manifest it. Believe in it. Ask for it. Deserve it. Guide it. Enable it. For it is truly yours for the asking.


Do you have “one more quick question” that you’d like to ask Janet? Email me and tell me what you want to know! I might choose your question for my ONE MORE THING… Podcast (Coming soon!!!)


Do you need some encouragement to help you achieve a big, daunting career goal? Would you like to have a career coach/strategist in your corner—feeding you ideas that you’d never considered before, helping you figure out who to contact, and what to say, and checking in to make sure you don’t procrastinate? If so… click here to find out how we can work together. I’d love to coach you!


Ask Ellen: Just Hire Me Already

Dear Ellen,

I’m self-employed and I’m dealing with something pretty frustrating. Here’s what’s been happening:

A potential client emails me. They seem interested in hiring me. They ask for more info about my services. I email back right away, attaching a personalized, detailed proposal. But then the client disappears! Either they don’t respond at all, or they say something like, “Thank you, but I’ve decided to postpone things for now.”

It’s really irritating when these kinds of clients waste my time and effort. I am not sure why this keeps happening. Any thoughts?

Just Hire Me Already


Dear JHMA,

Yes, this is a very frustrating dilemma! Every entrepreneur experiences this kind of situation, at least occasionally. You’re definitely not alone.

So, why does this keep happening over and over? Honestly, JHMA, it may have nothing to do with you.

Maybe this client contacted you eagerly, ready to begin work immediately, but then they received some terrible news about an illness or death in the family and now they’re completed overwhelmed.

Maybe they’re dealing with a complicated divorce and they’re falling behind on emails.

Maybe they dropped their iPhone into the ocean on a disastrous boating trip.

Maybe they got cold feet at the last moment because they’re struggling with financial difficulties, or because they’re doubting their own ability to succeed.

Maybe they’re battling depression.

Who knows what’s going on in their personal life? There are many reasons why someone might disappear or change their mind. Many times, it doesn’t have much to do with you.

That being said, it never hurts to examine your business practices to see if there’s anything you could improve. If clients repeatedly see your proposal and then vanish, it could be because…

• Your proposal is too long and confusing.

• Your proposal doesn’t feel enticing enough.

• Your proposal doesn’t match the way you present yourself on your website.

• Your proposal doesn’t have a sense of urgency and there’s no clear reason why they ought to hire you right now.

• Your communication style feels stiff and robotic, rather than warm and welcoming.

• You accidentally attached a photo of your dog instead of your proposal.

… or, some other issue.

It never hurts to ask yourself, “Is there anything that could be improved?”

If you’re not sure, sit down with a friend, walk them through your website, your emails, your proposals, all the pieces of your client intake process, and ask for their feedback. Ask them, “When you read this, how do you feel?” See what they say. It can be so valuable to get a fresh pair of eyes on your work.

To sum it up, JHMA, when a potential client mysteriously vanishes, it might have nothing to do with you. Or it might have everything to do with you. Or it might have just a little to do with you. In any event, there’s no point grumbling about it, right? The best thing to do is assess your business, make any improvements that you can, stride forward with optimism, and keep trying.

I’m rooting for you, and I hope your next client gives you a resounding “YES!”


Image: Willie Franklin

UNLOCKED Links: October 2017

Ellen Fondiler | Unlocked Links: October 2017

Once a month, I curate the best links on how to find work that you love, be excellent at what you do, and unlock any door that stands in your way. Mostly, I gather articles and podcasts that capture my attention because they make me think or laugh. Here is the link round-up for October 2017!

Rocking preemie babies. I think I have died and gone to heaven.

• Meet the legendary cake ladies of Andalusia, Alabama! Their bakery smells like your grandmother’s kitchen!

ROAM is a co-living and co-working community that tests the boundaries between work, travel and life!

• Most high school students are tired, stressed and bored. Enter Project Wayfinder. Through a series of exercises and worksheets, Project Wayfinder inspires the next generation to find purpose and become engaged in their own lives and empowered to contribute to the world around them.

Meet Moshe Trager, the Bay Area’s only full time mohel!

