I'm Going to Camp. Let's Write!

Time to read: A little over 30 seconds.

 Do you remember? This is what a personal letter looks like.

Do you remember? This is what a personal letter looks like.

All through elementary school, high-school, college, and Peace Corps, I was an avid letter writer. If I was running this business 20 years ago, I would be cutting and pasting this newsletter together, licking stamps and snail-mailing it to you.

I love corresponding by letter. It's private and connected and in today's world, really special. When was the last time you received a personal letter, like hand-written, real stamp, with more than "happy birthday" written inside?

I have an invitation for you. I'm spending 3 weeks working at my children's summer camp, and while I'm there, letters are the name of the game. I can't carry my phone, and there's no internet in my room so I'm back to old-school pen and paper. (For those of you who are thinking, "Wait! I want my weekly newsletter." Never fear, you'll still receive it every Thursday like clockwork thanks to the wonders of technology.)

If you'd like to write, I'd love it. And I promise to write back. Send photos of your dog. Tell me about what you had for dinner or your summer vacation. Tell me about work. Or just scrawl a sentence that says, "you're the best" (or something to that effect).

Here's the address:

Christina Boyd-Smith
Gwynn Valley
301 Gwynn Valley Trail
Brevard, NC 28712

Last year, I invited people in my Facebook community to write. (You can join using the link.) Corresponding with Corporate Rebels was so fun, I'm opening it to all of you!

I look forward to hearing from you.

With Rebel Love,

Christina

P.S. Do you have friends who would love our quirky antics here at the Corporate Rebel? Forward this email to them and they can sign up to receive the Corporate Rebel Unplugged Podcast and Newsletter right here.

 

Why You Must Take Your Vacation

Time to read: Less than one minute. You've got fun stuff to do!

 On vacation, you get to to stuff like this!

On vacation, you get to to stuff like this!

Hello Corporate Rebels!

Children are out of school, it is finally sunny and warm-ish here in the North, and it's time to think about... TIME OFF!

The sad reality in the United States is that 54% of Americans leave unused vacation days on the table each year, many of them forfeited forever. That amounts to 662 million unused vacation days according to a 2017 study by the Travel Association's Project Time Off. If all those days were yours, that would be like being on vacation for the next 18,000 years. Imagine that.

Are you worried about the mountains of work that will be waiting for you or how you might appear uncommitted if you take time off? Do you get mixed messages from your company about taking vacation?

Reports show that fear is the primary driver for keeping your butt in your chair rather than under an umbrella with a margarita in your hand. Clearly, from the data, you are not alone.

Time off isn't just a nice benefit. It's actually part of your employment contract (meaning, you have a right to your time off). Even more, it's vital to your success as an employee. Here are three reasons to take your vacation time:

  1. Vacations keep you healthy. Your time off reduces your stress which in turn, reduces your risk for all kinds of bad things - like depression and heart disease.
  2. Vacations make you more productive. After time away, you return to the office refreshed, focused and full of new energy and ideas. Ironically, time away from work makes you more productive. Liberal vacation policies lead to loyal and more fulfilled workers.
  3. Vacation makes you a better employee. The Travel Association study showed that employees who failed to take vacation were lower performers. They are less likely to have been promoted in the past year or to have received a bonus in the past 3 years.

Vacation also makes you happier, more fun, improves your relationships and helps you have better sex.

Do you need more reasons to take your vacation time this summer?

Here's to you, a map, and an open road.

With rebel love,

Christina

P.S. Do you know someone who is afraid to take their vacation time? You can help by forwarding them this email. Then they can join our merry little band of corporate rebels right here.

 

Feeling "Meh" About Selling Yourself?

Time to read: 1.5 minutes

boyd-smith-coaching-logo.png

Today I want to talk about self - promotion. Eeew. Yuck. Ick. Does the idea of promoting yourself turn your stomach?

Here's what I've been feeling lately. In the online business world (Think: "Become a 6-Figure Coach in 3 Days!" "Fix All Your Problems Now!" "Become the Most Awesome Boss in the World in 3 Easy Steps!"), there has been a lot of despicable behavior.

