Today STC’s Notebook welcomes another regular guest blogger, Judith Shenouda, the author of Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal. Judith will be blogging monthly about career advice. It is said that advice is cheap. We know that many people give it freely. So freely, that those of us on the receiving often end pay little attention. Since this month includes Valentine’s Day, I started thinking about how advice is sometimes a precious gift. Let me introduce you to Thomas Transport, Star Singer, and Polly Politico. Consider how their advice can inspire you to dream about your career success, give you high hopes, and motivate you to take some next steps! Like Orville and Wilbur Wright, Thomas Transport is an inventor. He dreams of combining technologies from land, sea, and air transports into a brand new vehicle. Others say that Thomas’s new vehicle can’t be built, because the design he envisions has never been built before. Yet, he continues to tinker with the many scrap parts he collects from builders of traditional modes of transportation. He persists. His advice? Keep at it. Accept others’ discards. Experiment. You might just transform what appears to be junk into a real treasure. Star Singer lost her job and her home. Yet, she continues to dream that someday, one of those homes she sees with a “for sale” sign will be her home. As she looks at the smoke coming from a chimney, she envisions a day when she will be warmly snuggled inside. Though hungry, Star finds it difficult to ask for help. The solution? She volunteers to work in a community cupboard as payment for food. She sees others with needs, offers a smile and a song, starts entertaining for free, and then finds paid gigs. One day, she will have a home and fill a community cupboard for others. Star’s advice? Whatever your current circumstance, pick up the pieces, start over, and remember to give back. Polly Politico dreams of one day being President! Still in her 20s, she runs for mayor of her town and dreams of empowering all constituents—young, old, disenfranchised, and privileged—to revitalize the community. Polly’s campaign has its challenges. The naysayers claim, “You’re too young. You never ran for public office before. You have no political experience. Who would vote for you?” Yet, Polly does not listen. With her promotional flyers in hand, she campaigns door to door, attends events, and involves everyone she knows in her innovative fundraisers. The media become interested in her style and in her substance. The more people see and hear of Polly, the more they like her. Outfinanced, Polly, in fact, loses this election, but she will run again. Her advice? “Win or lose, keep on keeping on!” Consider this advice from Thomas, Star, and Polly. When it comes to your career success, have a dream, and have high hopes that you can make it happen. Find ways to remove, erase, delete, go around, go under, go over, go through, or transform any obstacle. Make the obstacle small. Frame it as a minor inconvenience, a mere irritation, a challenge, an opportunity. May this advice be a welcome Valentine’s Day gift as you take the next steps to your career success. Judith Shenouda is the hands-on owner of a technical communication business that crafts publications for corporate clients in diverse industries and is the author of Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal. Join Judith on Wednesday, 20 February, for the latest in her live Web seminar series based on her book, Career Success in 12 Easy Steps—Build on Your Successes.