Time to Say Good-Bye

Time to read: Less than 2 little minutes of your day.

Good-bye old dream.

Good-bye old dream.

Thanks to Marie Kondo, I've put every item in my house through the "joy-o-meter." When I started this process, I could not have foreseen the depth of the letting go.

This process has taken more courage than I anticipated.

One of the hardest pieces has been saying good-bye to old dreams and accomplishments. That got me thinking of you. Where do you allow old dreams to clog your present and your future?

Here's what I mean.

I have a PhD, and 20 years ago I spent months traveling in India, interviewing women dairy farmers, and learning from them how they work within a system of powerful dairy cooperatives to find their own power. It was an amazing project. Women gave generously of their time and stories, and we formed life-long bonds. When my dissertation was complete, a book publisher asked to meet. At that meeting, I knew I didn't want to publish a book. I didn't want to be an academic.

I walked away.

In times of doubt, I look back wistfully thinking I could have been a leading expert on cooperatives, traveling the world to conferences and interfacing with the luminaries in international development. Maybe I could have been a luminary. In times of self-judgment, I chastise my young self for being stupid and selfish.

A well-organized box of cassettes, transcripts and notes has moved with me from apartments to houses. This stuff pre-dates my children. The box has sat there for 20 years radiating the tiniest ray of hope that maybe, someday, I'll publish that book.

Marie Kondo forced me to be honest with myself. I'm never going to publish that book, and it's time to let it go. Here is what I learned from throwing those cassettes, transcripts and notes into the trash:

  1. Your old dreams mattered. They mattered then, and they are in you now. You don't need to keep artifacts to take the meaning with you.

  2. If you haven't written the book, or built the invention, or taught the class, or started the business, you aren't going to. Be honest with yourself. There is no shame in changing your dream and letting the old ones go. In fact, you have to.

  3. Holding onto an old dream, even subconsciously, is blocking your ability to allow what wants to emerge in your life now.

  4. When you let it go, honor it. I sent love and prayers to the women who helped me. I read some of my notes to remember the hilarious and challenging moments of that research. I texted my best friend from graduate school who completely understood.

  5. Own your choice. If you let the dream slide or you consciously walked away, a wise part of you knew it wasn't your path.

  6. Let the past go and get about the business of allowing what wants to happen in your life now.

I'll be honest. This process is exhausting. My couch has been my best friend. And, I can't wait to feel what's possible in this new future.



P.S. Have a friend who wants to open their future by letting an old dream go? Forward this newsletter to them. They can join here.


Sparking Joy - Why Does It Matter?

Time to read: 1 minute and 25 seconds to change your life!

Thank you, Marie Kondo.

Thank you, Marie Kondo.

If you've been one of my private clients, you know that I love getting rid of stuff. Purging stuff makes me weirdly happy, and many of my clients catch the discarding bug, too. It's one of the free gifts with purchase. (BOGO coaching. Buy "get happy at work" and get "clean your house" for free!)

I've always known (since requesting a file cabinet for Christmas in 8th grade) that clarity in your physical space, creates clarity in your mental space.

Enter Marie Kondo and her KonMari process. If you have not yet read her book (The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up) or watched her TV show on Netflix, I highly recommend it. She has taken cleaning and discarding to a whole new level, and I LOVE her. Here's why:

  1. Although on its surface, it looks like Marie is about getting rid of stuff, she's about something much deeper. What starts as cleaning your closet, becomes a calibration in what brings YOU joy. Through her process, you not only get rid of the stuff that weighs you down, you also tap into your sense of joy. That joy then spreads from your stuff to your relationships, your work, and what you want for your life.

  2. In releasing your stuff, Marie gives you permission to release stagnant energy. In doing her process with a friend of mine, I donated 50% of my jewelry to her thrift store. The next day, she called to tell me about a Congolese refugee woman who was thrilled to buy three of my necklaces. The stuff that was creating stagnant energy in my life was released to bring joy to someone else. By releasing your things to realize their purpose, energy starts moving in your life, too.

  3. Your stuff weighs you down - with old memories, fears of the future ("I might need that someday") and the energy it takes to organize and care for it. By letting go of your stuff, you free your creativity. You free your future. And once you start, that liberation is catching. My daughter asked if we can do the KonMari process in her room. Time for the stagnant pile of stuffed animals to be released to create room for a passionate teenager. (Mom - are you reading this? Did you hear? It's catching. Not that I'm hinting or anything.)

It's cold out there (in Minnesota at least). This is the perfect time to release stagnant energy so you can enter spring with all the joy and newness of the season. Anything is possible out there.

Really and truly. Give it a try.

With rebel love,


P.S. Marie's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is available in any bookstore. Like here.


Overwhelmed By Stuff? 4 Tips for Gaining Control

Time to read: Because you want bonus time to clean your desk, 1:08.02 minutes to read

The storage room in our attic. Many of those boxes are going to go!

The storage room in our attic. Many of those boxes are going to go!

Hello corporate rebels!

Every year at Christmas, I feel the need to purge my house. I feel stressed about the number of gifts that come in the door during the holiday so in preparation, I want piles of stuff to go out first. This urge got me thinking about you and the gifts you feel you can't send to Goodwill, your cluttered desk, or your filled basement. How are you effected by your stuff?

For better or worse, Christmas in America heavily features things. So, as holiday gift-giving fast approaches, here are some tips for dealing with the stuff on your desk and in your home.

  1. Stuff takes energy. Recognize that stuff isn't neutral. Your stuff requires management, sorting, and organizing. The crap on your desk takes attention, focus and time that could be freed for more creative and productive activities.
  2. Manage the in-flow. Minimize the amount of stuff that comes into your life. You know all those freebies given away at conferences? Resist. Does your mother show love by showering your kids with toys? Talk to her. You don't have to manage stuff you never get.
  3. Prioritize space over stuff. Empty shelves, clear counters, and a clean desk feel like a giant exhale. Create space so you can breathe and open your creativity for meaningful work. Space lets energy flow more freely. More of that, please!
  4. Trust the future. I've heard that holding onto things because you "might need it someday" is a vote of no-confidence in your ability to trust the future. You can trust that you can handle whatever happens in your life and that you will be ready for anything. Releasing things you don't use now is a testament to trusting yourself.

So, in those precious hours when the office is quiet during the holidays, use these tips to help you clean out your files and create space on your desk. The you who returns after Christmas will be grateful!

My commitment is to throw out boxes of mementos and files from my dissertation that I haven't opened since 1999. Hit reply to this email and tell me your commitment to creating more space in your life this holiday season.

Happy purging!


P.S. Have a friend who likes Christmas as much as I do? This December's theme is gifts. Forward this newsletter to them. 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.


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.