Badass Professional Women Don’t #7: Pull All-Nighters

Science is very clear about the importance of sleep to our physical and mental well-being.

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However, not all high-charging, do-it-all professional women have bought into the benefits of sleep.

After all, how can they?

Then they wouldn’t be able to pack in 20 hours of activity each day? 

And they would have to say no to things and let people down - GASP!!

There was a time in my life where I pulled all nighters and/or regularly only got 4 hours of sleep.

I produced super-human amounts of work.

But I was always stressed, on edge and trying to stay busy so I didn’t crash.

After one particularly bad stretch of late and sleepless nights working, I had gotten in the habit of pounding 5-Hour Energy shots to function.

It kept me awake but came with side effects. 

Like the time I gave a presentation in front of about 50 colleagues and at the end someone remarked how nervous I seemed…because I had been shaking.

Turns out, I wasn’t nervous at all. I was literally SHAKING from all the chemicals I was pouring into my body to stay awake.

That embarrassing incident was a wake up call that I needed to get a handle on my sleep. 

What was the point of killing myself to do all this work if I couldn’t even appear calm and confident when I presented it to other people?

Sleep has been THE game-changer for me professionally and personally and the foundation of my self-care.

With 7-8 hours of sleep each night, I’m more clear-headed, calm and less stressed and triggered by things that are out of my control.

I no longer test the limits of how many hours I can work in a day and how many projects I can take on at one time.

Because I don’t have to.

I don’t need to prove how much work I can do to anyone or have my health suffer for my job.

If you feel like your plate is so full that sleep is a luxury you can’t afford, I strongly urge you to sloooooowwww down.

The work will still be there tomorrow.

And hopefully your colleagues and clients also want you to take care of yourself.

But, if you find yourself in an unforgiving situation where you truly can’t take your foot off the gas, then it may be time to evaluate whether that’s a place you want to stay.

Remember, we always have choices.

Sacrificing your long-term health for some fleeting glory at work is a risky play and worth taking a hard look at.

Badass Professional Women Don’t #6: Be a Tough Guy

This week’s post may ruffle some feathers. 

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Since I started this series on 7 Things Badass Professional Women Don’t Do the majority of criticism has been directed at my use of the term “badass.”

A handful of readers have pointed out that using this term is trashy, unprofessional, unnecessary and an example of being too tough, which contradicts Don’t #6: Don’t Be a Tough Guy. 

So I’m going to use this feedback as a teaching moment for those of us trying to be less tough and for those who are offended by the use of the term “badass.”

Let me start by saying I would be PROUD to be labeled a badass any day.  I think it’s a compliment. 

To me, the term embodies a go-getter spirit, serious ambition and competence and the social graces and intangible qualities that make a person respected, likable and successful.

Last time I checked those were all positive qualities.

To those who find it offensive to label the combination of these qualities “badass”, you’re certainly entitled to your opinion. 

But please don’t try to shame me and other women and men who aspire to become badasses and proudly wear the label.

See what I did there?

First, I expressed my point of view as well as respect for differing perspectives. 

Second, I have spent the last few months building up social capital with you and other readers by sharing my blog posts.  You’ve made it to the 7th post in the series so I must be doing something right. :) 

Third, I’ve responded to criticism of my posts in a very limited way – only responding when I feel like a reader has crossed a line with a blatant insult to women in general (i.e., one reader suggested that adopting the behaviors I have been writing about could veer into “pushy broad” territory).

I point this out not to pat myself on the back, but to illustrate that you can speak up and communicate your viewpoints at work without be harsh, tactless and seen as an overly assertive b*tch.

It just takes some intention and practice.

Badass Professional Women Don’t #5: Feel Guilty

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We have spent the past few weeks talking about how women can unlock their natural talents, set boundaries and ask for what they want. (See previous posts: 7 Things Badass Professional Women Don’t Do, Badass Professional Women Don’t #1: Put Your Head Down and Work Harder, Badass Professional Women Don’t #2: Compare Yourself, Badass Professional Women Don’t #3: Say Yes, and Badass Professional Women Don't #4: Accept the Hand You're Dealt.)

