I recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of my abdominal surgery to remove my gallbladder. It got me thinking about what it was like to have several medical issues and injuries over the past year (just as I was fully recovering from that surgery, I fractured a bone in my foot… my first bone break – ouch!), and particularly, what I learned from that experience. I realized that the lessons I learned are not only important ones, but are universal. It doesn’t matter if you are not at your peak because of a medical issue or injury, a family problem, a natural disaster, or any other transition or matter that interrupts your life and work. The point is that you are not at 100% and will almost definitely need to ask for help. And that leads to Vulnerability.

I don’t know about you, but I have always been a bit of a control freak (those of you that know me well are now nodding your heads… I see you!). I pride myself on being an independent, self-sufficient, and ultra-productive individual that gets things done. Indeed, I like to tease my clients and audiences that I am recovering from CFS, Control Freak Syndrome. Notice I wrote recovering, and not recovered. I have become better and better at delegating, collaborating, and not doing everything myself over the years, but I recognize that I still have some issues with this area. It was tough at first to ask for help in the days, weeks, and months following my surgery and injury. A few things happened along the way. It got easier, I sometimes had no choice, and I saw the positive aspects of it. I learned some valuable lessons and now I want to pass them onto you. If you have always seen Vulnerability as a sign of strength and never a sign of weakness or a taboo word or idea, good for you! But if you need a little help in this area, read on.

Recognize You’re Vulnerable

As with many areas that you want to change or improve, the first step is recognition. You have to acknowledge that you are indeed vulnerable and learn to be okay with that. If you aren’t, spend some time thinking about what it will take for you to become more comfortable with that concept. Being vulnerable does not mean you are less than in any way, need to apologize, or are not showing up for people fully. For me, recognizing my vulnerability made me feel more human and connected to others instead of weak.

Prepare Your Team at Home and at Work

One way to get more comfortable with vulnerability is to prepare for it. Let your family, friends, co-workers, and colleagues know that you will be (or are) facing a trying time. They will most likely appreciate your honesty and willingness to be vulnerable. I advised my close family members and friends of my surgery and injury, as well as my private coaching clients, and any speaking engagement contacts that would be impacted by my recovery.

Relax Your Definition of Control

Vulnerability can signify a loss of control to many people. In fact, it kind of IS loss of control. The key is to accept, and sometimes even embrace, this loss of control. This is easier said than done, of course. But it is sometimes when we hold on too tightly that we, in fact, lose control. I am not advocating for a complete surrender of control, just a relaxing of it. When it comes to control, somewhere in the middle seems to be the best compromise. Set things up as best as you can, rely on those that have stepped up to help, and then lean back and let it happen.

Ask for Help

This one can be very hard for high-achievers, but is so important. Give others the chance to step up, in big and small ways. At work, this could be the beginning of someone on your team taking on more responsibility that could improve his or her professional development and provide long-lasting positive changes to his or her career. At home and in your personal life, this can help others develop new habits, or form an appreciation for how much you normally take on (without you having to toot your own horn about it!).

Two weeks after my surgery, I had to go on the road to Charleston, SC for a speaking engagement. Based on my condition and where I was in my recovery (not being able to lift or pull more than a few pounds!), I had no choice but to ask others for help. I politely asked for doors to be opened, luggage to be lifted, and many other requests. No one thought I was rude or even questioned my requests. I also carried a pillow on the plane to cover my abdomen, skipped some social activities at the conference to go rest in my room, and even mentioned my surgery and recovery from stage without being embarrassed about it. Instead of thinking that I was less than, my audience members and the team that hired me to speak were impressed that I was there!

Give Yourself a Break

We have the imagination to find creative ways to deny ourselves the time to heal and be less-than-100%-healthy. You should hear the convoluted excuses my high functioning, success-minded coaching clients devise as to why they couldn’t possibly, say, sit and read a book for an hour and rest and recover. It’d be funny if it weren’t so sad that they are denying themselves such basic human treats.

