Good Find Friday: Find 1 Thing To Finish

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Are you ready to kickstart a million project this weekend?

Yeah – you might want to rethink that.

Organizer Julie Morganstern tweeted some incredible advice this week:

Say a healthy no to all those little stragglers quietly stealing your intellectual and emotional energy.

Like what, you ask?

Every time you try to cook you think, “Where did my favorite spoon go?” You lay down to sleep, but the overflowing hamper says, “Don’t rest yet.” A voicemail notification is still lit up on your phone, but it’s been a week since your friend called.

Before you end your workday or (this weekend), find one thing to finish. Not kind of done. Not done in your head. Done in the real world kind of done. Accomplishing things makes you feel great!

Wrap it up, Soul Bosses!

Up To The Task

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“If I didn’t have pain in my life, I wouldn’t be alive.”

Ouch – what a mindset! If there’s ever been a sentence to push back on, that’s it!

The July series, The Land of No, is focusing on divine dissatisfaction. We all know what dissatisfaction is, but what makes it divine? The fact that you go past the point of complaining. You work with your internal GPS to identify the next, best step. Then you take it.

This is what happened to Clive. His biggest distributor suddenly cancelled his contract when they were bought out by a national company. The more he looked at the numbers, the more likely it was that they might not survive. He started talking with his accountant about bankruptcy.

Clive and his wife were out for a walk after dinner when he started to replay the situation. He told me, “I said to Marla, “I’ve got to get the new owners to offer me a contract. I’d even take a pay cut. I just… Before I could finish my sentence, Marla cut me off.”

“A pay cut!” she shrieked. “Wait a second. You were a great vendor for them for years. OK, maybe they couldn’t tell you that they were getting bought out, but they knew they were your primary customer. They led you to believe everything would stay the same.”

“And when the buy-out came, they just cancelled your contract. No period to wind down the relationship. No bonus for years of service. Honey, please. I say good riddance to supposed partners like that!”

“It was like someone threw cold water on my face,” Clive said, his eyes growing wide. “The coffee shop deal was a lucky break the first year we opened. Losing that contract three years later was awful, but it was the moment I grew up. I didn’t need to fold my business; I needed to fight for it.”

“By the time we got home, my whole outlook had changed. I have a great product. I’m a trustworthy guy. I want a distributor who gets that. I didn’t want to beg a random corporation 3,000 miles away to bail me out.”

“I connected with a hotel who doesn’t have a pastry chef on site like the big chains. They made me pare up our product line for a 6 month trial – pastries for their breakfast rotation and cookies for the coffee station that’s open to guests all day. To tell you the truth, it was a good challenge. Who knows where it will lead. One thing I do know is that I’m up to the task.”

It’s time to say no to learning only through struggle, frustration or being let down. Circumstances like constant pain simply aren’t our natural state. They’re a warning that something is off, and you need to get back in alignment.

This week, find some different building blocks. Do you want a bold future? Your new teachers – joy, mindfulness and dedication – are here to help.

A Pushback In Your Spirit

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I have a radical invitation for you: Be intolerant.

Hold up for a second. To clarify, I’m not talking about being a bigot or letting prejudice run wild.

I’m suggesting that you push back on less than acceptable circumstances. That means you courageously see what isn’t working. You skip the part where you avoid tough choices. Then you utter a firm and healthy, “No!”

In the July series, The Land of No, we’ll talk about how to reject poor conditions, commonly known in New Thought as “divine dissatisfaction”. This is how Catherine Ponder described it:

“I will not put up with or tolerate this experience as necessary, lasting or right. I refuse to accept things as they are. I am God’s child and I will accept nothing but His complete goodness for me.”

CC pulled me aside one day to tell me the big news. She was going to be a great-grandmother!

Congratulations? Surely there was a mix-up. I had met her grandsons years before, but they were in middle school. While I struggled to sort through my confusion, she filled in the blanks.

“Mike called with the news. I was so excited! I mean, I never thought I’d be a great-grandmother.”

