Why You Can Stop Worrying About Your Career

Time to read: 2:19.26 minutes
 At camp, being…well…campy.

At camp, being…well…campy.

This summer, while I was working at my children's summer camp, I offered pro-bono coaching to the staff. After 30-hours of early morning sessions with a group of 19-26-year-olds, I started to notice patterns. Then, when considering my MBA, private and corporate clients, I realized there is an arch to the career journey characterized by age and phase of life. Daily, I hear people worrying about their careers and life choices. My goal today is to reassure you whether this is your first rodeo or your one-hundredth.

(Note: I'm not a huge fan of reducing individual experience to a one-size-fits all label so know that as I share these observations with you, the boundaries are fuzzy, and professional and personal experiences are as unique as you are.)

Age 19 - mid to late 20s: Exploration. If you are in this age group, you are likely laying awake a night worrying that you don't know what you want to be or if you should marry the guy or dump him, or if you will ever be able to afford a house. These early years of career development are fraught with worry and doubt.

My message? Have fun! Explore! Try some stuff. Work at a ski resort. Deliver pizza in New Zealand. Apprentice yourself to that scientist in the woods. Trust yourself.

Bottom line: Stop worrying.

Age 25 - late 20s (or if you're like me, early 30s): Roots. If you are here, you are starting to wonder about settling down. Living in one place starts to seem more attractive than seasonal employment and traveling all the time. Not surprisingly, as your perspective shifts, you start to find potential life partners. You might be hungry to get a career started and work, work, work. This is a great age to be a consultant or to have a job with lots of travel. You might be worrying if you are ready for commitments and responsibility.

My message? Embrace the change in perspective. Put down those roots. Make choices. If you're chomping at the bit to work, then work. Nothing is set in stone. You can always change direction. Trust yourself.

Bottom line: Stop worrying.

Age mid-30s to mid to late 40s: Complexity. Before this phase, you think you understand your priorities (career!). Then you have kids. Or your parents get sick. Or you get laid off. Or something else interrupts your perfect plan. Life gets complex, and your priorities start to shift again. If you are in this phase, you are likely worrying if you have invested too many years in the wrong job or if you should stay home with your children or if you will ever get that promotion or if you should try for an overseas assignment or if you are saving enough for retirement.

My message? Get back in touch with your values. Learn to live with increasing uncertainty. Be intentional in your choices. Make choices. Don't just stumble along doing what you think you're supposed to. Trust yourself.

Bottom line: Stop worrying.

Age late 40s to late 50s or early 60s: Confidence. If this is you, you likely care a lot less what people think. You're clearer about your gifts and are using them in the world. If you are a career professional, you've developed a level of expertise - even if that expertise spans many different specific job descriptions (like me). You're getting wiser. And calmer. Some things may be shaken up or re-negotiated - divorce, kids getting older, getting reconnected to past hobbies and interests. You might worry if you even remember who you are anymore.

My message? Get close with your gifts. Don't be afraid to be brave about necessary life changes. Own what you love. Be who you are. Trust yourself.

Bottom line: Stop worrying.

Mid to late 60s and 70s. Letting go. I rely on dear friends and mentors for anything I know about this phase. If you're here, your relationship to work as you've known it is shifting. You're excited about the prospect of well-earned freedom even as you worry about your identity and can't wait to purge your house. For some, the temptation to cling to a professional identity over-powers the potential expansion of possibilities making the transition to this powerful phase of life more difficult.

My message? Keep going! Have fun! Embrace the possibilities of a newly wide-open playing field. Invest your energy in the things that are most important to you.

Bottom line: Stop worrying.

Here's your challenge: Can you can find the point of this article?

Rebel love to you!

Christina

P.S. Do you have a friend who is fretting about one of these career phases? Share the love with them by forwarding this email. They can sign up to join us right here.

 

What Makes You a Corporate Rebel?