Even though I know better, I would sometimes catch myself doing the same thing during my recovery the past year. Why do we do it? Sometimes it’s guilt (a sense that you don’t ‘deserve’ to be vulnerable), or because you put everyone else’s needs first. Sometimes it’s a societal dictum or a limiting belief like, “I have to work hard and reach a certain milestone before I deserve a break,” or “I have to do it all myself.” Whatever the reason, the truth is that not only do we deserve to be vulnerable – it’s essential for our health and well-being.

So I’m now at the age that most people would call Midlife. My husband jokingly calls it “the Back Nine,” referring to the last nine holes of an eighteen hole golf course. I don’t play golf, but I certainly get the gist!

When I was a kid, I remember hearing about how people would often have a “Midlife Crisis.” They would do wacky, out-of-the-ordinary things. They would not act like their former selves. They would often hurt and leave the people they loved. They would buy expensive items, sometimes ones they could not really afford.

So here I am looking for what may be a crisis. And the interesting thing is that I’ve yet to find one!

Here’s what I’ve found instead. Maybe you are experiencing some of the same, or something completely different. I am experiencing: Awakening, Relaxing, Accepting, Exploring, Discovering… New-Found Confidence.

That doesn’t sound like a crisis to me. What is sounds like is coming into your own. I am calling it Aging Into Confidence. (That is me being very positive and trying not to offend. The New Yorker in me wants to call it something much worse! But I am thinking that Aging Into Confidence is a little less harsh.) 🙂

The more I have been thinking about this and chatting with friends, colleagues, and clients about it, I’ve realized that I am not alone. Lots of midlife women (and men) are feeling a freedom that may not have been there earlier in their lives. So it seems that we’ve done a pretty good job of becoming ourselves. And that’s a really good thing.

And it’s about time, right?

It’s almost like many of us turn fifty and an internal filter that was always there gets switched off. We don’t do as much second-guessing and doubting of ourselves. We don’t care as much what others think. We are more confident and relaxed about things that we used to get worked up about.

Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean this in a bad way. It’s not that we don’t care. Oh we do. We really really do. Probably more than ever. It’s just that our caring is less control-freakish and more quietly and calmly strong.

We say “No” more often and more fully to things that don’t interest us, sap our energy, or are meant to shape us into someone else’s version of ourselves. We say “Yes’ to opportunities and interests that are more worthwhile endeavors of our time. And we do this without the all-encompassing guilt that grabbed us by the throat so often in our younger adult years and made us sweat all too often.

We were always taught that age brought wrinkles and laugh lines. And now that many of us have arrived at midlife, we realize that yes, there are wrinkles and laugh lines (and lots of other unpleasant signs of aging). But there is also wisdom, confidence, and a carefree attitude that feels great.

So if this is the supposed Midlife Crisis, I’ll take it, thank you very much.

Around this time of year when we flip the calendar from one year to the next, most people make a long list of New Year’s Resolutions. It is a noble idea in theory, but often in practice, doesn’t amount to much. Resolutions often get cast aside and discarded, making their creators feel inadequate and unproductive.

So why not skip the New Year’s Resolutions altogether this time and opt for an alternative New Year’s ritual: the One-Word Theme!

I find it helps me to choose a word to give me an over-arching theme for the new year. For many people, the one word approach feels more manageable and powerful than a laundry list of New Year’s Resolutions which can often feel like another to-do list. One word is ideal. It gives you focus.

I believe that choosing a word for the year is so compelling because it takes the “should” out of our wish for personal and professional development. Our word serves as a gentle (but powerful!) reminder, rather than a drill sergeant barking orders at us.

I’ve been following this one word theme for years now.

  • In 2011, my word was Implement. Boy, did I implement that year as I changed my business brand and model, and went with my husband on 13 interviews around the U.S. to choose a place for him to do a residency and for us to relocate to from NY.
  • My word in 2012 was Change as we relocated across country from New York to California and completely changed our lives and I expanded my business.
  • In 2013, my word was Discover as I acclimated to living in Northern California and embraced our new life. I took Italian classes, became a “real” cyclist, got back on stage with local theater groups, and more.
  • In 2014, my word was Presence as a reminder to live in the moment and savor all of the experiences personally and professionally that I was blessed to have in my life.
  • In 2015, my word was Adventure. My husband finished his 3-year veterinary residency and we spent a month in beautiful Italy. What an adventure indeed!!
  • In 2016, my word was Savor. It was a great reminder to slow down and enjoy life more. I renewed my life-long hobbies of reading and writing. I read 84 books that year and started writing creatively again.
  • In 2017, I chose Creativity and loved it! I started writing my first novel, attended some amazing writer conferences, and brought a creative flair to everything I did, personally and professionally.