• Want to be your own boss? Start your own business? Create a brand and products, open a store, and make money? You can! Check out Bossygrl!

• I spend at least 1-2 hours a day reading articles about Trump, his administration and this new world order we find ourselves in. This article by Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of the best I read this month. It’s not an easy read but well worth it.

• FIRSTS features amazing women doing amazing things.

• More than ever, we need resilience to get through our lives. Here’s how to boost your ability to be resilient, regardless of your age.

• I don’t think I have ever met anyone who did not get nervous speaking in front of people. It’s especially tough for introverts. From Alexandra Franzen: public speaking tips for introverts.

• More and more, no matter your age, we go through big career changes. Here’s how to prepare.

• It’s a well known fact that honeybees are dying off and that their deaths are causing an ecological emergency. Thanks to ABeeWellProduction, there are more than 50 bee sanctuary hives on rooftops throughout San Francisco. It’s such a cool and important project.

Happy reading and listening,


Photo: Willie Franklin.

Your Career Forecast: October / November 2017

Your Career Forecast: October / November 2017

I work as a career and business strategist. But my secret passion is… astrology!

About once a month,  I post an overview of what’s happening in the cosmos and how it might influence your career. It’s called: Your Career Forecast.

Whether you’re job-hunting, running your own business, or wondering about the ideal time to ask for a raise or take a vacation, each Career Forecast will reveal the important dates and cosmic shifts that you need to know about.

I am joined by my dear friend, Heidi Rose Robbins, a master astrologer who will provide expert insight into what’s going on in the stars.

Let’s dive in!


What’s going on this month…

HEIDI: The Sun moves into Scorpio on October 22nd at 10:27pm Pacific. Scorpio is the sign of tenacity, depth, and control. It rules sex, intimacy, money, and death. It likes everything to be INTENSE. It dives deep and doesn’t come up for air. It commits. The month of Scorpio is always a very powerful, get-it-done month. We work hard. We face ourselves. We wrestle with our own inner dark and try to lift it repeatedly into the light. We call upon our inner warrior.

Interestingly, Mars moves into Libra on October 22nd as well, so there can be both diplomacy and fight. We can fight (Scorpio) for right relationships (Libra). We can have intense conversations (Scorpio) with an open hand (Libra).

Expect inspiration and imagination on October 24th when Mercury trines Neptune. It’s not the best day to get things done. It’s a much better day to dream about your next project, to seek inspiration, and to let your intuition lead the way.

It’s the Full Moon of Scorpio on November 3rd. Use the Full Moon energies to honor your warrior. Lift everything that feels dark, problematic or unloveable into the light. Do a ceremony. Light a candle. Meditate. Choose to end something that doesn’t serve you. Use this phrase: “Warrior am I and from the battle I emerge triumphant!”

Mercury moves into Sagittarius on November 5th giving us new vision and a renewed sense of purpose. If you have felt depressed or unmotivated, this shift will help tremendously. What are your goals? What is one tiny goal that you could reach today? Go for it.

Venus moves into Scorpio on November 7th, joining the Sun and Jupiter in Scorpio. Venus is the planet of love, intuition, and artistry. It is about pleasure and beauty. Venus in Scorpio is sexy, sensual and deep. It’s also a very positive financial placement. It would be a good time to negotiate for a raise—to feel your inherent value and worth.

Venus and Jupiter meet in the same degree of Scorpio on November 13th. It is a day to make something more beautiful. With the moon in Virgo for a good chunk of that day, it might be connected to your work. Do you need to clean your desk or make your office space a truer reflection of you?

Finally, say what you need to say on November 17th. Mercury and Mars are sextile giving a punch and energy to your words. The moon is in Scorpio which speaks the truth.

What does all of this mean for your career? Let’s look closer…


Here’s what you need to know…

ELLEN: Job-hunting can sometimes be a slow, tedious process. You send out dozens of emails and you wait… and wait… and wait. Or you do a job interview, only to discover that this really isn’t the right workplace for you. Or you get a job offer but the salary is pathetic, and they’re unwilling to negotiate. Ugh. It’s easy to feel discouraged.

