I Hated It! 3 Things to Help You Do Things You Hate

Time to read: 1:07.89

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I just returned from a 3-hour volunteer get out the vote shift for a local non-profit. My goal was to feel more involved in the upcoming election (now past when you read this) and to do my part to make the world a better place.

OMG, I hated it.

Even when I care about the cause and have respect for the passion of the person on my porch, I hate when people interrupt family dinner, and I hate getting solicitation phone calls. I became the person on the phone today.

People hung up on me, told me to stop calling, and offered me feedback. Thank goodness the majority of calls went to voicemail. (I did help two people find their polling place so that's something.) It was hard. It was discouraging. I did not like it one bit. While I was having this horrible experience, I was, as always, thinking of you and the world of work.

In any job or any life, you have to do things you hate sometimes. It's part of belonging to an organization and community.

So, when you have to do something you hate, here are 3 tips to get through it:

  1. Trust that there are things you don't know. There may be very good reasons for why you are doing what you are doing. The political organizers of elections know a lot about how elections get won and lost. You and your actions are one small piece of a very big puzzle.

  2. Do your best. Even if you don't like what you are doing, do it to the best of your ability. I was friendly and personable. I kept good notes on my calls. Find the ways you can do good work even when you don't like it.

  3. Know your gifts and use them well. Making political phone calls is not my gift. Other people in my group were inspired by their calls, and the organizers have chosen this work as their job. As much as you can, recognize that someone else loves data entry when you hate it or someone else loves supervising people when people problems make you want to put a fork in your eye.

Oh, and vent to a friend. It will help you feel better. Thanks, Anne!

I hope that helps.

Christina

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Want to Make Powerful Decisions? Follow These 3 Steps.

Time to read: Just a little over one delicious minute!
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I was talking with a client last week who was trying to make a big career and life decision between two good but very different options. He came to our call unclear about what he wanted and muddled about conflicting priorities. He felt stuck and unable to move forward.

Have you ever been in this situation?

After listening to the list of pros and cons, his competing values around family and career advancement, and the decision points that had been keeping him up at night, I asked him to step away from the content of the decision. Meaning, for a little while, let go of the details of location, job particulars and possible futures for his family.

Instead, I asked him to look at the energy of each option. The key question was: Which option had the energy of expansion and which felt like selling out? Which felt exciting and enticing and which felt limited and constricting? What felt like an energetic BMW and what felt like a go-cart? What was important was the energy of each option as either one could be terrific.

When making a career decision (or any big decision), here are 3 tips:

  1. Feel free to do the age-old model of listing your pros and cons. This info is useful. And it isn't the whole picture. For example, sometimes the job with the most money isn't the right choice.
  2. Step out of the details. Tune into how you feel about each option. If you feel meh or sick to your stomach with any of the options, run! and choose something else, even if that means starting over.
  3. Focus on the energy of each choice. Choose the one that feels expansive and optimistic, even if the details don't make complete sense. You can trust your gut to steer you in the right direction even if your head doesn't understand why.

By looking through the lens of the energy, my client quickly became clear about which choice he wanted and left our call to immediately put the pieces in place to make it happen.

If you have been lying awake at night over a decision in your life, I'm happy to help. Email me at christina@boydsmithcoaching.com and we can set up a time to chat.

With rebel love,

Christina

P.S. If you have friends and colleagues who are trying to make big decisions, please share this with them. And invite them to join our merry little band of rebels right here.

 

I Email (Text), Therefore I Am

Time to read: Email Mastery - Part 2 of 2. 1 minute and 15 seconds to read.
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Last week I wrote about email as a distraction that we call "work." This week, I want to highlight another way that email invades your consciousness. First, a little background:

As an executive coach, I work from home, and I spend a lot of time with my dog alone. As an uber extrovert, I've been surprised at how ok I am with this arrangement. And, I love connecting - with friends, on the phone with clients, the person at the checkout counter, and other parents at my children's school. I love email. Email gives me an easy way to connect with all of you, and a great way to keep in touch with friends in countries far away.

And, email can get out of hand.

Geez, I hate to even admit this.

At times, email gives me a reason for being. Texting does, too. Tell me if you've ever experienced this (please really do tell me so I don't feel so weird): It's the weekend and you check your email more frequently than perhaps is necessary since no one is online, except they are, and when you receive an email (or a text), you get a little dopamine hit that says, "thank goodness, I matter."

Wow. Did I really admit that?

Here's the thing. I'm saying this as much for my sake as for yours. Your email does not equal your mattering. In fact, you matter just because you do, even if you never received another email in your entire life.

What does matter is your ability to connect. You matter because you show up, you're kind, and you make a difference in the communities you occupy, at work and in life. Your presence makes a difference to the people you love and even to the strangers who cross your path. That matters.

Your email has nothing to do with it, even if it feels like it sometimes. So, you really can put it down.