For 2018, I’ve chosen the word Embrace. It took a little bit of time to reveal itself, but once it did, I realized it was the right word and theme for this year. I plan to embrace my favorite hobbies such as reading and writing, embrace my health, embrace my marriage, embrace my business, and yes, even embrace my age (I am turning 50 at the end of January… yikes! How did that happen?!).

I love how Embrace makes me feel like I am enjoying what I have, while reaching for what I want. It feels positive and proactive. It feels like it will push me outside my comfort zone, but not so far that I lose sight of what I already have that needs to be embraced.

When I posted on social media about this one-word approach, I got a huge response to my appeal for people to share their word of the new year. People’s comments were very inspiring and thought-provoking. Interestingly, people often share that they experience a little resistance to their word at first. Or were surprised at their word. Or hoped that something bigger or better had come to mind. Try not to resist the word that presents itself to you!

The word you choose is usually the exact one that you need to be reminded of throughout the year. And by the way, the one word theme is not a cop out! It doesn’t mean that you won’t accomplish anything or fail to take action. From what I have seen with the one-word theme, you will. But many of us don’t need another to-do list. We need a theme, a rallying cry, a mantra, an affirmation, a reminder. Your one word can serve all of those purposes and more if you give it some serious thought, choose wisely (or better yet, let your word choose you!), and then keep that word front and center in your mind, guiding your actions and behavior during the year.

So… what is your one word for 2018? I’d love to hear it. Please send me an email or even better, share in the comments below so others can be inspired too!

Happy New Year!

Around this time of year when we flip the calendar from one year to the next, most people make a long list of New Year’s Resolutions. It is a noble idea in theory, but often in practice, doesn’t amount to much. Resolutions often get cast aside and discarded, making their creators feel inadequate and unproductive.

So why not skip the New Year’s Resolutions altogether this time and opt for an alternative New Year’s ritual: the One-Word Theme!

I find it helps me to choose a word to give me an over-arching theme in the new year. For many people, the one word approach feels more manageable and powerful than a laundry list of New Year’s Resolutions which can often feel like another to-do list. One word is ideal. It gives you focus.

I believe that choosing a word f or the year is so compelling because it takes the “should” out of our wish for personal and professional development. Our word serves as a gentle (but powerful!) reminder, rather than a drill sergeant barking orders at us.

I’ve been following this one word theme for years now.

  • In 2011, my word was Implement. Boy, did I implement that year as I changed my business brand and model, and went with my husband on 13 interviews around the U.S. to choose a place for him to do a residency and for us to relocate to from NY).
  • My word in 2012 was Change as we relocated across country from New York to California and completely changed our lives and I expanded my business.
  • In 2013, my word was Discover as I acclimated to living in Northern California and embraced our new life. I took Italian classes, became a “real” cyclist, got back on stage with local theater groups, and more.
  • In 2014, my word was Presence as a reminder to live in the moment and savor all of the experiences personally and professionally that I was blessed to have in my life.
  • In 2015, my word was Adventure. My husband finished his 3-year veterinary residency and we spent a month in beautiful Italy. What an adventure indeed!! 
  • In 2016, my word was Savor. It was a great reminder to slow down and enjoy life more. I renewed my life-long hobbies of reading and writing. I read 84 books last year and started writing creatively again. 

For 2017, I’ve chosen the word Creativity. It came to me quickly and clearly. And yes, I plan to pursue the creative endeavor of writing a novel based on memoir, as well as some short stories. But I also plan to apply Creativity to many areas of my life and business. Creativity can infuse a lot of what we do, what we create, what we grow and nurture. I love that idea and will use this word as a constant reminder throughout the year to be my most creative self in every way.