“Hmmm…,” I said. “It’s been years since I saw him. What’s he doing now?”

“He’s going to school – he’ll graduate soon. She’s only about three months along, but I couldn’t help myself – I’ve already started looking at baby clothes. And then there’s the shower. Her family will probably host a baby shower, but we want to as well, and…”

CC kept talking baby registries and party plans for the next 10 minutes. Her enthusiasm was undeniable. The trouble was that she was so busy saying yes that she hadn’t thought about all the no’s that were becoming apparent.

Did Mike have a way to support the baby? No. He had his first job at a local grocery store the Summer before, and that was only part-time.

Was Mike ready to make a home with the mother of his child? No. They had only been dating for a few months.

Did Mike have plans for any kind of professional training or college? Not yet.

All those no’s added up, and the results weren’t good. Five years later, Mike and his family are struggling with poverty.

Let’s rewind. What could have happened if CC saw the whole situation, not just what she wanted to see?

Imagine this conversation: “My daughter and I are having dinner with the girl’s parents next week to talk about what comes next. Right now, state aid is their best shot to make ends meet. I love Mike, but I don’t want him to fall into a lifetime of welfare. Everything will work out, it’s just that…these kids need to get serious.”

There’s probably something bothering you right now – we all face hard circumstances. You might feel tempted to go into denial or invent a million and one workarounds. Anything so you don’t have to face hard facts. Instead, get a pushback in your spirit.

Are the overwhelming details in front of you all powerful or permanent?

Hell, no.

Good Find Friday: 4th of July Grilling

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Summer is officially here and you’re planning to give your grill a permanent workout. Am I right?

If a big plate of ribs doesn’t appeal to you, don’t click away just yet. There are plenty of alternatives in the links below, including vegetables, pizza and even fruit.

And if you’re celebrating the 4th of July next week, don’t forget dessert! (Even if it doesn’t go on the grill.)

If you’re like me, you may need a refresher about how to get and keep your grill in shape this Summer. Try the aluminum foil hack – it works!

It’s time to eat up. Enjoy!

Williams-Sonoma Global Grilling

Cooking Light 4th of July menu including grilled fruits and vegetables

Vegetarian Times – 5 vegetarian skewers

Epicurious 4th of July menu including grilled split lobster and grilled clams

Vegan barbecue staples

Epicurious Red, White and Blue desserts

The Headline For Your Story

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Here’s a brain teaser: Write a headline about how your career is going right now.

Are you stumped?

OK, let’s back it up to 7 years ago. The US was in the middle of a huge financial crisis with thousands of lay-offs. You may not have lost your job, but it became clear that your fate was in your own hands. You used to count down the days to the next long weekend, but now your spare time is dedicated to your passion project.

Think again about your homepage, considering your mindset change since 2010. How about this? “Created brilliant, self-made success!” Wow! Now that’s a headline.

A key Soul Boss principle is moving through change with flexibility and authenticity. Those skills are essential for professional happiness in an ever-changing world.

Why? Because staying in a single career for decades along with the predictability (and boredom) of linear choices got left behind in the 20th century.

This what anthropologist Wade Davis observed about career paths:

“A career is not something that you put on, like a coat. It is something that grows organically around you, step by step, choice by choice, and experience by experience.

Everything adds up. No work is beneath you. Nothing is a waste of time, unless you make it so.

An elderly cab driver in New York may well have as much to teach you as a wandering saint in India, a madman in the Sahara, certainly a university professor.”

In this month’s series, Bless Your Path, we’ve met a lot of people who decided to write a new headline for their story.

  1. In “You’re On To Something,” Geoffrey Keating took a sudden left turn and stopped pursuing a doctorate in theology to make artisan furniture full-time. He followed his internal compass about what would make him happy and then took action. His headline might be, “Looked. Listened. Then leaped!”
  2. In “Yeah, That Happened,” we met a woman who found that gratitude was the way to turn around her disappointment about being fired. Owning that hard experience was uncomfortable. Yet she quickly had an insight she’ll carry the rest of her life: her value as a person wasn’t tied to a single job. Her headline could read, “Bad Break Leads to Big Time Wisdom.”
  3. In “I Dig This,” we saw the value of growing in place. When you apply the psychology of safety, experiments from starting small to failing fast can pay big dividends. Perhaps your headline will be, “Gambled Big, Living Large.”

