Do You Like Where You Are Heading?

Time to read: 55 seconds (So you can get out in your garden. It's spring!)

Frank's holiday cards

Frank's holiday cards

A hundred years ago, I worked with an amazing man. Frank worked hard during the school year then adventured all summer in his car and on his bike. Each Christmas, he mailed a card with a photo from his travels and the exact same quote. The quote was:

"If we don't change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are heading." ~ Chinese proverb

This quote has been rattling around in my head as I've talked to friends and clients this week.

Consider this: You're on a path in your career. Although that path is not controllable or predictable (e.g. layoffs, health issues, babies, and winning the lottery to name a few possible interruptions), you can visualize the path ahead of you. Look at the people who are 10 or 20 years older than you. Look at the leaders who are a few steps above you on the food chain.

Do you like what you see? Do you like the way they live? Do you share their personal and professional priorities and values?

Now, take a look at your own thoughts and choices. Do you feel in integrity with yourself? Are your work and life in balance in the way you want them to be? Are you taking care of your body, mind and spirit? Do you tell yourself, "When I retire, I'll ____(fill in the blank with your dream for the future)?

I offer you a slightly modified version of the quote I received every December for many years. "If you don't change your direction, you are likely to end up where you are heading."

How do you like where you are heading?

If you love it, great! Keeping going.

If you don't, now is the time to change your direction.

As always, I love to hear from you. If these thoughts struck a chord, email me and tell me all about it!

With all kinds of rebel love,


P.S. If one of your friends or colleagues needs a nudge to consider a change of direction, share this newsletter with them. They can join our merry band of rebels here.


My ugly story and what you can learn from it

Estimated read time: An entertaining and real 1.75 minutes.

Photo of my brain on fear, courtesy of Anne Lippin.

Photo of my brain on fear, courtesy of Anne Lippin.

I hired a coach this year to stretch me in my business. In our first meeting, she did exactly what I asked her to do. She stretched me. How did I respond?

I freaked out.

This wasn’t just a little bitty, genteel lady freak out, either. It was like my vital organs were going to fall out of my body. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t work. I was thinking about giving up the whole coaching gig for a job at Whole Foods.

I was in a bad way and even as I laid on my couch crying to my friends, I was thinking of you and hoping to glean some redeeming value from my misery. Here's the value:

When you stretch yourself – you go for the big promotion, you take on the leadership role, you say the risky thing in a meeting, you hire a coach – you are going to feel afraid. If you’re not afraid, you’re not stretching.

I imagine you’re thinking, “Great. You’re telling me I have to feel like my insides are going to fall out?”

Yup. That’s exactly right. If you want to go big, you will be afraid sometimes and fear shows up in your body before your head can catch up. That’s a fact. The good news is there is a lot you can do about it.

Here are my hot tips, hard won from the couch:

  1. Having periods of doubt and fear are part of the journey. A vital part of the journey. Through them you learn valuable things about yourself, develop more capacity, and know what it's like later to feel great!
  2. Recognize your process. When faced with fear, some of my clients get overly analytical, apathetic, or avoidant. Recognize if panic (my favorite!) is a place you stop on your way to clarity and action. When your process is familiar, you can celebrate the freak out and know it’s an important stepping stone to your success.
  3. Remember that you will not be stuck here forever. As your self awareness grows, you’ll be stuck in fear less often and for shorter periods of time.
  4. Have your self care plan ready to go at all times. Mine involves a book, the couch, and my dog. Oh, and calling a bunch of friends. And meditating. And crying.

It’s not about preventing the freak out which is a good thing as that's impossible. It’s about recovering from it. Fear is a sign of growth. What you need is awareness, a self-care strategy, and you're ready to go.

Be afraid and keep going!


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