When I posted on social media about this one-word approach, I got a huge response to my appeal for people to share their word of the new year. People’s comments were very inspiring and thought-provoking. Interestingly, people often share that they experienced a little resistance to their word at first. Or were surprised at their word. Or hoped that something bigger or better had come to mind. Try not to resist the word that presents itself to you!

The word you choose is usually the exact one that you need to be reminded of throughout the year.

And by the way, the one word theme is not a cop out! It doesn’t mean that you won’t accomplish anything or fail to take action. From what I have seen with the one-word theme, you will. But many of us don’t need another to-do list. We nee d a theme, a rallying cry, a mantra, an affirmation, a reminder. Your one word can serve all of those purposes and more if you give it some serious thought, choose wisely (or better yet, let your word choose you!), and then keep that word front and center in your mind, guiding your actions and behavior during the year.

So… what is your one word or theme for 2017? I’d love to hear it. Please send me an email or even better, share in the comments on my blog so others can be inspired too!

Happy New Year!

So, you are searching for a new job?  Perhaps you are making a voluntary career transition.  Maybe you have been laid off, or worse, fired.  Regardless of the reason for your job search, one fact remains true: if you are conducting a job search, it is vital that you take an organized approach.  Managing your job search is just like managing any other major project.  You must create an infrastructure that allows you to operate in an efficient and productive manner.  A successful job search requires forethought and action.  Here are some tips for conducting an organized job search.

1. Declutter and Pre-Purge – If you are embarking on a job search, it will be difficult to do so if your physical space is covered in clutter with piles of papers everywhere.  Take some time to declutter.  Purge any unnecessary items, file papers that you need to keep, recycle junk mail, and get some order back into that space!  It will be easier for you to concentrate on your job search without all of that chaos and clutter around you.  Just be careful that you don’t spend too much time decluttering that you start using it as an excuse to procrastinate with regard to your job search.  A few days should suffice.  

2. Create a Job Search Schedule– Let’s face it – searching for a job is hard work!  If you are still employed while you are conducting your new job search, be prepared to have an extremely busy schedule.  If you are currently unemployed, realize that you do, indeed, have a job – conducting a job search!  Create a job search schedule that gives you ample time for all of the activities you need to focus on in order to succeed: resume and cover letter preparation, surfing the web for jobs, networking, interviewing, follow-up, etc.  Block out time in your calendar for job search activities and treat that time as you would any traditional work commitment.  Be consistent in the amount of time you spend each day and week on job search activities so that you keep your momentum going, and don’t lose focus and miss valuable opportunities.

3. Get Your Gear in Order– Update your resume, cover letter, references, and writing sample (if applicable).  Ask for letters of recommendation and testimonials from previous or current supervisors, co-workers, and professional colleagues.  Get some nice new stationery, and stock up on print cartridges for your printer.  If you want to use an outside source for printing, some local printing shops will copy resumes for free during an economic downturn, so ask around!  Be sure to have a computer with high-speed Internet access.  An all-in-one machine for printing, copying, faxing and scanning will also come in handy during a job search.

4. Create Job Search Central– Set aside space at home (or wherever you will be conducting your job search activities) and make it job search central.  Keep all of your job-search related supplies in that location, which will make it easy for you to find them when you need them.  This will also help you to get into job search mode when you are in that space.

5. Create a Job Search Paper Management System– You may be acquiring a lot of paper in your job search: resources, articles, sample resumes and cover letters, business cards of networking contacts, contact-us-later or rejection letters, etc.  To the extent that you can maintain these items in a paperless fashion, go for it.  But if you have to maintain hard copy paper, be sure to create a job search paper management or filing system, to be stored in your job search center.  Keep it simple and use whatever system makes the most sense to you for ease of use (binder, portable filing bin, traditional filing cabinet, etc).