Time to read: 30 seconds and maybe 2 minutes to respond

 What makes a Corporate Rebel? It's the boots!

What makes a Corporate Rebel? It's the boots!

I get invited somewhat regularly to participate in interviews or collaborations with other coaches and entrepreneurs. I'm choosy about where I put my time and frankly, where I put your time and trust. With the most recent invitations, I've noticed something interesting which raises a question I want to ask you.

Most of the invitations are from coaches who help entrepreneurs build businesses. The hosts assume because the word "rebel" is in my brand, that I help people leave corporate jobs to become entrepreneurs. They are surprised when I decline and explain that I do not work with entrepreneurs, but in fact, help people get in and stay IN corporate. They assume that being a rebel and working in corporate is an impossible combination. In fact, a friend once said that he thought being a Corporate Rebel is an oxymoron.

To that I say, PISH-POSH!

You can be a rebel and work in a corporate job. When I was working in corporate, I knew lots of creative, dynamic and interesting people I would describe as rebels.

Which inspires a question for you: What makes you a rebel in your corporate job? (And if you're a coach or entrepreneur, you are most welcome here, too and I'd love to hear what makes you a rebel.) I have lots of thoughts and opinions on the subject and would love to hear from you first.

Feel free to hit email me at christina@boydsmithcoaching.com and let me know what you think or share your thoughts in the conversation at Corporate Rebel HQ on Facebook. Click this link to join or comment if you're already a member.

With rebel love,

Christina

 

5 Ways to Be an Awesome Newbie!

Time to read: Just under one little minute. You have errands to run!

 Now this is new: S'mores ice-cream cone with GLITTER!

Now this is new: S'mores ice-cream cone with GLITTER!

OMG. Has summer already ended? If you have kids starting school and even if you don't, can you feel that fall, back-to-school energy? Things feel more serious. Like we're all settling in and getting back to a routine.

My kids started a new school on Monday. They know no one and believe me, this Corporate Rebel Mama's heart has been very tender this week. We have lots of rebels starting new ventures like new jobs (hey Rick!) or living in new locations (shout out to you, Audrey!) or experimenting with new ways to do old jobs (Dean!).

There is newness in the air!

New possibilities.

A new start. (Even if you're in the same job, in the same company.)

A new year.

As we get to know the new community and routine at our new school, I'm noticing a few things that are helping me through these tender days. I share them with you as you embark on your new fall. Here are 5 ways to be new:

  1. Have a sense of adventure. Rather than focusing on all the things you don't have or can't do, lean into the adventure of a new job, project or school with all the fascination, wonder, and curiosity you would bring to an international vacation.
  2. Be humble. In our new school, I know very little about how things work. It's a steep learning curve and for a woman who is used to knowing everything that's going on, it's humbling to be at the beginning again. Stopping in humility every so often in your life is a very good thing. It's a great reset button to remind you to keep learning.
  3. Be open. Be open to new relationships and experiences. You have no idea where an opportunity or new friend is going to come from.
  4. Ask for help. Many times, you won't even have to ask. Help will just be available to you. In either case, be humble and take advantage of it.
  5. Stay in your discomfort zone. It's ok to be uncomfortable. In fact, it's marvelous to be uncomfortable. In the discomfort, you stretch. You learn new things about yourself. You discover new opportunities. And it will pass. Believe me, I'm uncomfortable a lot these days.

So, welcome to fall, beautiful rebels. Feels like it's going to be a smashing year!

With rebel love,

Christina

P.S. As part of doing lots of new things this fall, I am going to be interviewed on the What's NEXT webcast with Jason Lauritsen. He's interviewing leaders who bring innovation and positive disruption to the workplace - like me! The webcast is September 5 at 1:00 ET. It will be recorded if you can't make the event live. Join here and invite your friends. They are welcome to join, too!

 

You're the Best!

Time to read: Barely one minute. It's summer. You've got fun stuff to do.