What’s the narrative you’d like to design? Is it time to get serious so you’re ready for the opportunity to be on a bigger playing field? Maybe you want to find your tribe so you can spend your days shoulder to shoulder with some of the smartest, most engaged people you’ve ever known. Or perhaps you’ll challenge conventional wisdom like Geoffrey Keating and do a full-scale reboot.

Whether you just graduated or have been working for decades, your story is coming together. Not just for today, but for a year, 5 years or 10 years from now.

What will your headline be?

Good Find Friday: Write It Down, Make It Happen

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I’m late to the party with “Write It Down, Make It Happen: Knowing What You Want and Getting It“, but I’m glad I found it!

Written in 2001 by Dr. Henriette Anne Klauser, Write it Down, Make It Happen provides practical advice about goal setting. It’s very much like the ideas we discussed in the March series, Make The Turn. Having a vision is only the starting place. Writing down how you’re going to get there and then having accountability makes it real. Klauser provides easy tips that demonstrate the power of language and planning.

Write it Down is an easy-to-understand, inspiring book that will kickstart you into setting attainable goals. Do you feel like you have a new lease on life with the Summer Solstice? Keep the momentum happening with this book.

Get going!

I Dig This

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Have you ever been encouraged to change jobs just….because?

Let’s get this out of the way. Changing for its own sake isn’t always the best idea.

It’s ok to like the work you do. In fact, you may even be in a place where you’re not only doing a good job, but other people love what you’re doing and how you do it.

Take a minute to visualize that. The time when you lean back, put your feet up, look around and say with certainty, “I dig this.”

Being happy with your work creates an interesting challenge. That’s because big change is exciting. Where will you live? Who are you going to meet? Where will this job take you?

Yet sometimes the big leap can be a swan dive into an empty concrete pool. In no time, the new job, the new neighbor or new lover can be just like the old one. That’s when most people start the chase all over again, losing the chance for self-reflection.

Working with what you’ve got could be the surprising solution.

Google tried to solve this problem in 2013. They created Project Aristotle which had a single, elite purpose: build the perfect team.

Your first thought might be, “Well, that’s easy – just hire the smartest people.”

Good answer. Except Google had already hired some of the best minds around.

Next you might say, “Just put them on the same team.”

Another good comeback, but it wasn’t that simple. It turned out that people who were used to being the smartest guy in the room didn’t always play well with others. Co-workers complained that their responses ranged from condescending to outright hostile.Don't Count the Days

The key was to help high performers marshal their talents in a positive way. To take employees who relied heavily on math, science and data and show them that building successful products required more than finding a quick, binary “right” or “wrong” answer.

It was ultimately nicknamed the “psychology of safety.” What does that mean in practice? “Yes” to experimentation and failing fast. “No” to shutting your teammates down. People flourished only if they could make mistakes without being shamed or judged.

The psychology of safety isn’t about playing it safe. It’s actually the opposite, and that’s why it’s a good topic for the June series about your professional journey, Bless Your Path. The perfect time to challenge yourself is when you feel great about where you are. When you’re confident, the stakes are low. You can take a bad outcome here or there without it derailing your career.

This week, apply the psychology of safety and go from “I dig this” to “I’m digging in!” Can you use your mindfulness skills to hack a process and make your day more efficient? Will you switch up your schedule so self-care moves from the “nice to have” column to “essential”? Do you hate hard conversations? It’s time to learn how to manage them.

This moment, the one you love? It’s your biggest opportunity.

Good Find Friday: 6 Tips For Summer Travel

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Summer is officially 5 days away, but are you itching for a road trip?

