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.

Warmly,

Christina

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.

 

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.

 

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,

Christina

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

 

What's the Secret to Big Change?

Time to read: Less than a minute and a half.

We are freezing our arses off. This cruise ship is looking pretty good right now.

We are freezing our arses off. This cruise ship is looking pretty good right now.

Hello Rebels!

Last week, I was working with a corporate team on some... shall we call them... dynamics. They are committed to working differently and brought me in to facilitate a process to help them communicate better and create a happier workplace. The question becomes, how do you get from point A to point B when you are trying to make a change?

Many times, you try to change cold turkey. Think New Year's Resolution. Think Big Change. Think get what you want right now, this minute. Think jump straight from point A to point B. That sounds like this:

"Now I'm going to the gym every day."

"Our workplace will be happier starting today."

"I am going to change my attitude about that colleague I don't like."


The sad truth is, how many of those Big Changes stick over time, and how often do you find yourself a year later in the same situation (or worse)?

Here's what I told the team last week. Big Change happens because you commit to making a thousand Small Changes every single day. Here's a list to get you started:

  • Greet your colleagues cheerfully when you arrive in the morning rather than running for your email.
  • Eat lunch with the colleague who bugs you and commit to learning one new thing about them.
  • Express appreciation openly and consciously three times a day.
  • If you need to vent, take it outside the office.
  • Give your colleagues the benefit of the doubt and instead of getting annoyed, get curious about what is happening for them.

To the cruise ship photo above: If you turn a huge ship one degree, it will end up in a completely different country. That is the power of small changes. When added up over the course of a year, you will have created the Big Change you wanted.

Every little thing you do matters.

With rebel love,

Christina

P.S. Every little thing you do really does matter. What will you choose right now?

P.P.S. If you have friends who would like to join our merry band of rebels, they can sign up to get this newsletter right here.

 

Process Versus Outcome. Which Is It?

Time to read: Less than one minute.

The long-awaited package

The long-awaited package

Hello rebels!

Have you had the experience of letting go of something you want and then once you let it go, you miraculously get it?

Here's what I mean:

This is the letting go part: When my family was in Kenya last year, we shipped a box of gifts to ourselves. The promise was that the package would arrive in 3 months. (Give or take a few months. I know how slow international shipping can be.) Three months passed. No package. Six months. Nothing. One year. Nada. This week, I told my husband that it was time to give up. If it arrived, it would be a miracle. We let go of the package ever arriving.

This is the getting part: I've been out of town doing team building and coaching with a client team and last night, my husband sent me a text that said, "guess what just arrived!"

Our package.

I was telling my client this little miracle story this morning, and she said, "See, that shows that you have to let go of the outcome."

Yup. She's right.

Here's the nugget: Pay attention to the process. In our story, we dropped any remaining expectation that the package would arrive. We didn't allow any stress over lost shipping costs. We remembered the gifts we were given with fondness and felt the love from the giver even if we didn't actually have the gifts.

When you detach yourself from the outcome (e.g. a promotion, a raise, an office with a window, a particular job) and instead focus on building great relationships, enjoying your day-to-day, and doing great work, the outcomes will take care of themselves.

And you never know, you might even get something better.

With rebel love,

Christina

P.S. You're the best!

 

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.

 

Three Unsexy Ways to Realize Your Dreams

Time to read: 1:19.62 minutes

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Happy New Year Corporate Rebels!

I hear a lot about people's dreams or people ask me how I have realized my dreams. If you follow my stuff, you know I'm a believer in magic. I'm also a believer in something a lot less sexy than magic. That is...

Discipline.

It's true that my clients get raises and promotions and get happier at work and in life (their dreams). It's true that I have the flexibility to travel and raise my own children while also having a fulfilling and meaningful career (my dreams). Many days, the path to realizing those dreams is as much discipline as it is magic.

It takes discipline to take a hard look at how you conduct yourself or the choices you make to evaluate if they align with what you want. You have to force yourself to have hard conversations that clean up old patterns and relationships. You sometimes have to stick your butt to your chair to write the report, create the development plan, or for me, today, produce this newsletter. There's nothing magic about making yourself do The Thing.

Here are three ways to stay disciplined about creating your dreams when you're tempted to get another cup of coffee, call the dentist, or talk to your cube-mates:

  1. Remain true to your bigger commitments. That report is just a thing. This newsletter is just a thing. And that thing represents your service to your customers, your value of trust, and your love for your people. This one thing you have to do is part of a bigger picture that is made up of hundreds of "just a things."

  2. Decide to start. It's pretty simple. Just decide you are going to do the thing and sit down to make yourself start. Once you start, it is much easier to keep going until you're finished.

  3. Set up a reward. I'm a big fan of joy and fun so I reward myself all the time. Something like this works for me (dorky, I know), after you write your weekly newsletter, then you can make another cup of tea. (Maybe I should dream bigger. After you write, you get a diamond ring.)

Support and accountability also help you create your dreams. A few of you have reached out to tell me that all the January spots to talk with me are already filled. I opened a few more.

If you want to create a 2019 plan to get you on the path to what you want, let's talk! Choose a time here.

And now I get that cup of tea diamond ring!

With rebel warmth,

Christina

P.S. If you want to explore ways to create a plan for 2019, let's talk. I have a couple of step-by-step processes in my toolbox that will get you set up for a wonderful 2019. Choose a time to talk here.

P.P.S. Please share this link with your friends who want a plan for 2019. Just forward this email directly to them.