 You are a gift!

You are a gift!

One of our own Corporate Rebels inspired today's blog. Steve sent me some astute comments after a post a few months ago. His thoughts inspired some fresh ways to think about your career which put you back in the driver's seat. If you feel like your career has been pushed this way and that by the winds of your company, read on!

Steve wrote, "I’ve shifted my attitude about work and career to how to use my gifts and talents (i.e., value proposition). For me, satisfaction comes from applying my gifts and talents which meets someone’s need and who is willing to compensate me for that."

Steve makes an excellent point. Put another way, you are a gift to your employer. Your contributions are as important as the things they give you.

Blow open your thinking about your career with these ideas:

  1. Your employment is an equal energy exchange. You give your gifts and talents. Your company gives you money and benefits. They need you as much as you need them. This idea puts the power in your career back in your hands.

  2. Do what you do best. You have gifts and talents. And you have...what shall we call them?…liabilities and weaknesses. Spend your career maximizing your strengths and partnering with other people's strengths (i.e. your liabilities and weaknesses). Doing what you do best allows you to shine and partnering with others who have different strengths, allows them to shine. It's a win-win!

  3. Stop competing. Spending your career trying to outdo your competition is not a winning strategy. Instead, focus on partnership, relationship, and delivering the best darn solutions to meet your (internal and external) customer's needs. By focusing on value and solutions, you set yourself up to be a sought-after member of any team.

You're the best!

Christina

P.S. Have a colleague who needs to see themselves as a gift to your organization? Send them this newsletter and they can sign up for weekly motivation and positivity right here.

 

What Would You Do If You Stopped Postponing Your Life?

Time to read: 40 little seconds (keeping in short so you can enjoy this summer day - for our Northern Hemisphere rebels!)
 This is a vent louver. I had to look it up.

This is a vent louver. I had to look it up.

Happy August Corporate Rebels!

A c!ient recently sent me an ah-ha about constantly trying to improve herself. Her insight made me think of you.

Here's the email she sent me (shared with her permission.):

"I had this revelation this morning that I've been spending so much time and energy trying to fix all these things about myself. It dawned on me that I'm actually using self-improvement as an excuse to postpone really living. The analogy that comes to mind is that I have a car with a bunch of little things wrong - hail dents, torn carpet, stained seats, broken vent louver - and I'm fixating about fixing them, rather than just packing up the car and taking a road trip.

I finally realized that I don't really need fixing any more than I need to fix a broken plastic vent louver. I can just pack up and go for a ride instead.

I want to stop using these excuses that are preventing me from taking the necessary risks to get out and enjoy life."

And there it is.

As a human, you will always have scratches and dents. They are part of what makes you wonderful. So, when you stop hiding behind your scratches and dents, what do YOU want to do?

Two words: Road trip!

Happy lazy August!

Christina

P.S. Invite some of your colleagues to road trip with you by joining the Corporate Rebel Video Podcast and Newsletter. They can sign up here.

 

Have You Paid Too Much?

Time to read: Less than 90 seconds.

 You don't have to earn this. It's already yours.

You don't have to earn this. It's already yours.

I belong to a writing salon. Once a month, a small group of unlikely friends gathers around someone's dining room table to write and read our journals, stories, essays, and memoirs. We've been meeting for five years and have seen each other through retirements, deaths, grandchildren, job changes, and the rediscovery of our creativity. This month, one of my esteemed colleagues wrote a beautiful piece with a great reminder of the price you think you have to pay for pleasure.

I was deeply moved by his piece, and he generously agreed that I could share it with you. It's a perfect message for Corporate Rebels in summer.

From Bill Peterson:

In the busyness years of my life, I remember reading an article in which the author recommended some “good summer reads.” I’m thinking it was about twenty years ago. My history is no longer five or ten or fifteen years ago. I now have to reach back twenty, thirty, forty years or even more to reach those heyday years.