But there’s good news: with the Full Moon in Scorpio on November 3rd, this is a great time to shake off discouragement and get fired up. Your inner warrior will ignited, in full force, ready to conquer the challenges ahead.

On this day, write down your “dream job description”—exactly what you want and why. Read it back to yourself. Remind yourself that an amazing job is worth waiting for—and worth fighting for. This isn’t the moment to give up or settle for a second-rate situation. It’s time to rally! You can and you will!


Here’s what you need to know…

ELLEN: With Venus in Scorpio on November 7th, sensuality, beauty, and prosperity are in the air! Your powers of persuasion will be enhanced. Wishes will be granted. If you want to ask for more vacation time, a bigger salary, a different schedule, or a brand new Macbook Air laptop, today is the day.

Overall, November 7th is a powerful day for all things prosperity- and money-related. You might find yourself having a brilliant, out-of-the-blue idea about how your company could generate more revenue or reduce expenses without sacrificing anything important. If something pops into your mind, speak up and share it!

On November 13th, we’ve got Venus conjunct Jupiter in Scorpio. Venus represents love and beauty. Jupiter is all about higher learning, education, and intellectual pursuits. Scorpio is all about tenacity and emotional intensity. On this day, the vibe is: love + knowledge + getting things done. It’s a great day to clean up your workspace, empty your trash bin, grab some inspiring books from the library, or sign up for an interesting seminar. Clear your mind, declutter your space, and set the scene for productivity.


Here’s what you need to know…

ELLEN: I’m thrilled that we’ve got Mercury in Sagittarius on November 5th. In ancient mythology, Mercury is the Messenger God, the ruler of words and communication. Sagittarius is the archer, ready to take aim and charge after big, adventurous goals.

With Mercury and Sagittarius energies in the air, November 5th is a great day to think about your vision for 2018 and express it. Write it down. Email a friend to share your plans. Or make a vision board if you’re more of a visual thinker rather than a verbal person.

Sagittarius has a frisky, daring quality. It’s the centaur—half horse, half human—and this creature refuses to be tamed! If you’ve been feeling “trapped” in your business—working too much, slogging away, undercharging for your services, or hustling to achieve something that just isn’t working—November 5th is a great moment to close that chapter and begin anew. Think: wild horses and wide-open spaces.

Lastly, if there’s something you need to say—that you’ve been holding back— November 17th is a prime opportunity. It’s a day of truth-telling. That blog post you’ve wanted to post, except you worry it’s too revealing, or maybe a little too honest? Post it. Share your story. Maybe you need to fire your assistant because things are not working out? Do it. Or maybe there’s someone you’d love to collaborate with, but you worry they’re too busy or won’t be interested? Just reach out! Don’t suppress the words that you’re yearning to say.


• Deep and authentic conversations.

• Tenacity, intensity, finishing projects, getting things done.

• Connecting with your emotions: what you really want and why.

• Cleaning, clearing, setting the stage for a successful new year.

• Speaking the truth.


October 22nd – The Sun moves into Scorpio. (A month of tenacity and passion begins!)

October 22nd – Mars moves into Libra. (Combative energy, but also balance and equanimity. A great day to have a fiery debate, or to fight for fairness and justice.)

October 24th – Mercury trines Neptune. (A dreamy day. Tune into your imagination.)

November 3rd – Full Moon of Scorpio. (Scorpio powers in full force! Your inner warrior will be activated. Rally the troops. Get things done.)

November 5th – Mercury moves into Sagittarius. (Set new goals and express them. Write it down. Make a vision board. Start working towards this new reality.)

November 7th – Venus moves into Scorpio. (Sensuality, persuasiveness, and intensity ripple through this day. Ask for something you want!)

November 13th – Venus and Jupiter are in the same degree of Scorpio. (Clear your workspace. Make things beautiful. Set the scene for a productive season and new year.)

November 17th – Mercury is sextile Mars. (Let the truth come out. Say what needs to be said.)


“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
—Thomas A. Edison

Friends, use this month to get fiercely tenacious and committed. Just do it. Go for it. Dive in. Win the battle with yourself. Overcome procrastination and lethargy. Fight the good fight.