But we haven’t talked about what makes this so hard: GUILT.

I don’t know any woman that isn’t plagued by it, including me.

Most women have been conditioned from a young age to be nice and accommodating.

And that’s ok…to an extent.

But if too many of our decisions and choices are guided by other people’s feelings and perceptions, where do our own needs and desires fit in?

Therein lies the crux of the issue: we truly want to help others, often to the detriment of our own well-being.

So how do you take control of your guilt without turning into a selfish jerk?

First, it’s important to know what you want and set priorities.  These priorities may even include doing things for other people (i.e., picking the kids up from school, making dinner for your husband, etc.).  Once you have a list of your non-negotiables, everything else becomes much clearer. 

Use these priorities as guides to draw boundaries. This is critical to protecting your time and your sanity.  Once you find this alignment between your wants, priorities and what you commit to, it becomes easier to avoid feeling guilty. 

But the guilt may still creep in.

That’s where strong communication comes into play – you need to let people know about your priorities.  People who care about you don’t want to see you burnt out, frazzled and unhappy. 

The thing is, we’re often so busy trying to hold it all together and we don’t want people to see us sweat, so they have no idea that we are feeling overwhelmed, stressed and spread too thin.

You can change that by being direct, but compassionate with friends, family and colleagues.  Let them know how disappointed you are that you can’t say yes to ________ (i.e., working late, a destination wedding, dinner on Thursday night), but that you just don’t have the _______ (i.e., time, money, resources) right now.

Yes, this is scary.  And you may even make some people upset.

But you’ll find that the people who really care about you and want you to succeed will accept this explanation.

As you practice doing this more and more, the guilt really does start to fade. 

Another trick is to think about what you would tell a friend in your position. Would you encourage her to keep taking on more and to feel badly when she had to turn something down?  Probably not.  

Practice being as kind to yourself as you would be to other people you care about.

It also helps if you remember this: self-care ISN’T selfish.  You really will show up as a better employee, mother, daughter, partner and friend if you are taking care of yourself and your needs.  And that’s nothing to feel guilty about.        

 

 

Badass Professional Women Don't #4: Accept the Hand You're Dealt

This is the fifth post in an 8-part series on the 7 Things Badass Professional Women Don’t Do.  Previously, we’ve talked about how badass professional women don’t put their head down and work harderdon’t compare themselves to others, and don’t say yes.

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Now I want to talk about a real game changer – the notion that you can call the shots and create the change you want to see in your life.

This is actually the biggest breakthrough I see most of my clients have.

We become so accustomed to the idea that our situation is fixed or static and that we have to operate within the rules.

Rules created by our employer.

Rules created by society.

Rules created so you can be just like everyone else.

Guess what?

There is always some wiggle room.

You are never truly stuck.

Your ideal, dream scenario may be out of reach today, but there are always small tweaks you can adopt to make things more bearable and get you closer to what you want.

The problem many women face is that they don’t ask “what if.”

What if you did things differently?

What if you told your boss that you really can’t take on another project?

What if you told your husband that you can’t make dinner 4 nights a week?

What if you told your friend you can’t make it to her daughter’s third birthday party on Sunday?

I promise you the world won’t stop.

In fact, you will find you can have more.

More of what you want.

But you have to know what it is you want and ask for it. 

It’s up to you to create the space in your life to make this happen.

 

 

Badass Professional Women Don’t #3: Say Yes

This is the fourth post in an 8-part series on the 7 Things Badass Professional Women Don’t Do.  Previously, we’ve talked about how badass professional women don’t put their head down and work harder and don’t compare themselves to others.

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Today I want to examine the notion of saying “no”. 

This sounds simple but can actually be quite hard. 

Particularly if you have high standards for yourself and any people-pleasing tendencies.