For years, I have longed to sit in the leisure of summer, open a book and enjoy a good summer read. And now, this summer I have arrived! I have laid aside the demands I put upon myself through a combination of purposeful intention and opportunity. On Sunday afternoons and mild weekday evenings I am finding myself stretched out on the old couch in the front porch with my feet up and the lamp lighting only enough to illuminate the pages, and I am enjoying a “good...summer...read.” Serendipitously I'm reading a book entitled, “The Art of the Wasted Day”, by Patricia Hampl. A wasted day? I don’t think so. You'd have to read the book to understand that part. But, for me it's more like, “The Fulfilled Day”, “The Blessed Day” or “The Day Long Awaited” because I feel like I have been waiting for these days all of my life.

I’ve paid for these days. I’ve paid with hard work and toil, sweat and burnt skin. I’ve paid, but the truth is I’ve paid too much. And I’m wondering if I really didn’t need to pay for these days at all. They were always there for me, but I told them to wait...for too long...way too long!

So now, here I am, in summer 2018, and I am fulfilling a life dream. I am reading with no intention to rush. I am savoring each word, each sentence, each thought. At last I am enjoying “a good summer read.”

If you loved Bill's writing, please email me and let me know. I'll share it with him.

Happy rebel-y summer, everyone!

Christina

P.S. Do you have a colleague who needs permission to sloooowwww down and put their feet up? Send them this newsletter and invite them to sign up for the Corporate Rebel Video Podcast and Newsletter right here.

 

When You Work In Chaos, Do These 2 Things

Time to read: 1 min. 20 seconds.
 When work gives you lemons...

When work gives you lemons...

I was talking with a client recently. Let's call her Polly. (Name changed to protect the innocent.) Polly works for a huge company that for generations has been a bastion of stability and happy employees.

Until recently.

For the past two years, Polly and her team have undergone multiple rounds of layoffs, worked to bridge differing cultures with colleagues from an acquisition, and navigated what sometimes seems like daily emails announcing more departures in upper leadership. They don't know who handles decisions, where to go for funding, or even if their projects will continue to be a priority in six months. They are getting used to their "new normal" and still, it's frustrating and discouraging to do good work in daily uncertainty and chaos.

Does this sound familiar to you? (Keep reading. I'll tell you what to do about it.)

Polly asked me, "will we ever have stability again?" (She knows I spent 5 years in this very environment. We had 3 CEOs in five years. Talk about chaos and ever-changing priorities.)

The answer to Polly's questions is yes... and...

It could be years before the company starts to chug along like a well-oiled machine. It takes a long time to redirect a big ship after a series of tsunamis. The company I worked for started to stabilize after 6-7 years.

In our conversation, Polly and I uncovered 2 excellent strategies for working in, and even thriving in, an ever-changing work environment. With her permission, here they are:

  1. Every morning, say to yourself, "I choose to be here." The fact is, you decide if you can tolerate the chaos or not. If you keep showing up at the office, you are signing up for whatever the company is dishing up that day. Knowing that you choose to stay is liberating. And, if you choose to go (which was my choice), that is liberating, too.
  2. Make lemonade. Seriously. Times of change and chaos need leaders - at all levels. Your company needs YOU. In the midst of the confusion are opportunities for you to step up and lead. Polly walked away from our session chanting this mantra:

    "Be the thing you are wishing for."

If no one is making decisions, you make decisions. If no one knows the priorities, you set your priorities. You may get it wrong. (So what? Sitting around worrying about the future is not advancing your career or making you happy so what have you got to lose?) More likely, you will shine as a leader and initiator and people will notice.

You've got this.

I hope this helps.

Christina

P.S. If you are working in chaos and want to chat about it, reach out to me anytime: christina@boydsmithcoaching.com

P.P.S. If you just had drinks with friends who complained all night about the chaos at their workplace, forward this email to them. They can sign up to join us here.