With love,


Learn more about my career & business coaching services here.

Learn more about Heidi and her astrological services here.

An Interview with Grace Kraaijvanger

Ellen Fondiler | An Interview With Grace Kraaijvanger

Whenever I meet someone who’s got a really cool job, who runs a thriving business, or who has completed an amazing project, I always want to know: “How did you do that?”

I’m always curious to hear the “behind-the-scenes story” — who they emailed, what they said, how they got their first client, how they got their foot in the door — the exact steps that they took to achieve their goal.

HOW DID YOU DO THAT? is an interview series where we get to hear the REAL story behind someone’s success—not the polished, neat and tidy version.

To see a complete list of all the interviews that have been completed to date, head over here.

Ellen Fondiler | An Interview With Grace Kraaijvanger

Name: Grace Kraaijvanger
Location: Mill Valley, California
Profession: Founder of The Hivery

You’re the founder of The Hivery, a woman’s co-working space in Northern California… and one of the first women’s co-working spaces in the country.

Some Hivery members are entrepreneurs, some are consultants, others are writers. All kinds of interesting people working on all kinds of projects. I recently became a member and I love it. There is such a creative, focused energy in the air whenever I walk inside.

Can you remember the exact moment when the idea for The Hivery came into your brain? Did it come as a sudden flash or was it more of a gradual realization? What was the inspiration behind this project? Walk us through the story of how The Hivery got started.

I definitely remember the sudden flash. I was about 27 years old. I was living in San Francisco and I was a professional dancer, teacher, and choreographer. I worked with contemporary dance companies. I was very much in the artist scene in San Francisco, which is a very vibrant scene. And I was interested in opening a dance studio. So I think I was an entrepreneur before I realized it.

I started seeing these really interesting spaces, some of which I could afford, and some of which I couldn’t. But as I would look at those spaces I kept thinking, “Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a space where women gathered to make art and work on projects?” I envisioned a creative co-op for women—women like me and my dance friends. I didn’t know what to call it—back then “co-working” wasn’t a word.

During that time, my side job was marketing consulting. I did that to pay my bills and pay the rent. I had a home office. At first, I thought working from home would be so great, because I had so much flexibility. But working from home can be lonely, too.

Fast forward several years. I had retired from dancing. I was doing a lot more marketing work, but I was feeling pretty bored with that part of my career. I felt like my life needed an infusion of creativity. I really missed the dance community.

I told a friend of mine, “I need a massive change. What I’m doing right now is not working. I have this idea about creating a space for women where they can come together and work and support each other. Not just an ‘office’. It would be a community.”

And my friend looked at me and said, “You told me about this idea 10 years ago, and it’s time you get on it.”

Isn’t it funny how certain ideas seem to follow us—coming back into our minds, over and over? Like an idea that you just can’t shake off? That has definitely happened for me, too. So after that conversation with your friend, you realized, “OK, it’s time to really do this.” And then what happened?

I started to look at spaces again. When you’re on the right path, the doors open. So within two weeks, I found a space—a 1000 square foot loft in an art gallery. It was the perfect place to start The Hivery.

It was small, but the commitment and the risk were not very big. I thought, “This is my Petri dish. This is where I can try this idea and see if anyone comes.”

I started putting the word out. It was slow at first, but the answer was always a resounding “Yes!” once I could get the women into the space.

Pretty soon, I began wondering, “What if this could be more than a co-working space? What if we have workshops and events and learning opportunities and mixers and social stuff and wellness stuff, too?” I started experimenting. The more I threw into the experiment, the more I learned what resonated.

I’ve never been so sure this is what I was put on the planet to do. Even when I work hard there is an ease. This is my life’s work.

How did it feel to walk away from your marketing job and start The Hivery? Was it a scary transition? Were your colleagues and friends surprised? Did anybody say, “Are you really sure?” What did it feel like for you?

I have this little green notebook, and it’s from that year of my life where I was trying to figure out, “Should I do this? Should I not do this? If I do this, what the heck is it?”