6. Plan Job Search Activities– Plan out job search activities on a daily basis, such as phone calls to make, resumes to send, online applications to fill out, informational interviews to conduct, etc.  Write down your job search activities as calendar items, to-do’s, or tasks so that you take them seriously and treat them as measurable goals.  Be realistic with regard to what you can reasonably accomplish in one day, but also challenge yourself!

7. Track Job Search Activities – Organizing your job search involves keeping track of all information and communications.  Keep a record of where you sent your resume and when, whom you have spoken to, when interviews took place, etc.  This information will prove vital when deciding when to follow-up with leads.  You can track all of this information using a calendar such as Outlook or Google, or an online tool such as JobFiler.com.  Whatever tools you use, it is important that you be able to track the status of your job search.

8. Manage Job Search Email – In today’s world, much of your job search will likely be conducted by email.  Therefore, before you even start your search, whittle down the amount of email in your inbox so that you can hyper-focus on your job search emails, which will add up quickly.  Create folders within your email system using categories that make sense to you, such as Companies Applied To, Contacts Submitted Resumes To, etc.

9. Polish Your Online Profiles – If you are conducting a job search in today’s market, you would be remiss not to develop an online presence on social media sites, especially LinkedIn, which is the most “professional” of the social media sites and can essentially serve as your online resume.  But also consider other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.  The opportunities are endless for employers and contacts to find you online.  You may even have your own website, e-zine, or blog.  Maybe you post articles on various article-marketing sites, or serve as a guest blogger on other blogs.  If you maintain profiles on any of social media sites, or have any type of online presence, be sure to polish your profiles so that they promote the image you want potential employers and contacts to see.

10.  Change Your Greetings – Change the message that greets callers for any phone number that you plan to use for your job search so that it sounds professional, and conveys the information you want callers to hear.  Be prepared, not embarrassed!

11.  Stay Positive – The longer a job search takes, the more chance you have of becoming negative about it.  Try to maintain a positive attitude to the extent you can by monitoring your progress and staying active in your search.  When the going gets rough during a job search, many people take a back seat and give up, which is counter-productive.  Try to stay focused and make valuable contacts that are likely to lead to a job.  However, don’t be all consumed by your search for a job!  Maintaining some balance in your life at this time will serve you well.  Get adequate sleep, eat well, see family and friends for pleasure, and make time for exercise.

Organization is one of the single most important things you can do to keep your job search manageable.  Just like being organized helps you improve any other area of your life, home, or work, it will also help move along your job search in quick and efficient fashion and with less stress.  It may even wind up being the key to finding that dream job you always wanted.

“When people go to work they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home.” ~ Betty Bender

Do you feel like you have to check your heart at the door before you walk into your office everyday? Are you disillusioned with your current job situation and would like to make a change? Maybe you’ve had it with “Corporate America” and want to jump ship?

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out of work right now. Does this mean that you should give up all hope of changing jobs? No! This may be the perfect time to start planning your exit strategy, or to actually make it. The need for work that sustains you and satisfies you has not changed simply because the economy has changed. It may make your search more challenging, or you may have to delay your decision to look for greener pastures until employment prospects increase in your employment sector, but you should not abandon your hopes and dreams of finding more meaningful work. What you must do, however, is some serious preparation so that you are ready to take action when the time is right.

The following is some guidance to help you plan your eventual exit.

quit_jobTiming is Everything – How do you know when you are ready to jump ship? The answer depends on many factors. Unless you are absolutely miserable and need to get out of your current job situation immediately in order to preserve your health and well-being, I recommend you slowly plan your exit strategy while still working full time. There are many benefits to this approach, including financial (save money, pay off debt, etc.), and emotional/psychological (prepare yourself and your family for a major change). Consider going part time first if your employer is open to it. This may allow for a smooth transition on both sides.

Determine Your Motives – If you don’t know why you want to leave your present job, this is where you need to start. Why do you want to leave your current employer/ profession? Are you running away from your present position, or running towards something new? For example, before I became an entrepreneur, I practiced law for 9 years. Although I had a profound respect for the law, I did not appreciate the way it was practiced in our society.  It became too negative in the hands of those that wanted to use it to fight.  I started to become restless and knew that there were other ways I could share my talents and expertise with people and organizations to improve the world.  I did a lot of soul searching and arrived at the conclusion that I needed to leave the traditional practice of law and become an entrepreneur in order to truly make a difference. So my motives were a combination of wanting to leave my past profession and wanting to embark on a new one.

