You've got to love what you do (and love the one you're with)

 When I lead workshops, it's common for people to approach me following a session with a personal question of sorts. Recently, I had someone ask me "What would you say to a guy who is one step from completely checking out and moving on?" Once we established that the "guy" was indeed him, I asked him two questions that became his homework as we parted. One question was "What do you want in your job that you don't have today?" The second question was "How have you talked to your boss about that?"

Those might seem like simple questions, but I find that many people can't answer either question with much confidence. It's easy for people to know what they don't like and to complain about it; it can be more difficult for them to pinpoint what they do want that they don't have. I will not allow them to start their responses with "I don't want ..." and that usually puts them off their game as they are used to focusing on what they don't want. If you focus on that, you will likely see only what you don't want (that is not a successful recipe for change). The other question points toward a different issue and that is in taking responsibility to talk with your boss about what you want; in my experience, not many people know how to do that very well or are willing to have that conversation.

I started my work life as a music teacher (after realizing that my dream of being a concert pianist was going to take more work - and talent - than I thought was needed). After teaching music for a couple of years, I quit. I hated teaching music! I started to go back to school off and on as I worked several types of jobs (my resume would take up several blog posts). As I was trying to find out what I really wanted to do as a career (besides being a mom), my father would remind me that I should have stayed with what I went to school for. "If you would have stuck with teaching school, you would have tenure by now and be making good money. You'd be secure."  Every time he raised this concern, I would respond that I hated teaching music. My father lived through the depression and  the concept of liking your job was a foreign one to him. From his perspective, I should have been happy to have a job  - liking a job was not part of the deal.

I am fortunate that I finally found what I loved to do and I am doing it today! Tie my story back to the question posed by my workshop participant and I get to my key point this week. Life is short - too short!  Please take the time to figure out what your passion is ( in work and in relationships) and then go after it.  Your path to doing what you love  might not be a direct path or an easy path, but it will be worth it and you can get there.

How does Steve Jobs fit into this? He gave a commencement speech at Stanford in 2005 that is awesome. He was a complicated (code word for strange) man. He was genius. He was unconventional. He did and said some really stupid things; however, the things he told the graduates at Stanford that day in 2005 were not stupid. The link is here so you can check it out. I know that his speech was meant for people that were on the precipice of a new phase of their lives, but I think we all live every day on the precipice of a new phase of our lives IF we want a new phase. Check it out!

Steve Jobs' commencement speech at Stanford

If you want to read about this complicated man, I recommend his biography. I don't read biographies, but I felt drawn to this man's story and it's a fascinating read. You can check that out, too.

There are two powerful inquiry questions for you this week:

1) What do you want in your job/relationship that you don't have today?

2) How have you talked to the person/people that could do anything about what you want?



 BTW - are you writing these weekly questions down somewhere along with your responses?   If not, why not?  This is free coaching, my friends! Read the questions - ponder them - record them - ponder them longer - make some decisions and begin to change your life.  If you like what you are reading, PLEASE send this post to a friend today and ask them to subscribe. Let's work together to make the world a more intentional place where people realize they have choices to live and be better. Thank you!




What kind of TRIBES do you belong to?

According to 3 people, who did a ton of research and developed an interesting theory - there are 5 levels of  employee tribal development. With new books being written about leadership everyday, it is often difficult to find one that has a fresh take on the topic. Check out the TED video below, and if it peaks your interest, order the book. What kind of tribes exist in your organization (HINT - families are organizations, too) and how do you nudge your tribe to the next level? LIFE SUCKS!










Just reading the phrases that label how each of those 5 levels see themselves and life, I bet you are interested in moving your tribe to the next level - wouldn't the world be a better place if more people were thinking LIFE IS GREAT instead of LIFE SUCKS?   I invite you to check out TRIBAL LEADERSHIP!

Tribal leadership book cover

Too busy for the small stuff?

Watch this video (just click on the book) ...then ... read on!     

If I were to name the word that I hear most often in conversations these days, I would say BUSY!  I don’t think that BUSY is all it is cracked up to be. People wear BUSY like a badge of honor – as though NOT being busy is a bad thing. Webster defines busy as occupied, full of bustle, not free.  If we actually think about those definitions, I believe we can see a dark side.

Occupied – as in “someone is in here – don’t come in” (picture the signs on the bathroom door on an airplane). When we are busy, we are choosing to keep others out. Quite often, we need to do this – we need time to focus, get things done, or be alone with our thoughts. However, I sometimes see people  use busy/occupied as a way to lock others out and appear to not have time for anything else. Heaven knows, I have been guilty of this.

Full of bustle –as in scurrying around, full of people or things. When we are in a place that is bustling, it can be energizing or it can be draining.  Quiet and bustle do not coexist. When we are always in a place in our lives (I don’t mean a specific location)  that is full of bustle, we have no time to decompress or reflect or be alone with ourselves.

Not free – as in unavailable. I know some people that are never available to anyone or anything. They are not free. Imagine not being available to your family, your staff, your boss, your friends. You may be physically there, but you aren’t available. If you’re not free, it’s like being imprisoned … only imprisoned in your own scheduled life.

You can probably hear my bias about being busy. I'm SICK OF IT!!! I still find myself being too busy, but I am working at being less so. My coach and I worked on the idea that I need to create some space – some unbusy, unscheduled space to let in whatever is wanting to get into my life.  The space may be for someone or something, but the new won’t be able to come into my life if I don’t create some space.  I don’t think the space we create has to be big, and that is why I love the video about small talk (and the book – The Power of Small).  Notice what happened in the lives of these two women in a simple 30 seconds a few times a week.  When we are FREE and not BUSY, we can find the time to say hello to someone or write a note or make a quick call.  I really believe that out of small things can come huge benefits – to us or someone else. 

Will you try something with me?  Let’s stop talking about how busy we are  this week– let’s find a way to be UNOCCUPIED, NON-BUSTLING, and FREE.  Make a small space for something wonderful to happen. No powerful question this week – just a powerful request!