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Thursday, January 2, 2020

Adapting Your Leadership, Asking for Help, and Antidotes for Stress: January 2020

I don't know about you, but having Christmas and New Year's Day on Wednesdays has been a bit disorienting. Work-wise, I've had things to do on both preceding Mondays, so I had to sort of rev up for a work week, and then (happily) key down for the holidays... and then find that I had work to do on Thursday and Friday! Sheesh.

Oh well. #FirstWorldProblems, right? Overall, I will freely admit that I still had some great time to read and reflect during my time off ~ I'm hoping you did as well. The resources I'm sharing this month emerge from that time. I think you will find them helpful and thought-provoking.

Are You Adapting Your Leadership Strategy as Your Startup Grows? In this fruitful and creative era of start-ups, I am encountering a few clients who are facing some real challenges as they shift from being organic to becoming an organization. As this article describes it, "a chief revenue officer who successfully helps the company win an initial group of customers might not have the right skills to actually run a scaled-up organization." This article from Harvard Business Review asks many of the exact questions I am working on with clients who may be five or even ten years into building their company and discovering some new issues as they scale up that they have never faced before. The key issues tend to revolve around the ever-shifting demands placed on the leadership team. I believe this article at least gets the conversation started.

The Art of Asking for (and Getting) Help. A recent discovery of mine has been an interesting podcast titled The Anxious Achiever. Let's be honest... the title isn't super enticing. But stay with me. This particular episode does an excellent job of describing a dilemma I often experience with clients -- as the podcast guest states, in our personal lives we might easily ask for help, whether it’s childcare, errands or emergencies. But at work we fear looking incompetent or weak. Yet asking for help actually fosters reciprocity and teamwork. But how do we navigate that? I recommend this episode because it gives real-life solutions and helpful options.

Is There An Antidote To Stress? The opening to this podcast says it all: "We’re up against a chronic epidemic: stress. In fact, it’s estimated that 80% or more of doctors’ visits are due to illnesses related to stress." YIKES. But if you are at all like me, you might find it even more stressful to hear people talk about managing their stress! That is why I recommend this particular podcast episode. It is an outstanding, engaging, honest discussion on how to manage stress, but it unfolds as a relaxed, motivating conversation with many practical, simple ideas. I listened to it while I was making dinner and it had my attention the entire time. Please check it out.

As you gear up for 2020: One More Thing...
I was committed to spending some time during my break to really think through how I wanted to plan for the new year. But in that process, I realized that before I could move forward that I needed to look backward and spend some time figuring out where were all the places in my life that needed some purging, minimizing or decluttering....

Maybe I didn't always ask myself what sparked joy in my life, but I tried to be super honest with myself as to what I actually needed. During this process (which has not finished yet) I learned two things:

  1. I needed to start by making a list of all the places in my life where there was clutter of some sort, before I manically tried to just get started;
  2. I needed to give myself permission to not try to get everything done in a day (or even a weekend!)

Everyone has their own spots where things tend to pile up, but a couple of websites (and let me tell you there are a few thousand of them dedicated to this subject) got me thinking, and these were some of the areas that I have either started to or successfully purged:
  • Kitchen junk drawer (EVERYONE has one!!)
  • Bedside table drawer (so. much. useless. stuff)
  • Bookshelves (7 bags of books were pulled and I feel like I barely made a dent)
  • Underwear and sock drawer (there, I said it!)
  • Technology stuff (cords, old phones, adapters, blah blah blah)
  • Bathroom drawers (can we say, "old make-up from the 90's"?)
  • Bedroom closets (this is my last and most daunting area)

So this is my word to the wise: before you get ambitious and grandiose about the journey ahead for 2020, take the time to shed the dead weight. It has been a surprisingly motivating process.

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up. (Anne Lamott)
Let me know what you think of this month's resources. Go to my resource drive at for even more, or send me an email at Thanks for reading!


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