Examine Your Choices – Do you want to leave your present job to “go it alone?” In other words, would you like to become self-employed, start your own business, or work as a consultant or freelancer? If so, you will need to start researching entrepreneurship to make sure it is a good fit for you. What about moving to a different size employer? For example, if you currently work for a large corporation, consider a mid-sized business or small office where you may be able to take on more responsibility, and enjoy better life-work balance. Love the idea of helping others? Maybe the non-profit world would be a good fit for you. Start brainstorming job and career ideas, and then conduct empirical research to see if those ideas are realistic for you.

Don’t Burn Your Bridges – If you have an open relationship with your current employer and don’t think you’d risk losing your job, you could share your news and offer to help your employer find and train your replacement. Your current employer may become a great ally in your job search and career transition. If you strike out on your own, who knows? Your current employer could become your best new client!

Use Your Transferable Skills – If you are unsure what your next move is, start looking at your transferable skills. Many people get caught up in the title or position of their job. This is the time to think outside the box! Think of the types of work that you have thought about or admired in the past. Imagine the work environments you think you’d thrive in. Focus on tasks and activities you like to do and excel at.

re-trainingBuild New Skills – Try to gain the skills necessary to make the career transition while you are still working in your present job. Are there professional development workshops you can attend? Maybe you can take an online course? Can you conduct informational interviews with experts in the field you want to enter? Identify what skills you are lacking, and try to get experience and education in those areas before you start your job search in earnest.

Make Connections – Network with professionals in the field you want to enter. Call upon your sphere of influence to assist you in making crucial connections that will help you get a job in a new setting or industry that you have had your eye on. This is the time to build a professional network of people that are eager and willing to help you make this transition.

Get Support – Connect with others who have faced their own turning points and have survived and flourished. Talk to your friends and family so that they understand your desire and need for this change. Hire a professional coach or career counselor to become your guide on this journey.

unhappy_at-workAre you unhappy with your current job? Do you feel that the grass may be greener at another organization or in a different position? Well, that may be the case. But until you actually trek over to greener pastures, you need to find ways to be happy in the position you are currently in. If you are unhappy with your job, it will spread like wildfire and negatively affect all aspects of your life. Learn to love the job you’re in as much as you can by trying these simple, but effective tips. They will help you be more satisfied with your work by removing some of the unhappiness from your current job.

Take Pride in Your Work

Regardless of what you do for a living, chances are you can find something about it to take pride in. It could be the organization or company’s overall mission. It could be the productivity of your particular department or division. Perhaps it is the actual work that you produce. Maybe it is as simple as knowing that you are giving it your all. Take a look at your skills, talents and interests and the way they are used at work and find something you love about the job everyday, no matter how small. Taking pride in your work can lead to greater job satisfaction and overall happiness in the workplace.

Visit the Water Cooler and Be Socialwater_cooler

One of the ways to be happier at work is by developing connections with co-workers. Even if you don’t love your actual job, developing relationships with those you work with will help you enjoy the time you spend at work. I am not advocating that you spend hours on end at the water cooler, but visiting it once in awhile for a quick break and a chat with a co-worker can boost productivity and make you both enjoy your job more. So go ahead — get out there and be social!

Seek Out Assignments and Projects That Are Meaningful To You

Another way to be happier at work is to seek out assignments and projects that are meaningful to you. This could be in the core areas of your job, or in peripheral areas that your company or organization work in. If you want more responsibility, let that be known. If you want to incorporate certain talents and skills into your work, figure out ways to do so. Looking for more meaning in your work, but unable to find it directly? Think broadly. For example, maybe you are a corporate lawyer and feel that you want to use your legal talents in a way that “gives back.” You could seek out pro bono assignments and projects once in awhile that will serve to fulfill this need, thus making you enjoy your overall work and job more.

