Meaning Over Money

Thinking about quitting your job?

Coaching can help you find the clarity you need to make a good decision

There has been a lot of press lately about the Great Resignation that is unfolding as the pandemic establishes remote work as a long-term reality. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021. Personally, I have mixed feelings about the benefits of remote vs. in-person work environments, however I do know that we need to continue to focus on creating a sense of belonging and shared meaning at work.

According to recent studies done by McKinsey & Co, “Among nearly 6,000 employee respondents, 40% of respondents said they are at least somewhat likely to quit their jobs in the next three to six months. The top three reasons for quitting a job were not feeling valued by their organizations (54%), not feeling valued by their managers (52%), and not feeling a sense of belonging at work (51%).” 

I have been witnessing this sentiment in my work with mid-level managers through the BetterUp coaching platform. Once compensation needs are met, people are motivated to stay in a role when they feel a sense of belonging, shared values and a pathway for growth.  If these factors are missing in your current role, it may be time to look elsewhere. However, before jumping ship, it is smart to understand more about who you are and what makes you tick. Take the time to explore from within and find the clarity you need before jumping onto the Great Resignation train.

  1. Ask yourself if you may be able to expand your scope of work to be more in alignment with your goals.
  2. Can you make a bigger effort to invest in what is working instead of what is not working?
  3. Is there a bridge you can establish between your current role and where you wish to go? 

These are some of the areas of focus I explore with clients making career decisions. If you are wondering if coaching could help you, I am happy to have a conversation. Please click to learn more.

Focus on What Matters Most

Avoid Making Beautiful Garbage

Learning to focus creates more efficiency and ultimately more time and freedom. This is great news, however it is becoming more and more challenging to choose what to focus on with the onslaught of opportunities coming our way. What we focus on is just as important as being able to focus. 

Recently I had a conversation with a client who is a designer for a financial services company about a concept he calls designing “beautiful garbage.”  He was explaining a common pitfall of designers who fall in love with their designs and forget to check in with clients about their needs and desires.  Beautiful garbage is the product of focusing too narrowly on what you are creating so that you lose scope of what is meaningful to the customer, client or user. 

After this conversation, I began pondering where in my life I might be designing beautiful garbage and I found a few pieces of trash.  I think we can all fall prey to working on something that we have invested ourselves in for far too long without checking in with our customers, clients and family about what they may need and want.  

We can avoid this trap by focusing on what matters most.  If we plan our time to focus on what is important to our customers and clients, family and friends, we will be designing more useful things and less garbage. This extra mindful step can save precious time and ultimately allow for noodling on creative project just for ourselves.

*Photo is a sculpture made from recycled debris on a building in Porto, Portugal.  

Bringing Moments of Joy into the Virtual World

Many of our opportunities for moments of joy at work have disappeared while working from home.  The spontaneity that we took for granted talking about a fun weekend around the water cooler or seeking advice from a colleague in the next cube is gone. We are working together, but not quite connected. How can we start to bring a little more joy to our work and gain connectedness in an inherently disconnected world?

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Having trouble Focusing?

Focus Sessions can help you get back on track


A few months ago I received a call from a former client out of the blue asking what I knew about adult onset ADD.  She wondered if there was such a diagnosis as she was certain she had it.  She described her symptoms as mildly anxious and irritable but moreover she was experiencing a total lack of focus for more than a few minutes at a time. I have been hearing a similar sentiment from clients, peers and friends over the past few months. 


As life in parts of the world is getting back to “normal” many of us seem to have lost our ability to focus.  I had to admit that day (and many days lately) despite the fact that I was alone in my home office, had already gone for a run and had my favorite coffee, I too was having trouble focusing. Then I saw an email from my friend Megan Flatt at the Let’s Collective about a new offering called Focus Sessions. I signed up for the free trial week immediately and blocked out Monday morning on my calendar. 

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Job Craft your way to a new role!

“Are you a rule follower,” I was asked by an elder friend one day while riding bikes in Newport Beach.  “Sometimes,” I answered, “depending on the rule.”  My friend, who was turning 80 the following month, said she was a life-long rule follower and she was going to start breaking them! She promptly swerved her bike to the left side of the street and continued to ride. It was a simple act, but I remember the joy it brought to her face when she realized that no one was watching her; that no one was stopping her from riding on the wrong side of the street. She was gleefully free!  