I still look at it. It’s hilarious, because it says words like “creative, collaborative, open space, light filled, fabulous, collaborative opportunities for women to learn and grow.” It’s The Hivery—and I wrote it all out without knowing what it was.

But in that green journal, I have pages of pros and cons about whether or not I should leave my marketing job. Because the job had a lot of great qualities. I was paid well. It was a company that was based in Connecticut, so I worked from home, which was great because I had two small kids. By the time they were shutting down in Connecticut, it was 3 o’clock here. I could pick my kids up from school. I worked pretty autonomously and independently; I was creating something for a company that was growing really quickly that seemed to have a lot of potential. On paper it was a really good job. I couldn’t figure out why I felt so dissatisfied.

What I finally realized was that I was working to fulfill somebody else’s vision. I was spending 90% of my work days alone in my home office feeling totally isolated and lonely, and then that feeling of isolation would turn into feelings of self-doubt.

It is interesting as I look back at those pros and cons, because I really thought that it was a very difficult decision that I was struggling with. At the time I thought, “Am I crazy to give this up?” Well, now I think, “I’d be crazy to not give it up.”

As you mentioned earlier, you’ve been hosting a lot of events at The Hivery. You’ve done workshops on entrepreneurship, mindfulness, navigating stress, finding balance, and many other topics. Tell us about the very first Hivery event. What was the topic? How many people came? Was it free or did you sell tickets? Were you nervous that nobody would show up?

I think I did my first Hivery event without knowing it was a Hivery event.

What happened is that my kids’ elementary school was having a silent auction and I wanted to donate something. So I donated a lunchtime event called “Women Inspiring Women.” It was a conversation about creating “creative community among women.” I remember writing a description of the event, and I hesitated so long before I pressed “Send.”

I kept thinking, “Maybe no one will sign up. Maybe no one else wants to have this conversation. Maybe this is just the voice in my head that’s having this conversation.” But I pressed “Send” and then… 15 or 16 women showed up.

We had two round-table discussions. I put together a whole agenda and I led a facilitated conversation. And what I noticed that day was that, physically and physiologically, I felt so at home. I realized, “This is what I’m supposed to do.”

Ellen Fondiler | An Interview With Grace Kraaijvanger

You mentioned feeling hesitant to hit “Send” on that email—the email that led to the first Hivery event. You worried that nobody would care, or want to come.

This situation is so common. As entrepreneurs, so often, we have ideas and we’re nervous to put them out in the world because we don’t know what we’re doing, or we think nobody’s going to show up, or we think, “Nobody’s going to understand what I’m trying to do.”

But if you look at any success story, the lesson always is to “start where you are.” Don’t wait until things are perfect or totally right in your head. Just go from where you are and let your work form a life of its own. Do you find that to be true?

Absolutely. I almost missed opening The Hivery all together because of my fears.

One big block I felt was that I didn’t have the credentials to open a women’s space—so I thought. I didn’t study women’s studies. I don’t have a coaching certificate. I had a thousand reasons why I wasn’t qualified.

At one point, I thought to myself, “You need to get a coaching certificate first, and then you can open this thing.” I started looking at these programs that were eight to twelve months long, and I realized that I didn’t want to wait that long. I wanted to jump right in.

I’m so glad you jumped in! And those fears you described… those fears are so common. As a career strategist, most of my clients are women, and I hear a lot of them say, “I would love to do that, but I’m not qualified, or I’m not an expert yet.

Often these are extremely accomplished women with numerous qualifications and so much talent, but for whatever reason they don’t believe they’re qualified enough to pursue their goals.

It sounds like you’ve dealt with these feelings in the past, too. Why do you think so many women feel this way? Some people call it “the imposter syndrome,” believing that you’re a newbie, a fraud, an imposter, even when you’re clearly not. How can women get out of this pattern of self-doubt?

In Tara Mohr’s book, Playing Big, she talks about this as a “hiding strategy.” And that’s exactly what it is. We employ our hiding strategies when we feel fearful, when we feel self-doubt. It’s a way of putting something in front of your dreams or your vision.