Participate in a Task Force or Committee to Make a Difference

Many companies and organizations have committees, but not all committees and task forces truly make a difference. You can change that. Find a committee or task force that is doing meaningful work and jump on board. Or better yet, create a task force or committee that studies and solves a problem. Employees that are involved in creating solutions are generally the ones that are happiest at work, as they are taking an active part in effectuating change. So don’t be a hermit – get out there and participate.

Change Your Attitude

great-attitudeA large part of job satisfaction and happiness in the workplace is affected by attitude. The good news about that is you can change your attitude! When your attitude changes, often times your behavior changes too. Yes, maybe your job is boring, or your boss is annoying, or the company is not creative in its approach, but your attitude towards your job is controlled by you. Dwell on the aspects of your job that are positive. Try your best to maintain some enthusiasm for your job. You are in control of your thoughts and attitude, so try to make it your mission to stay as positive as possible.

Coaching Challenge: Try to find ways to be happier at work by picking one of the above categories weekly and focusing on it. Let me know how you do, and how much it raises your happiness quotient!

In the world of time management, we give a lot of weight to appointments that we set with other people, or events and meetings that we have to attend. We block them out on our calendar and then we make a commitment to show up unless there is a true emergency. And that is certainly a good thing. One would say we are practicing good time management techniques.

And yet, when it comes to making appointments with ourself, we don’t give them the same importance on our calendar. Indeed, most people put themselves last. That yoga class you wanted to take? Missed it again. Getting to bed on time so that you are well rested? Oops, that went out the window when you let something else take precedence over it. Sadly, most of us do not honor appointments with ourself!

me_timeWhen I speak on time management and productivity, I ask my audiences to name something that they don’t allow themselves enough of in their lives. The answers are almost always focused on simple pleasures like reading, sleeping, spending time with family, taking a bubble bath, going for a bike ride, etc. We crave more “me time” and yet we deprive ourselves of it on a daily basis.

We have the imagination to find creative ways to deny ourselves simple pleasures. You should hear the convoluted excuses high functioning, success-minded folks devise as to why they couldn’t possibly, say, sit and read a book for half an hour. It’d be funny if it weren’t so sad that they are denying themselves such basic human treats. Even though I know better, sometimes I catch myself doing the same thing.

Why do we do it? Sometimes it’s guilt, sometimes it’s low self-esteem (a sense that you don’t “deserve” a treat), sometimes it’s because you put everyone else’s needs first. Sometimes it’s a societal dictum or a limiting belief like, “I have to work hard and earn X before I deserve a treat.”

Whatever the reason, the truth is that not only do you deserve to treat yourself to simple pleasures – it’s essential for your health, well-being and creativity.

reading_bookHow can we change this? First, start by recognizing that you give your own appointments the short end of the stick on your calendar and in your own time management practices. Then not only resolve to change this, but act on that resolve. Block out the time on your calendar and then honor that appointment as if you made it with the most important person in your life. Why? Because you are an important person in your life! And you are worth it. Don’t skimp on time for your own personal and professional growth and development.

“But Lisa”, I hear you say, “I can’t possibly. I have too much to do. I don’t have enough time.”

Ask yourself this: What do you spend time doing that you really don’t enjoy – and that you really don’t have to be doing? What isn’t particularly healthy or helpful? What could you be doing less of, if you were honest with yourself?

Maybe you’re a workaholic spending many more hours working than is really required. Perhaps you spend time worrying or stressing or complaining (most people spend more time complaining how little time they have than doing anything about it). Maybe you don’t have systems set up so you are spending too much time doing tasks that could be streamlined. Maybe you’re wasting your evenings watching television programs you don’t really like that much anyway.

Whatever your day is like, you have an opportunity to do less of what you don’t want – and more of what you do want.

I invite you to engage in this rare, but powerful, time management treat. Look for opportunities to not only make some appointments with yourself… but honor those appointments! Trust me, you are worth it.

I love to work with business owners on a mission.

My clients are not men and women who are complacent with the status quo. They KNOW they are meant to do something important.

They see something they want and are looking for support to go and get it. “It” can be a boost in their business or a change in their lifestyle – the common denominator is passion and vision.