High-achievers often want to do it all. 

We love a good challenge and the opportunity to prove ourselves.  

Often, we’re even flattered when someone asks us to do something since it’s a sign they value our work.

But have you thought about the fact that every time you say “yes” to something, you are actually saying “no” to something else?

We all have the same 24 hours in a day so each task you accept takes time away from something else, whether it’s sleep, time with your family or another work assignment.

Consequently, we need to be smart and strategic about what we say “yes” to.

Badass professional women have figured out when it makes sense to say “no.”  Some examples include:

  • Opportunities that don’t align with your goals
  • Unproductive meetings
  • Toxic or dishonest people
  • Decisions based on FOMO, ego, guilt or fear
  • Tedious tasks that bring no joy or learning
  • Unlimited requests for assistance and advice, particularly from complete strangers
  • Asks that are too far into the future
  • Doing too much out of obligation rather than passion

I’m not suggesting you become cold-hearted, shrewd and completely selfish with your time. 

But you do need to be thoughtful about it.

There’s an art to saying “no”. 

Be straightforward and sincere about your needs (yes, you can even do this with your boss). 

People who respect and care about you will usually understand.

Those that are offended by your “no” may actually be people who don’t value your needs.

In short: Do what inspires you.  Accept the favors you genuinely want to do.  Work with people you love.

Badass Professional Women Don’t #2: Compare Yourself

This is the third in an 8-part series on the 7 Things Badass Professional Women Don’t Do.  Last week we explored Badass Professional Women Don’t #1: Put Your Head Down and Work Harder.

Now, we turn our attention to something we all probably do sometimes – compare ourselves to others.

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Comparison is almost impossible to avoid if you’re a living, breathing human being.

We're bombarded with images of aspirational women from social media and marketers, which can make even the most secure, happy woman feel inadequate.

During performance reviews, the organizations we work at often implicitly pit employee against employee to determine who gets raises, promoted and fired.  Being compared to your peers is the standard.

So it’s not surprising that we fall into the habit of comparing ourselves to those around us.

In some ways, it’s a survival tactic.

We live in a world where people want constant feedback so comparing yourself to those around you can affirm where you stand in the pecking order. 

I’m all for being ambitious and focused on self-improvement, but at some point it becomes unhealthy and unproductive to strive to be like other people.

Badass women know this.  And, ironically, they are often the women that other women are striving to be like.

Badass women are tuned in to what it takes to rise to the top and be successful and admired.

They pick up on social cues in their organizations and understand the skills and competencies their employer values and rewards.

They know who the influencers and decision-makers are and have personal relationships with them.

They also identify and build relationships with important mentors and sponsors.

Other women – the ones who feel slighted, under-appreciated, overworked, stuck and even ignored – are doing something different.

Some of them wallow in their situations and complain about them.

Others are working in roles that are misaligned with their talents and they don’t know it.

Still others have never taken the time to step out of their day-to-day routine and consider the bigger picture.

And all of them at some point have thought: “Why her and not me?”

Come on, we’ve all thought it before…

But while some women throw a pity party or feel resentful or inadequate because their peers are getting more attention and respect, badass professional women don’t even notice.

That’s because they are focused on their own game.

They have their own plan and an agenda to get there.

They have put effort into building important relationships and social capital and they don’t have time to compare themselves to other people.

They are too busy leading the way.

So next time you start comparing yourself to someone at work, ask yourself this:

  • Am I really doing everything I can to get noticed, respected and promoted?
  • Are my talents aligned to the work I’m doing and to the path I want to pursue?
  • Have I built the right relationships?

If you answered no to any one of these questions, then you still have work to do.

And no amount of comparison is ever going to close that gap.

Badass Professional Women Don’t #1: Put Your Head Down and Work Harder

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I recently published a post on 7 Things Badass Professional Women Don’t Do that has sparked a great deal of much-needed discussion around women in the workplace.

