Search This Blog for Past Topics

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

February 2023: Listening... a LOT!

Aaaannndddd.... 2023 is off and running! I'm not even sure where January went. Phew. Usually this is a relatively slow month for me as clients take their time to get back in the swing of things after the holidays, but that lasted for all of one week this time, and then the requests to meet kicked in. Which I'm obviously thankful for!

As I look over this month's recommendations, I did not realize until I saw the entire list that there seems to be the pervasive theme of LISTENING, whether it's an informative podcast, tips on communicating better in a digital world, a story about paying attention, or understanding others who live life very differently from you. I hope you enjoy them -- I sure did.


🧐 The science of happiness, with Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar. This is a very robust conversation, and had many highlights for me. Listen to it and learn more about #resilience, "anti-fragility," figuring out your #calling, and what does it actually mean to be #happy

🫒 Intent versus impact: a formula for better communication. Much of my #coaching right now is focused on equipping #managers on how to lead their #remoteteams. One often-neglected aspect of this is how to best #communicate because so much can be lost or misunderstood in #digital messaging. This article provides some clarity and next steps. It could be a spark for a good virtual team discussion on how you want to best communicate moving forward.

πŸ‘‚πŸ½You Have to Learn to Listen. My favorite read of this month. The title says it all. It's a long read but WELL worth the time. I think it's behind a paywall, so here is a PDF version. As we are bombarded by apps, news, devices, stress and just too much noise overall, we can lose our capacity to truly hear someone. This story is tremendously compelling. Do not miss it.

πŸ‘¨πŸ½‍🦳 πŸ‘±πŸ½‍♂️ Gen Z in the Workplace. This is a conversation between a Gen X father and a Gen Z son. Being a #Boomer myself yet having worked with young adults my entire adult life, I often function as a translator between the generations. I found this conversation very engaging and enlightening.

🎧 Science-backed productivity playlists to help you dive into deep workI don't know about you, but I usually need some instrumental music in the background to really focus when I have to.

🀝 Team-Building Questions and Activities, January 2023. Every few months I try to generate a new list of questions and simple activities to use to help foster deeper connections between groups. I hope you find these helpful - please let me know which ones worked best!

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

January 2023: Reading, Reflection and Revving Up

I don't know about you, but I'm having a bit of a hard time getting going again after the long break. Part of it could be the dark and dreary days of late (that's right, Santa Barbara is actually having weather recently, with many days of rain and overcast, which we certainly need), but I am guessing part of it is also how the holidays fell this year, which allowed for consecutive long weekends, about which I am NOT complaining!

But it is time to get started, and I am hoping that writing this post will assist me in revving up for 2023! I hope it proves the same for you. 

+ + + + + + + + +

πŸ’₯ Word of the Year GeneratorThere is nothing magical or prophetic about this. It is just a fun exercise to jump start your vision and strategy for 2023. My word was “Inspire” ~ I’ll take it! I spent some time in my journal considering how I might gain inspiration in the coming year, and how I might inspire others.

I passed it along to a few friends… one received the word “Yes!” and she loved it. Another received “Burn” and that was energizing for her: what might she burn down this year? What fires her up?

Yet another received the word “Work.” Nope! She didn’t want that one… the second was “Youth” - no connection for her there. Then she got “Surprise” and that worked. Again, no rules here. Just have fun with it, see if it sparks something for you and pass it along to others.

✅ Best Productivity Apps for 2023. This may feel like I am talking out of both sides of my mouth because I am a huge fan of the authors Oliver Burkeman and Walter Brueggemann, who both say that we need to focus far less on productivity and much more on being present and mindful. I could not agree more.

Nevertheless, I am also realistic that each of us are responsible for getting work done, and many of the apps described here are helpful in self-organizing and prioritizing. These words from the article put it well: 

The problem: productivity is deeply personal, and the words "productivity tools" mean a lot of different things to different people. What works for you may or may not work for me, which is why—after over a decade of writing about productivity software—I don't really believe there are objectively "best" productivity apps… Just remember: the specific app doesn't matter. The best productivity app is the one that works best for you. The most important thing is having a system.

⏰ Wake Up Your LinkedIn ProfileI often coach people who need help finding a new job or even a new career. One of the many key elements in that process is starting / improving / refining / maintaining your LinkedIn profile and presence.

First of all: I highly recommend working on your profile before you need to find a job. No doubt you are discouraged and exhausted when that time to transition comes, and the creative juices are often squeezed out by fear and stress. So please make a resolution to work on LinkedIn proactively and consistently, not just when you need to look for a job... you just never know :) Here are three links I recommend:

πŸ“š What Did I Read // What Am I Reading? I have mentioned here before that I am a recovering English major, so I am a BIG reader. (I also have Input as my #5 talent in StrengthsFinder). I have a few friends who are frustrated with me that I do not read fiction... I don't have big explanations for this other than perhaps I burned out on having to read two books a week throughout four years of college, the majority of which was fiction? ANYWAY, here are my top five favorite books from 2022, though it is difficult to narrow it down:
  1. 4000 Weeks: Time Management for Mortals. I am relentlessly pumping up this book by Oliver Burkeman (as I have done so previously on this blog). So, so good. It really made me reflect on my fierce focus on productivity and how that is unhealthy in so many ways. I can say I feel changed by this book.
  2. On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity and Getting Old. One of the favorite authors of my life is Parker Palmer, and he does not disappoint here. I initially was not interested in this book because he was writing from his 80 year-old perspective, and I did not think I was in that mindset yet. But I was humbled to realize that I should not wait until I'm 80 to think back (and forward) on my life --- DUH. 
  3. Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself. I feel like the title says it all. I recommend this book to so many clients and when the 25th anniversary edition came out this year, I decided to read it again. Gulp. This book kicked my ass, plain and simple.
  4. Calypso. Few writers make me laugh out loud like David Sedaris. His stories, especially about his family, are hilarious, and yet sometimes also a punch in the gut. Who needs fiction when I can read stuff like this?!
  5. How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question. My favorite show streamed during COVID was The Good Place, and after I finished it I became borderline obsessed with the ideas behind the show and with its creator, Mike Schur. When I heard about this book, which emerged from his work on the show, I snapped it up. His goal was to write a book about philosophy that his teenage children would understand, and that was perfect for me! Check it out.

What Am I Reading? I am almost always working on a few books at a time, so here goes:

⁇ πŸ€” Questions for the New Year. I will end with this. As I mentioned in last month's post, I am a big fan of journaling, and a great resource for journaling prompts is the therapist Esther Perel. Here are her New Year's prompts:

What are your associations with the “new year”?

Does the promise of new beginnings motivate you?

Does the conclusion of the previous year stress you out?

Do you prefer to bring in the new year dancing with others or in quiet contemplation with yourself? Why?

What area of your life could use more structure?

What area of your life could use more spontaneity?

As I said, I hope these recommendations rev you up for 2023. Thanks for reading -- feel free to pass this along to a friend or coworker. And please send questions or feedback, or set up a free 30-minute consultation, at Cheers! 


Hearty Bread for the Whole Journey? aka, "What's with the vague subtitle?"

If you have sat through (endured? enjoyed?) one of my Strengths Finder presentations, you know that I often refer back to my life as an eter...