If traveling makes you a little nervous, here are 6 tips to make your trip run like clockwork:

  1. Don’t Guess on the Weather. Technically it was Summer in London, but you could have fooled me. The howling wind at 8 AM outside Westminster Abbey made me glad to have a windbreaker on hand. General trends are helpful, but fine-tune your last-minute packing by checking the 10 day forecast.
  2. Pros Don’t Stand In Ticket Lines. You already know to reserve your tickets online, but be sure to group your activities by location, too. Spend your vacation time doing fun stuff, not in a subway or the back of a cab as you shuffle from one end of town to the other.
  3. Your Phone Charger Goes With You. It’s a tip that never gets old – always put your phone charger in your personal item. And take advantage of charger bars at the airport. Boarding your flight with a full battery? Instant feel-good!
  4. Carry Some Protein. Always carry almonds, trail mix or protein bars, especially if you’re traveling with kids. Everyone will be less tempted to load up on airport snacks like big bagels or huge bags of cookies and candy. If you’d like more tips about traveling with the family, such as eating out and road trips, check out Meg Harris’ terrific site, Special Globe. She loves to travel with her son and special needs daughter.
  5. Pack in a Single Palette. Simplify your packing by following advice from tour guide Sarah Murdoch to pack in a single palette. Pick black or brown as your base, then add accent colors. Be sure to check out Sarah’s “Pre-Travel Task” checklist.
  6. Pouches are your friend. You probably already use packing cubes in your luggage, but apply the same idea to your personal item (cosmetics or medications in one pouch, snacks in another, etc.). Think of it this way: the more distracted you are sifting through a messy boarding bag, the more attractive you are to pick-pockets and scam artists.

Bon voyage!

Yeah, That Happened

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OK – you had some trouble.

You could have been laid off.

Or had some words with your boss.

You may have even been fired.

Embarrassing? Maybe. But that’s up to you.

In the June series, Bless Your Path, we’re looking at how you can bless every step of your professional journey. When you’re a good boss of you, you don’t let one event on a long trip, even a harsh one, take over the rest of your life. Step one to moving past an experience is owning it.

This is what happened for a woman profiled by Humans of New York. Here’s her story:

I lost my job last week. I was there for six years. It was the first job I’ve ever lost.

It’s hard not to take it personally when someone tells you that you’re not needed. There were ten people on my team, and I’m the one they chose. So my mind has been running through all the possible things I could have done wrong.

The first few days were the hardest. I spent a lot of time crying.

But my birthday was a few days ago, and my friends took me out for a taco night. And it woke me up. I started laughing. I couldn’t even remember why I’d felt so sad.

My life was so much bigger than that job. I’m healthy. I live in a wonderful city, and I have a great group of friends.

I just lost a small piece of the pie.

Did you catch the turnaround? (No, not taco night!) It was the moment she began expressing gratitude.

As she ticked through all the Good in her life, the impact of her job loss started to change. Work, although important, was just a small part of a much bigger picture. A beautiful, rich picture.

You may still feel awkward about a job you lost years ago. You might even feel compelled to keep doctoring the story. However, what truly matters isn’t the moment you were let go; it’s the silver lining you discovered. That’s the story worth telling.

Yes, you got fired, but when you lost that hyper-critical boss, you also lost the headache you used to get every night.

You didn’t know it at the time, but getting laid off was a stroke of luck. Your friends who stayed on went through repeated rounds of nerve-wracking layoffs before the company finally closed. Their self-esteem plummeted along with the stock price.

Or like the woman in New York, you could have been insulted by your manager. However, that grim conversation spurred you to look for something else. Moving on was tough, but then you got together with your former workmates recently and listened to them complain. About the Same. Old. Things.

This week, get out of the muck and mire of blaming, anger and resentment. Start counting your blessings; it’s the fastest technique to get to neutral. Then use those blessings as the basis for a clear, authentic story.

You’ll have your answer ready the next time someone asks you about that blip on your resume. “Oh that? Yeah, that happened.”