So again, my example was that I thought that I needed to be a certified coach before I could open a women’s co-working space. I thought I needed that official credential. Well, it wasn’t true. But it was a way of saying, “I need to delay, I need to hold off for twelve months before I can really explore my vision.”

So I say try. Start first. Start first and then get your credentials later if you need them.

As more and more women wanted to join The Hivery, your original space began to feel cramped. How did you deal with this? Was it a difficult decision to expand and build out your current space?

We had definitely outgrown the space. We were sharing it with an art gallery, and it was certainly my vision to have our own space. I didn’t want to share space with another organization. I was slowly looking around. And then, we lost our lease on that space. It was just the push I needed.

We were given 60 days’ notice. It’s no easy task to find commercial real estate in Marin County, or the Bay Area in general, and negotiate a lease and get it open in 60 days. But I was really determined to do it. I didn’t want to lose the momentum of my customers. I had 28 members, all of whom were very loyal to my vision. And I felt like all 28 of them were part of building something bigger.

When I first saw the new space, there was all sorts of synchronicity that made me feel like this was the right move. It was a former dance studio. It has a skylight that is the shape of a honeycomb in the ceiling. I fell in love with it, but I also had a lot of doubt. I actually felt really sick right before I signed the lease because I thought, “Is this crazy?”

It was a big leap for me. It was a big financial risk for me. And I thought, first of all, “What if it fails?” And second of all, this is my hometown where I’m raising my kids, and I thought, “What if it fails in front of my whole hometown? How embarrassing.” It felt like it was not just a financial risk, but also a personal risk.

I wasn’t sleeping well or eating well. When I look back at that time, I think “Thank God that I didn’t let those emotions and that fear prevent me from doing something.”

Clearly, it was a perfect home for The Hivery. And it was a launch into a whole other level of the business, and a whole other level of this movement. We were one of the first women’s co-working spaces in the country. So to do that then, that was something big. I’m so glad I didn’t miss the opportunity.

What’s been the most discouraging, frustrating, or heartbreaking moment in your career thus far, and how did you get through it?

The biggest heartbreaks have also been the biggest breakthroughs. For example, like I mentioned a bit earlier, when I first started The Hivery, I lost my lease with 60 days’ notice.

It was coincidentally the first month that I had finally made it into the black and was profitable. I felt like I had just gotten my sea legs and then had to scramble.

Ultimately, it taught me to play bigger, find a larger, more beautiful, more visible space, and really take The Hivery to the next level.

Ellen Fondiler | An Interview With Grace Kraaijvanger


Pretend you’re sitting down for coffee with a woman who wants to pursue one of her passions and start a new project or business.

Imagine this woman is feeling hesitant, wondering, “Should I really do this? Can I really do this? I’m not sure…”

What are 3 pieces of advice that you’d give to her?

1. Stop asking for advice.

You already know what you want. Get quiet and listen to YOURSELF first and foremost. Most of the women I coach at The Hivery have had something they’ve wanted to do for a long time. Stop shopping it around for validation and listen to the voice inside you that has been wanting this for quite some time.

2. Surround yourself with positive people who believe in your potential.

Times of transformation are sensitive and energy is contagious. Surrounding yourself with “Debbie Downers” will only feed the voice of self-doubt. Positive people will ignite the possibilities.

3. Question your hiding strategies.

Saying “I’m not sure” or “It’s too risky” or “I’m too this or that” or “I need another credential first” is often a cover for fear. Inventory if your self-talk is really true. It may not be that you’re not sure, but rather that you’re just plain scared. Being scared is different…you can tackle fear. Be honest with yourself so you know exactly what your inner voice is telling you.


Do you have “one more quick question” that you’d like to ask Grace? Email me and tell me what you want to know! I might choose your question for my ONE MORE THING… Podcast (Coming soon!!!)


Do you need some encouragement to help you achieve a big, daunting career goal? Would you like to have a career coach/strategist in your corner—feeding you ideas that you’d never considered before, helping you figure out who to contact, and what to say, and checking in to make sure you don’t procrastinate? If so… click here to find out how we can work together. I’d love to coach you!