Online marketers sell programs that don't work. They know they don't work and sell them anyway for big bucks. Entrepreneurs sign people up for content and sales launches that they never asked for. (I delete at least one a day.) Every webinar is a pitch. I don't know about you but my Facebook feed is filled with marketing messages offering me everything from younger skin to a fairy godmother. I avoid Facebook and want nothing to do with those marketing tactics.

All of this leaves a business person like me looking for ways to connect authentically with people and get my message out into the world with integrity. For you, it's like figuring out how to promote yourself without sounding like that self-serving jerk who is constantly taking up air time in meetings. Neither of us wants to be associated with the bad behavior we see. So what are you and I to do?

I've given this lots of thought in the past few weeks. There are very good reasons to promote yourself and ways to do it with integrity. Here are 6 of them:

  1. No one is paying attention to you. That's not as harsh as it sounds. It means that people are paying attention to a million other things, and you are not at the top of their "pay attention to this now" list. Knowing this frees you to promote yourself. Stop waiting for other people to notice you.
  2. Your story is compelling. You are interesting. You have done amazing things. You have a point of view. All of that brilliance will get lost if you don't share it.
  3. You can help others. Shift the idea of promoting yourself from one of "how can I look good" to one of "how do I use my gifts and talents to help my company and the people we serve?"
  4. Promoting yourself is generous. You have an obligation to share your brilliance with others. You really do. Holding back serves no one.
  5. Make your promotion about real connection and real conversation. When you authentically connect from a place of interest in and service to others, you will no longer feel like a used car salesman.
  6. Promote yourself to people who are interested in you. Don't just plunk a calendar invite on some busy VP's schedule in order to tell them how wonderful you are. It's a great idea to invite a senior leader to lunch and start by getting curious about their vision, their fears, and how you can support their efforts. Then, once you are on their radar as a human being, you can talk about your accomplishments and desires for your career.

Real connection is always welcome. So, feel free to email me and tell me what you think about self-promotion or the current state of online marketing or anything else you feel like sharing with me. I'm here.

With rebel love,

Christina

P.S. I want you to stay at the Corporate Rebel for a good long time. And, I am a fan of choosing where you put your attention. There is always an "unsubscribe" button at the bottom of this newsletter anytime you feel like this content is no longer serving you.

P.P.S. The best way for the Corporate Rebel message to spread is through you. If you love this weekly dose of wisdom and humor, please forward this newsletter to friends. They can join our merry little band of rebels right here.

Circumstances Don't Equal Happiness. Lessons From the Volcano.

Time to read: Another one clocks in at 1.5 minutes. I'm on a roll!

 Lava photo courtesy of Bruce Omori

Lava photo courtesy of Bruce Omori

I was listening to a radio report about the volcano eruption in Hawaii. First, let me say that my heart goes out to the many people who have lost homes and farms. The destruction is devastating.

As I was listening to the report, I was struck by one particular story.

A retired school teacher (let's call her Sally) reported feeling heat under her home and receiving an "evacuate immediately" notice from the emergency response team. Sally grabbed her two dogs and a bag of dog food and left thinking she would come back in the morning to retrieve her laptop and other important possessions.

When Sally went back the next morning, her entire home was covered in a wall of lava. All her worldly possessions were gone. I expected tears. I expected anger. She explained her circumstances something like this, "When you choose to live in a volcanically active place, you take the risk of this happening. It's a good thing I do a lot of yoga. I have insurance and instead of staying here, I'm going to use this as an excuse to move closer to my children in California." She even laughed. Wow.

