For All the Men. A Tough Love Note on Valentine's Day.

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Happy Valentine's Day Rebels,

If you are a man or if you love a man or two, this newsletter is for you.

I'm going to cut straight to the chase, no soft start, no cute story. It's Valentine's Day after all, and I want to give you this loving gift right away.

  • 1. Men, you are more than your job.

  • 2. Don't wait until retirement to do the things that make you happy.

There are a number of reasons it felt urgent to make that point today. Here they are:

  • Tom. When I knew Tom in our corporate days, he was a tightly wound, hilarious leader who loved his family and told epic stories of being at the office on Christmas Eve. He retired a few years ago and was finally working at the beer store and enjoying his adult children. Two years into his retirement, he died suddenly, and we were all crying in church while his children spoke.

  • Frank: He retired and finally was taking the master gardening class he could never fit into his schedule. He died before he finished the class.

  • Bill: When Bill called me a year ago, going to work made him sick to his stomach. In his mid-60s, he had to drag himself to his job every day and drag himself home with nothing to show for the hours at the office. Rather than doing the work of releasing the past and redefining a broader identity for himself, he decided to double down on his job and continue for 4 more years until he felt he could retire.

  • My beloved father-in-law. He was an amazing CFO, loved doing taxes, and served on many boards until Alzheimers robbed him of his ability to crunch numbers and communicate financial strategy. He had no hobbies, and no outside interests, which left him lost.

I can name at least two other men who died within a couple of years of their retirement. My heart breaks every time I hear this story.

And that is why I wanted to send you this Valentine. You are more than your work. Who you are matters. Who you are to your family and friends matters.

If you feel like you have let your friendships go, decide to make some new ones. You deserve to do things you love and that make you happy. You deserve to take care of your body and mind even while you work. And it's ok to love working. I love working. Just don't put off the chance to develop other wonderful parts of yourself until retirement. You are loved.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Christina

P.S. Does your dad, brother, husband, best friend, boss need to hear this message? Forward this email to them. They can join here to learn ways to embrace their happiness.

 

Are You Headed to Where You Want to Go?

Time to read: 1 minute, 17 seconds of your precious time.

The actual deck chairs on the actual Titanic

The actual deck chairs on the actual Titanic

I was on the phone yesterday with a woman who feels unfulfilled at work. (And that could be any number of a hundred different people this week.) She's been in her job for 15 years, and her role feels routine and boring. She asked the key question many of you ask me when we get on the phone:

"Is it time to head for the door or change something and get happy here?"

Today, I'm going to give you a definitive answer to this question.

I don't know.

OK. End of blog. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Just kidding. There's more to say about this.

When you reach the moment of "should I stay or should I go?" (cue soundtrack), there are three important steps to help you figure out the answer. These steps must be done in order to be effective. Here they are:

  • Step 1. Inventory yourself. Build your self awareness. What do you value? What do you want? What can you live with? What can't you live without? What are your deepest longings and desires? What's your vision for your career? What do you need to remember about your personal interests and priorities? Are you on that path or not?

  • Step 2. Understand the implications of #1. What's the impact on you, your colleagues, family and company of any choice you make? What are the tradeoffs? What's the possible upside? Downside? What are you willing to give up? What will you not sacrifice?

  • Step 3. Decide what to do. Is it time to have hard conversations? Do you advocate for changes at work? Do you quit? Change jobs? Retire to the beach?

The problem is that you typically start by trying to answer #3 first. This is a natural place to try to start, because it is on the surface, easier to see, and easier to feel like you're proactively taking action. If you just change jobs, everything will be different, right? Wrong. It's like rearranging the deck chairs without addressing why the ship is sinking.

When you finally decide what to do, you want to make your decision based on what you want with a clear sense of direction. You want your plan to be intentional and conscious. You're going to get where you are headed whether that is where you want to go or not.

Consciousness and intention will lead you to happiness at work and in life and will ensure the destination is what you want.