With rebel love,

Christina

P.S. Wanna share the mattering with your friends? You can! Just forward this email to them and they can join us here.

 

Are You Distracted?

Time to read: Part 1 of a 2-part series on email mastery. Less than one minute to read so you don't get distracted!

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Today is newsletter day, meaning I set a goal to write 3 newsletters. Here is what I have accomplished thus far: walked the dog, marinated chicken, went to yoga, ate lunch, unloaded the dishwasher, folded laundry, scooped litter boxes, and checked email, like 6 or 7 times. When you work from home, the danger is distraction.

And, if you work in an office, the danger is distraction! Tea, anyone?!

Email is a special form of distraction. When you chat in the hall with your friends or I clean out the garage, we know we are not working. (I mean, yes, you can make a case that you are building relationships and still getting things done, and it's not writing a newsletter or attending to that big deadline you have at the end of the week.)

Email, on the other hand, has the illusion of working. If you spend an hour replying to requests and setting up meetings and cleaning out the old inbox, it feels like working. Sometimes, cleaning out your inbox is a worthy activity, but it is not moving you forward on the creative, thoughtful, innovative projects and ideas that will advance your career. "He did a great job crafting emails this year" or "She really kept her inbox in check" is not going to get you promoted.

So, what to do?

  1. Close your email and focus on the innovative and creative projects that need your full attention, even if only for 25 minutes.
  2. Check email once or twice a day at designated times. (I have never been successful at this one. You'll learn more next week in Part 2 of Email Mastery).
  3. Only use email for quick responses. For longer, more nuanced situations, and certainly in conflict, pick up the phone.

Get off your email. You have creative things to do!

With rebel love,

Christina

P.S. Please forward this newsletter to your friends. They want to be happier at work, too. They can join here.

The 4 Things That Make a Company Great: A Tribute

Time to read: one and one quarter minutes
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Two weeks ago, I had the distinct privilege to attend a reunion for the company that hired me in 2001, Guidant Corporation. As a result of an acquisition that turned Guidant into Boston Scientific (a dramatic series of events studied in MBA programs), former Guidant employees are everywhere. What's even more amazing is that 12 years after the acquisition, 400 people are excited to gather in a ballroom to drink beer and connect.

While I was at the event, I was thinking of you and how my experience at Guidant taught me what makes a truly great company. When you reflect on where you work, how many of these factors do you see (or not)? What can you do to influence these things, even in small ways?

Here are 4 things I learned from Guidant:

  1. Guidant prioritized employees. When I worked in HR, I was amazed at the decisions that got made about things like benefits, things that cost the company a pretty penny but were good for employees.

    Lesson: A great company prioritizes employees.

  2. Guidant had a culture of innovation. Each employee felt like they could contribute their gifts and make suggestions for process improvements that would actually be implemented. I had a lot of autonomy to create things I cared about like a van pool program for commuters.

    Lesson: Give employees freedom and let them do their best work for you.

  3. Employees felt connected to a sense of purpose. Our medical devices made a difference. Each year, patients would visit the campus for a celebration of their stories and our work. We were committed and deeply connected to a sense of mission and meaning.

    Lesson: People care deeply about the impact of their work.

  4. Employees belonged to each other. When I first interviewed, I heard things like, "Guidant is a family." In my roles, I interacted across many departments, and it was clear that we were on the same team. We cared deeply for one another. And still do.

    Lesson: Relationships matter. A lot.

If you've ever had the chance to work for your version of Guidant, you are lucky indeed. If you haven't, what can you do to make a difference?

With rebel love,

Christina

 

Can You Be Powerful When Things are Out of Control?

Time to read: 40 seconds

If you're making choices, choose what's important to you, like Adventure!

If you're making choices, choose what's important to you, like Adventure!

I was talking with a client today about choices. She's in a tough situation that leaves her feeling powerless and isn't likely to change anytime soon. The challenge for her: to stay empowered and at choice even when so much feels out of her control.

So how do you stay empowered and at choice when things are out of your control?

The lesson is summed up in this poignant quote from writer, Annie Dilliard:

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."

You make choices every day - about how to respond in traffic, to be on time to meet a friend (or not), to show up to your child's soccer game (or not), to be annoyed after a meeting (or not). We all know people who seem bound and determined to be unhappy. And others who find happiness and gratitude even in the face of unbelievable hardship.

Your small choices matter, every minute of every day.

  • They matter to you. (Are you truly choosing according to what's important to you or are you choosing based on some sense of what you "should" choose or from a reactive emotional place?)
  • They matter to the people around you. (What are you modeling for your employees or your children?).
  • They matter to the world. (What is the energy you are projecting out into the wider world? Is it the energy you want to project?)

Life isn't always easy, and you don't always get what you want. You do, however, get to choose, every day, how you will navigate the cards you have been dealt.

And that, dear Corporate Rebel, is how you create the life you want. One choice at a time.

With rebel love,

Christina

 

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.