As the story ended, I realized this woman gave me (and you) a tremendous gift. She serves as a reminder that your circumstances do not dictate your level of contentment or happiness. I'll break down the lessons:

  • Life is a choice. Sally chose to live in Hawaii and therefore chose the risk. You choose to go to your job every day, whether you love it or hate it. You choose where you live. You choose who you spend your time with.
  •  
  • Your reactions are a choice. It would be pretty natural for Sally to be devastated and angry. Instead she was optimistic and cheerful. Even in the midst of grief and loss, you can choose to fill your reaction with blame or with the pure experience of your human emotions including grief and anger.
  •  
  • Take care of yourself. Sally does yoga. Taking care of your mind and body enables you to be resilient when things go awry, in little daily ways or in big ways like a lava wall.
  •  
  • Look for the opportunity. When stuff happens, even bad stuff, you are being pointed to learn something, change something, or pivot in some way. Listen for the pivot. Where are you being pointed? Sally is planning to use this significant upset to make a move. (And you don't have to rush to the lesson. Have your emotions first, let things settle, then pivot as needed.)
  •  
  • Focus on what's important. Sally grabbed her dogs. Hard circumstances are clarifying and point you swiftly and with precision toward what is important and what is not.
  •  
  • Guard your sense of humor. Sally was laughing at her belief that she would return the following morning. She laughed that she saved a bag of dog food rather than her expensive new laptop. This is not to say that you must laugh or always look for the silver lining in tragedy. Levity, though, enables you to carry hard things lightly.

You are never as stuck as you sometimes believe you are.

With rebel freedom,

Christina

P.S. If you love the Corporate Rebel Unplugged Video Podcast and Newsletter, please share it with your friends and colleagues. They aren't stuck either. They can join us here.

3 Hot Tips for Spring Cleaning

Time to read: So you have more time to clean off your desk, this will take 1 minute and 10 seconds to read!

 Junk, er, treasures for my friend's thrift store

Junk, er, treasures for my friend's thrift store

Hello Rebels!

You may be wondering, "why the heck is she talking about spring cleaning on the Corporate Rebel?" Good question with a good answer:

  1. It's spring! Celebration time! Do you really need another reason to purge your closet?
  2. Even though I don't sell a purging and organization service, I'm a nut for the subject... like... I read books about decluttering, advise my friends on how to clean off their desks, and use the chance to clean off our stairs as a reward for doing my work. (Guess where I'm headed after writing this newsletter?)
  3. With all the new energy of spring, it's time to clean out the cobwebs and the junk that has piled up all winter. Literally and figuratively.
  4. I am a strong believer that purging out old stuff clears stale energy and invites fresh juju for inspiration and creating in your work and life. (Remember how much you want to put work and life on your terms? Don't let your crap hold you back!)

Here are my three favorite ways for getting the s&*% out:

  1. Make a game (I'm serious here) of getting rid of stuff. If you can only fit so many mugs on the shelf, some of them must go.
  2. Fundraise. Choose a cause to donate to or something you want to do with the money. Then channel your inner 12-year-old into raising the money by selling the stuff you're unloading. My son's old clothes are going to buy an apple tree.
  3. Choose a destination for your stuff. If you know your donations are going to a refugee family or to help someone learn work skills, you will dig deeper and purge more.
  4. OK, I said three tips. You get four. Purge a little at a time. Nothing kills the fun more than the urgent and stressful feeling that you have to clean out every closet this Saturday!

So, what will you purge to open space for your inspiration and creation? I'd love to see a photo of your pile of crap. As always, you can hit reply to this email to share!

Happy de-cluttering.

Christina

P.S. If you have a friend or colleague who needs to purge their junk, forward these tips to them. They can join the Corporate Rebel party right here.

 

Are You Aligned With the Future You Want?

Time to read: A little over one minute to read the newsletter. Maybe 4 minutes if you actually do the exercise.

 I am aligned with THIS future!

I am aligned with THIS future!

Before you read any further, please do a quick exercise.

For two minutes, tell a story about the thing that has been on your mind the most in the past two weeks. (You can tell the story out loud or in your head.)

Go ahead. I'll wait.

Now, take a quick inventory of the story you just told. What was the energy? What are a few key words from the story?

Got it? Great.

Now you're going to learn something cool. I heard a concept recently that completely blew my mind and of course, I immediately thought of sharing it with you!

It is this:

Your reality is not created by your past. Your reality is created by your future.

What?! Doesn't it make sense that your current reality is created by a combination of events from the past? Like your parents who told you you could be anything you wanted? Or your competition with your older brother? Or the teacher who told you you weren't smart enough for advanced math? Or that time you got fired?