I’m not advocating that we all go out and break laws and rules of safe travel but I am asking you to think about the normative behaviors and unwritten rules that you follow without considering the alternatives and potential opportunities. The pandemic has created a giant disruption in everyday life and work on a global level. It has changed so many cultural and work-life rules that we are all left creating our way forward and will be for a long time to come. 

I see this as a time to craft a new way of working, relating to each other and to ourselves.  

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Tetris anyone?

I feel as if these last 5 months I have been playing a big game of tetris trying to keep up with a constantly changing landscape due to the pandemic.  With the recent news about some schools beginning the year online, I am jostling my pieces around yet again.  On a hike with a friend yesterday she noted that we are not just dealing with the familiar tetris game shapes, but now are being thrown triangles, circles and the occasional rhombus.  How do we keep arranging our various tetrominos (yes I looked that word up) before we reach overwhelm and it’s game over?   
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Sitting in Limbo 6 tips to get more out of your liminal experience!

liminality (from the Latin word l?men, meaning “a threshold”) is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of a rite of passage, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the rite is complete. (Wikipedia)

How many of you have experienced the disorientation of this liminal space over the past 10 weeks of Sheltering in Place (10 weeks..WHOA!)?  We are all stuck in a seemingly endless new normal of social distancing and working from home without clear guidelines for landing in the next phase.  As a result, many of us are feeling a little edgy with the uncertainty and extreme challenges this global pandemic presents. Liminal spaces are a normal part of life as we prepare for changes like going to college, having a baby, moving and job shifts. When these life stages have clear boundaries, it is easier to be in the liminal space.

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Using Prosocial Emotions to Lift Us Up!

We are learning, stretching, growing even if it feels that we are isolating and folding in on ourselves. The global pandemic is creating a new normal in the world that includes social distancing and voluntary isolation. Many of us feel some anxiety and potentially the beginnings of depression as we are uncertain about our future and cut off from our fellow humans. 

To combat these feelings, we can cultivate positive and prosocial emotions. Prosocial emotions provide a sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves and offer us a way to connect and lift each other up.  These emotions include curiosity, surprise, amusement, gratitude, kindness and awe. Interestingly, these emotional states also spark creativity and lift us out of boredom which may be feeding the depression settling in.  Try some of these action items to boost your mood and lift others up!

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Tips for transitioning to WFH

Proven techniques for working from home

I would love to share some techniques I have been using to coach clients for a successful transition from the office to working at home. I spent the better part of last week helping people who are used to lots of social activity move to social isolation and social distancing and for many of them, it was harder than expected. Let’s all remember to keep our distance so that we remain healthy and safe.

It’s getting more challenging to maintain focus and keep anxiety to a minimum as Covid-19 comes closer to our homes. I compiled 10 tips to ease your transitions and help you all thrive in the new normal at home.

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Everyday Awe

In the wake of some recent tragic deaths I have been doing some soul searching about my place here on this beautiful planet we inhabit. I am also about to turn 50 and realize that I have been blessed to live an abundant life thus far and plan on experiencing and participating in so much more! I am struck by how, during these times of contemplation, we can feel small and understand how precious life really is. I learned recently that this feeling is actually associated with the emotion of Awe and that experiencing Awe can make us feel more connected to one another and the natural world.

Awe experiences are self-transcendent. They shift our attention away from ourselves, make us feel like we are part of something greater than ourselves, and make us more generous toward others.

Dacher Keltner

What exactly is Awe?  It is a complex emotion that gives you a feeling of vastness and connection at the same time.

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How to Own Your Ask

Have you ever asked for something and heard nothing back?  Are you getting tired of asking and hearing nothing but crickets?  It may be because you are not really asking for what you need. On balance, people like to help one another. Helping someone else actually boosts your own happiness. So, if all this helping is good for us, why do we sometimes not receive what we are asking for?

When you are asking and not receiving a response, take a look at the question you asked.  Are you calling out an action?  Are you giving a deadline?  Is your voice authentic?

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For every two parts happiness add one part meaning

If you want to find more fulfillment in your work follow this equation
 
Passion projects aside, the search for fulfilling work does not need to center around your personal happiness. It is important to feel good while in your work environment and for your work to be in alignment with your values, but happiness as a goal for work may be leaving you a bit shortchanged. Here’s why, happiness is found in the present whereas meaning transcends time to include past/present/future.

Meaningfulness is something we invest energy in without expecting a return.

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