Which is why I am so excited to work with the men and women I am privileged to call my clients.

My current client roster includes business owners who are looking to make a difference in:

  • Arts
  • Technology
  • Law
  • Productivity
  • Relocation
  • Finance
  • Personal Image & Style
  • Entertaining and Enlightening audiences
  • Interior Environments
  • Non-Profit Consulting/Mediation
  • Marketing
  • Social Work

. . . and many other disciplines and industries. I know how to create a life for myself that is balanced, energizing, fulfilling and helpful to others. One of the ways I do this is by limiting my practice to a manageable number of clients and groups.

PowerUpI will be starting the 6-month PowerUp Your Business Group Coaching & Mastermind Program on January 6th for a small, special group of business owners who are passionate and know what they want, and who desire to become a part of a committed group to reach their vision. That’s my promise.

If you’re ready to make a commitment to yourself that sounds something like: “This is my time, my year, my turn to make it happen,” then join me and watch “it” come to fruition.

Check out all of the details here.

BONUS! If you sign up for Platinum Coaching with me, you get PowerUp at reduced rates. Contact me for the details.

Around this time of year when we flip the calendar from one year to the next, most people make a long list of New Year’s Resolutions. It is a noble idea in theory, but often in practice, doesn’t amount to much. Resolutions often get cast aside and discarded, making their creators feel inadequate and unproductive.

So why not skip the New Year’s Resolutions altogether this time and opt for an alternative New Year’s ritual: the One-Word Theme!

I find it helps me to choose a word to give me an over-arching theme in the new year. For many people, the one word approach feels more manageable and powerful than a laundry list of New Year’s Resolutions which can often feel like another to-do list. One word is ideal. It gives you focus.

I believe that choosing a word for the year is so compelling because it takes the “should” out of our wish for personal and professional development. Our word serves as a gentle (but powerful!) reminder, rather than a drill sergeant barking orders at us.

carpe_diemI’ve been following this one word theme for years now.

  • In 2011, my word was Implement. Boy, did I implement that year as I changed my business brand and model, and went with my husband on 13 interviews around the U.S. to choose a place for him to do a residency and for us to relocate to from NY).
  • My word in 2012 was Change as we relocated across country from New York to California and completely changed our lives and I expanded my business.
  • In 2013, my word was Discover as I acclimated to living in Northern California and embraced our new life. I took Italian classes, became a “real” bicyclist, got back on stage with local theater groups, and more.
  • In 2014, my word was Presence as a reminder to live in the moment and savor all of the experiences personally and professionally that I was blessed to have in my life.

My word for 2015 is Adventure. It came to me the other day very easily when I started thinking about the year ahead. My husband finishes his 3-year veterinary residency and we will do some traveling in the United States and Europe, enjoying some long-awaited quality time together. We will also be researching and considering our options for the future in terms of where we will live next. My one word theme of Adventure will be both a comforting and powerful reminder to stay intellectually curious, seek out new adventures, try new experiences, shake up the status quo, live each moment to the fullest, and savor each drop of my life.

When I posted on social media about this one-word approach, I got a huge response to my appeal for people to share their word of the new year. People’s comments were very inspiring and thought-provoking. Interestingly, people often share that they experienced a little resistance to their word at first. Or were surprised at their word. Or hoped that something bigger or better had come to mind. Try not to resist the word that presents itself to you! The word you choose is usually the exact one that you need to be reminded of throughout the year.

life_is_too_shortAnd by the way, the one word theme is not a cop out! It doesn’t mean that you won’t accomplish anything or fail to take action. From what I have seen with the one-word theme, you will. But many of us don’t need another to-do list. We need a theme, a rallying cry, a mantra, an affirmation, a reminder. Your one word can serve all of those purposes and more if you give it some serious thought, choose wisely (or better yet, let your word choose you!), and then keep that word front and center in your mind, guiding your actions and behavior during the year.

So… what is your one word or theme for 2015? I’d love to hear it. Please send me an email or even better, share in the comments on my blog so others can be inspired too!

Happy New Year!