Try this on instead. You have a million and one possible futures. You can probably envision a thousand potential futures. You are aligned around a potential future right now, and it may or may not be the future you actually want.

Here are examples to help this make sense:

  • Imagine you are dealing with family issues which have left you angry and exhausted. When you talk about the future you want, that future is full of connection, peace and home. However, the future you are currently aligned around is filled with judgment, blame and depletion.
  • Now imagine you are making a huge life change. It's scary, and you're excited and motivated and relishing the thrill of the mystery and discovery inherent in the unknown. You are aligned around a future full of possibility.

Do you see the difference?

Now imagine the future you want. Where are you? What are you doing? How can you dream that future to be even bigger? Bolder? More vibrant? More alive?

Think back to the story you told a minute ago. What future are you aligned around right now? Is it the future you want? If it is, great! Keep going. If it's not, what do you need to change to align yourself and your life right now around the future you do want?

This exercise will help you get closer to the future you want by creating that future starting right now.

I'd love to hear what you discover in this exercise. Email me at christina@boydsmithcoaching.com and tell me all about it.

With rebel love,

Christina

P.S. Do you have a friend who wants to get aligned with the future they want? Forward this newsletter to them. Then invite them to join you by signing up for weekly wisdom for work and life right here.

4 Steps to Worry-Free Decision Making

Time to read: much less than two little minutes

 Which direction should you go?

Which direction should you go?

Hello rebels!

Do you have decisions to make? Do you anticipate having decisions to make in the future? Do you feel an urgency to get to the right decision and get to it quick so you can move-on-to-the-next-thing-burning-on-your-to-do-list-so-you-can-focus-on-something-else entirely-already?!

Geez. That sense of urgency is not helpful! (I know this. Let me explain.)

Big decisions were made in our house this spring.

My daughter has been choosing a high school and my son has decided to switch schools at the same time. We've been part of the same tight school community for 9 years so this change is a big deal for all of us. Many times in this decision-making process, I have felt urgency to get information fast, weigh all the options, and finalize a decision so we can feel clear and certain and move on to other priorities.

And this process has offered me a few huge lessons about decision-making, which I happily share with you.

If you have a teenager, you'll understand this next bit. Despite my sense of urgency, there was no forcing my 14-year-old into a decision until she was good and ready. This story is a metaphor (in case you didn't notice, you are the 14-year-old). You can try to force a decision. You can talk about it until your friends stop returning your calls. You can live your worries in the middle of the night. You can obsess until the decision invades your dreams.

And the truth is, the decision will not get made until it is time to make it. When the deadline was approaching, my daughter flat-out refused to talk about school choice for a week. We had no option but to put the thing down. And, we had a deadline. Over a huge piece of cake (I'm a strategic mom), I told her it was go-time. I expected hang-wringing and worry about where her friends were going. Instead, she paused for 10 seconds, and said, "I'm going to XYZ school."

Done and done. The decision was filled with ease and joy.

I was shocked and delighted, and since I'm a coach who writes a weekly newsletter, I made note of what just happened so I could share it with you. When making a decision - big or small, here's what you need to know:

  1. Gather information, but just enough. In most cases, you will not land on the one piece of information that is going to make your decision for you so don't drive yourself crazy trying to find it.
  2. Fire up your intuition. Pay attention to how you feel about your options. Watch your dreams. Feel into the energy of the way you talk about your choices. (Do you feel expansive or constricted? Joyful or worried? Excited or sick?)
  3. Know your deadline or set a deadline for yourself. When you let a decision drag on and on, you're using it as an excuse to hide from the responsibility of actually making a decision. Don't do that. It's not fun, and hiding isn't going to get you anywhere.
  4. Give the decision space. Put it down. Stop talking about it. Let it go. In the quiet, you'll find the answer.

Oh, and I recommend cake. Cake helps everything go smoothly.

Rebel love to you

Christina

P.S. Do you love the Corporate Rebel Unplugged Video Podcast and Newsletter? Share with with your friends! They can join our merry band of rebels right here.