Many of you have pointed out that these 7 things can apply to anyone, not just women. 

I agree. 

However, I’ve found that generally, women have a harder time with these 7 behaviors than men do, at least on the surface.

I want to dive deeper into each of these 7 behaviors to help you avoid them and adopt the habits and mindsets that help women at the top of their game stand out and excel.

This week we focus on the first one – don’t put your head down and work harder.

This habit is tough to break.  Hard work is literally part of the fabric of American society; it’s highly valued and part of the culture for many organizations.

It’s tempting to keep working harder because you know how to do it. 

You know that if you put in more hours, you’ll get more work done and you may even get better results. 

It feels risky to cut corners or consider a task complete when you could keep working for a couple more hours and make those last few tweaks.

But what if you didn’t think about working less as cutting corners or being lazy? What if, instead, you thought about working smarter?

Badass professional women have this figured out. 

They know there is a combination of factors that make up their talent stack.

Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams coined the term “talent stack” to refer to the systems we use to layer “one modest skill on top of another until the effect is something special.”

Considered in this light, hard work alone is not really that remarkable. 

In fact, if you’re successful primarily because you work hard, you’re exposing yourself to the risk of being replaced. 

There are millions of other hard workers who would be happy to step in and work hard too.

What’s remarkable though is the unique combination of skills and attributes you bring to your role.

Each of us has the opportunity to take the simple skills and competencies we have – our natural talents – and leverage them into a system of performance that amounts to more than the sum of our parts.

You can start doing this by making a list of the skills and attributes you have to offer.

These don’t have to be the things that you are the best at either.  You don’t have to be the best and you shouldn’t try to fake being the best – people will eventually see through that.

It’s enough to just be you.

So here’s my ask of you: 

If you find yourself working hard and you’re stuck, overwhelmed or just not getting the results you want, take a beat.

Think through your talent stack and how you can do a better job communicating it, practicing it and building relationships around it.

Episode 41: The LivWell Health Series: Leveraging Metrics and Personalized Care to Keep Older Adults Healthy and Safe at Home

Today’s featured guest is Richard Jackson from Riverside Health System. Rick is the Executive Director of the Riverside Center for Excellence in Aging and Lifelong Health, which helps older adults and their families make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing.

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7 Things Badass Professional Women Don't Do

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Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the privilege to speak with dozens of professional women (and a handful of enlightened men) about the unique challenges and experiences women face in the workplace. 

Much of what I heard echoed my own experiences working in Corporate America for 15 years, running my business for the last 2 years, and mentoring countless women and entrepreneurs.

Most notably, there are a number of commonalities among successful women – the things they do to get ahead as well as what they intentionally DON'T do.

The latter category includes the toxic behaviors, people and thoughts that can sabotage our momentum and ultimate success.

How can you adopt the practices, habits and mindsets to unleash your inner boss and take command of your career?

You can start by understanding the 7 key behaviors that badass professional women don’t do:

  1. Don’t Put Your Head Down and Work Harder
  2. Don’t Compare Yourself
  3. Don’t Say Yes
  4. Don’t Accept the Hand You’re Dealt
  5. Don’t Feel Guilty
  6. Don’t Be a Tough Guy
  7. Don’t Pull All-Nighters

1: Don’t Put Your Head Down and Work Harder

At some point, we’ve all been taught that if we work hard and do a good job, we’ll be rewarded. 

This belief is instilled in us from a young age.

Maybe your parents rewarded you for getting good grades or your high SAT score helped get you into the school of your choice.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way in the professional world. 

You very rarely get noticed for hard work alone. 

Yes, there’s a place for hard work, drive and commitment to excellence, but it’s your relationships and ability to promote yourself that are far more critical to your success in moving up the corporate ladder and achieving recognition.

Too often, women fall into this trap:  We put in long hours at our desk trying to create the most perfect work product, but we miss out on the opportunity to really differentiate ourselves and stand out – by getting out there and showing people who we really are. 