And that, my rebel friends, is the answer.

If you're like, ok, now what? How do I figure out #1? Let's talk. I have a few more spots open. Grab a 30-minute spot here.

Have a great weekend!

Christina

P.S. If you love the idea of creating a plan for 2019 or you have a friend who is struggling with the "should I stay or should I go question," both of you can sign up for time to chat here.

 

It's Christmas! What's Your Heart's Desire?

Time to read: Less than one minute! (All client stories are told with their express permission.)

What's your heart's desire?

What's your heart's desire?

One of my clients came to me because she was unhappy at work. She was frustrated by parts of her work environment, wondered if she was in the right profession, and wanted to consider going into business for herself. We had lots of conversations about her professional dreams, her strengths, what wasn't working, what she wanted for her career, and what she would create in her business.

And, since I believe that people are whole and integrated across work and home, we talked about her daughter and family life as well. She was very clear that they were a happy, one-child family with two parents focused on their careers.

During one particularly powerful session, I asked her, "What's your heart's desire?" The air became charged in a potent silence. Then to my surprise, as well as her own, she said, "I want another child." Neither of us expected that answer as she had been consistently committed to a single-child. From that moment, little Mathias was destined to enter this world into the waiting arms of a big sister who had dreamed of him for years.

Fast forward to today. Mathias is now 5. His mother happily still works in the same profession, for the same employer. The dissatisfaction she was experiencing wasn't with her career. What she really wanted was much bigger. Once she set about the business of fulfilling her heart's desire, she filled the empty space, and her career satisfaction handled itself.

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So, I ask you, as Christmas draws close, what is your heart's desire? It's time to set about the business of going out there to get it. (Here's a hint: It may not be your job.)

Please email me at christina@boydsmithcoaching.com and tell me all about it. I always love to hear from you.

With love,

Christina

P.S. I can't promise you a baby for Christmas (although 3 babies have been born as a direct result of coaching with me). I can promise you a powerful weekly dose of optimism and practical tools to help you find your heart's desire at work and at home. Give the gift of that insight to your friends by sharing this newsletter with them. They can join here.

Want to Feel Like a Kid at Christmas?

Time to read: December is all about gifts, including the gift of time. Less than one minute to read. (Even though it's technically still Nov, I like to start the Christmas countdown the day after Thanksgiving!)

I've been watching the mail for these! It's like Christmas!

I've been watching the mail for these! It's like Christmas!

Remember when you were little and Christmas took FOREVER to come? You watched the mail and snuck around the house peeking in closets looking for gifts. Do you remember bursting with anticipation? You lay in your bed, propping your eyes open, hardly able to stand the wait until Christmas morning.

Do you ever feel that sense of pure excitement, thrill and anticipation in your life now? If you do, you're lucky. And I have a feeling that your morning commute doesn't make you leap out of bed at 4:00 am or that staff meeting doesn't cause you to ask, "Is it time yet? Is it time yet?"

What if you could, every once in a while, give yourself the gift of anticipation and thrill?

You can.

You don't have to wait for someone else to give you what you want. You don't have to spend a lot of money to feel excited. And you don't have to hope beyond hope that Santa will still put a present under the tree for you.

Giving yourself a gift may be the best... well... gift you can give yourself.

Here are some easy gifts for self-giving:

  • Order something and have lots of fun checking the email every hour to see if it has arrived.
  • Plan a tea date with a beloved friend you haven't seen in a while and count the days.
  • Schedule a phone call with someone far away and relish the waiting to connect.
  • Plan a block of free time over the weekend to paint, read, or listen to a favorite album and then get excited.

The key is to plan something and have fun waiting. Choose one and enjoy the feeling of being a kid at Christmas again!

With rebel love,

Christina

P.S. Invite your friends to join us for December where I will be all presents all the time in honor of Christmas. They can join us here. Did I mention that I LOVE Christmas?

 

Can Money Buy You Happiness?

Time to read: 1:22.25

Money, money, money!

