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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Life Advice From Your Tribe!

I've been looking for an excuse to use this picture!

I've been looking for an excuse to use this picture!

Last summer, I spent three weeks in North Carolina working at my children's summer camp. (Apropos of nothing, I was the Editor-in-Chief of the child-produced camp newspaper, The Tajar Times. So fun!)

While at camp, I offered pro bono coaching to anyone who wanted it. I spent many hours coaching people in their 20s who were angst ridden over questions like, "Should I marry the guy or dump him?" "I got a degree in a field I HATE!" "Do I take this job or travel through Europe?"

I also solicited advice from the Corporate Rebel tribe and posted the following list on the staff bulletin board. Many, many young people read it and told me the advice was astute and helpful. I came across this list recently, and your advice was soooooo good, I'm sharing it here with all of you.

Enjoy!

From Nick:

  1. Stretch every day.
  2. Read. A lot.
  3. Make time to explore the world. It's fascinating.

From Alastair:

Your dreams remain. Keep them top of mind even when 20 years of reality hasn't quite worked as you thought. Keep them present, and they will guide you.

I didn't.

Through coaching and refocusing, things I thought were lost to career "diversions" are now more present than they ever were before. Shocking really. But it speaks volumes toward a few things.

  1. Never give up hope.
  2. Accept that the original dream is still there but may manifest differently and in ways you can't yet imagine.
  3. Embrace variety beyond what you envisioned.
  4. Listen to your inner voice and be true to it.

So forgive yourself right now for not always knowing. Who does? And pause and listen to yourself. What do you want? Truly.

Know this - life is short. So relax, lean into your life, enjoy and focus.

From Anne

It is never too early to put your self-care first. Don't get immersed in baggage piling on your head.

Deal with issues, learn new skills, add them to your toolbelt and move on. Don't be a people pleaser. Be a YOU pleaser! Build your plate your way, set boundaries and know that it is okay to say no. Set boundaries and keep them.

With rebel love,

Christina

 

Ask Yourself This Rude Question to Create Instant Clarity

There's no photo this week as everything I could think of was too gross.

When you're making a decision, popular ways to weigh the options include listing pros and cons, envisioning a blissful future, and worrying about the horrible things that could happen with each option.

There is another way to bring quick clarity to a decision (courtesy of Mark Manson, blogger and life enthusiast). It involves a swear word so if you have sensitive ears or little ones looking over your shoulder, be warned.

You can use this rude question over and over on a daily basis to find instant clarity and motivation. Every single one of my clients answers this question in a fit of laughter at one point or another. 

The question is this: 

What kind of s**% sandwich do you want to eat (for the rest of your life)?

I love this question for two reasons:

1. It is a question that grounds you in reality when you start to spin off into magical thinking (maybe...retirement will take care of itself or maybe…my kids don't care if I miss the soccer game). There is a downside to every choice. It's good to be honest with yourself about those downsides.

2. You get to choose. You always get to choose. You even get to choose your flavor of s*($ sandwich. Not choosing is still a choice.

Here are a small sample of the situations where you can apply this question:

  • Let's say you are trying to decide if you will do that thing at work that you don't feel like doing. Ask yourself the question and choose: Would you rather create the boring spreadsheet or face the consequences for not doing it?
  • You've been offered a great opportunity that requires you to travel away from home a lot. Would you rather miss the time with your family or miss the career growth?
  • You're trying to decide if you are going to take an expensive vacation or put more money toward retirement. Would you rather find a cheaper vacation, not take one, or be behind on your retirement savings?
  • For me, I ask this question every time I wonder if I should hang up the coaching gig and get a job (with a salary and benefits!) Would I rather sit my butt down and send the marketing email or have to ask my boss for vacation time?

Nothing makes me do the hard parts of being an entrepreneur faster than reminding myself that I choose, the delicious and the s(*% sandwiches.

I hope this helps!

Loved this email? Want to tell me a story? I'd love to hear from you.

Warmly,
Christina

P.P.S. I am working on something that has been inspired by conversations with many of YOU. Stay tuned. It's cooking right now and will be ready for you in a few weeks.