Money, money, money!

I spend my days talking to people about their work lives and how to make their work lives more fulfilling and life giving. A topic that comes up with some regularity is MONEY.

Here are the things I hear:

  • How can I get more money (i.e. get promoted)?
  • How can I stop spending so much money?
  • I feel guilty for wanting to buy this couch, jewelry, trip... fill in the blank on your own guilty purchase.
  • I feel shallow for even caring about money.

So, as the spending season of the holidays approaches, let's talk turkey about money (HA! Pun intended.) by dispelling some money myths:

  1. Money can't buy happiness. This myth has been scientifically debunked in many studies. Increasing income does equate to more happiness, to a point, and that point is around $75,000 a year. Reducing financial worries increases happiness. Being able to meet your family's needs buys happiness. Being generous with your money buys happiness. More than $75,000 is not correlated with ever increasing happiness.

  2. Poverty is noble. Somewhere deep in our collective psyche is the notion that poverty is noble - that not having or not caring about money means you care more about social justice or you are somehow living closer to some deep truth. I've lived in many places in the world and have had many friends who would never say their poverty is noble. They work very hard to achieve a level of financial security that supports their families. Perseverance and autonomy are noble. Love and generosity are noble.

  3. Wanting money makes you greedy. There is certainly a way that striving after money for the sake of amassing a huge bank account or using money to step on others is greedy. And, the desire to have money can be channeled into a desire to live according to your values - buying an electric car, donating to causes you care about, buying a couch to provide a place for family to gather, providing scholarships to children to receive an education (to name just a few).

  4. Money is about buying stuff. Yes, it is lovely to be able to buy groceries and Christmas gifts without anxiety. And money buys much more than stuff. It buys you freedom. It buys you time. Paying for help in your house or someone to cook (I wish!) frees your time to do your work in the world. Money enables you to make choices, about where you live, how you spend your day, and how you honor your values.

The existence of money is simply another form of energy in your life. Use it consciously to honor your values and create freedom, and you will find that in fact, money does buy happiness.

Happy almost Thanksgiving!

Christina

P.S. As a big fan of Christmas, December's newsletters will be inspired by Christmas - all things gifts. If you know someone who would love to spend this season celebrating gifts and presents, please forward this newsletter to them. They can join us 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.)
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  • 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.
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  • 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.

Be the light in the darkness. I dare you!

Estimated read time: 45 seconds (55 if you read slowly)

Let your light explode! Or shimmer! Or twinkle!

Let your light explode! Or shimmer! Or twinkle!

I was at a meeting this morning and before we began, one of the committee members (who is aptly named, Joy) asked each of us to reflect on where we find joy and light in the darkness. After each of us shared touching details from our lives, Joy said,

"It is a defiant act to be the light in the darkness."

If you watch international news or live in the North, you know that there is plenty of darkness to go around right now - literally and figuritvely. People have told me they feel guilty for wrapping gifts or making plans for holiday travel. They feel guilty for experiencing joy when there is so much darkness.

We need joy now more than ever. Being joyful is a radical act. Being joyful isn't about being complacent or blind. Joy is about harnessing the power of love, spirit, and fun to serve yourself and those around you.

We need your unique light. How will you bring your defiant light to your work and home?

Here are some ideas for inspiration:

  • Laugh early and often.
  • Take a treat to the office (baking is my personal favorite).
  • Tell someone how much you appreciate them.
  • Watch a funny movie. (Elf, anyone?)
  • Give yourself full permission to enjoy the holidays (or not, if that suits you).
  • Be inspired by the beauty in nature.

Choose one way you can add your light to the darkness. What will you do? I'll be baking, delivering treats to neighbors, and road-tripping with my family.

Email me at christina@boydsmithcoaching.com and tell me all about your joy. I love to hear from you!

Stay warm!

Christina

P.S. If you know someone who would like to receive this newsletter, they can sign-up for The Corporate Rebel Video Podcast and Newsletter HERE.