People need to know you, not just your work. 

We all have qualities that fascinate other people.  It’s your responsibility to promote yourself and show people what’s so great about you.

The workplace is not the place to be humble or let others take credit for your accomplishments. 

This doesn’t mean that you need to dominate meetings or brag about your accomplishments. 

Rather, there are a number of strategic ways you can build your profile. 

  • Focus on the key relationships that are critical to your growth and success.  Think about it like building a board – who are the people you can learn from and can facilitate your growth and success?
  • Find sponsors and mentors who will help you gain greater visibility and open doors for you.
  • Have lunch with your colleagues. Go to happy hour with them. Even if you don’t want to. :)

Over time you will find that building genuine relationships with the right peers and influencers will make your job easier. 

You won’t have to work so hard because people already know what you bring to the table and they trust you.

2:  Don't Compare Yourself

Comparison is the thief of joy. 

Yet we all do it at some point.  

But unless you’re extremely motivated by seeing someone more successful than you, comparing yourself to others is not likely to serve you at work. 

This is because we each have a unique set of personality traits and competencies that fascinate others. 

For me, my ambition, focus and confidence have often set me apart from my peers. 

If I compared myself to someone with a different mix of advantages, I would be frustrated and probably couldn’t replicate their results.

So what can you do instead?

  • Observe others you admire (i.e., watch, don’t judge) and think about what makes them successful.
  • Consider your own strengths and weaknesses and how comfortable you are pushing those boundaries. 

This last part is key – while it’s great to push yourself out of your comfort zone, it needs to be authentic and realistic.

Take this example:

If you’re trying to emulate the best public speaker in your firm, but you have never given a public talk or you get extreme stage fright…

Then it may not be realistic to think you are going to be an amazing public speaker without some significant time, practice and effort. 

It may look like that skill comes naturally to someone else, but it probably took them years to master. 

But all you see is the polished result. 

This is why comparison can be so dangerous. 

Not only do we lack insight into what it took that person to get there, but we may not even possess the innate natural talents that would facilitate our success in that area.

So we could just be setting ourselves up for disappointment.

Before you compare yourself to someone else, assess your own natural talents and non-talents. 

Consider whether they are well-aligned to your pursuits and if you’re committed to putting in the hard work and time to get there.

3:  Don't Say Yes

By nature, many women are people pleasers. 

We want to make others happy and we want people to like us. 

We want to say yes to our boss’s last minute request to get that report in by Friday.

We want to volunteer for that extra assignment because we will do a great job and it’s a way to get noticed. 

And we also want to mentor the three people who have reached out to us because they admire us and want to learn from us.

Suddenly, we’ve agreed to a ton of extra tasks and we’re overcommitted.

There’s absolutely a time and place in your career for saying yes as much as possible. 

Only you know when that time is right…

For me, I did this early on in my career, when I was younger (and had boundless energy and fewer personal commitments) and hungry for as many new experiences as possible to help me develop my niche and natural talents.

Beyond that, saying no becomes a critical way to set boundaries and protect your creativity and your sanity. 

If you’re any good at what you do, you will undoubtedly have people asking a lot of you. 

You aren’t obligated to say yes to everything. 

You also don’t need to apologize.

Setting boundaries is part of being mature and also allows you to take time for self-care. 

4:  Don't Accept The Hand You're Dealt

Most things in life are negotiable. 

Even if you think they aren’t. 

There’s no reason you have to accept something just because that’s the way it’s always been or if you’re unhappy.  

You always have a choice.

It may not be easy, but the least effective thing you can do is just accept a mediocre situation.

Powerful women play the long game. 

They think about their end goal and the small steps they need to take to get there. 

  • They understand the connections and relationships they need to build over time. 
  • They take up space both mentally and physically – they can’t be ignored.
  • They don’t sit around feeling sorry for themselves or make excuses about why they are stuck in their current situation. 
  • They don’t let self-doubt cripple their ability to move forward.

They resist stagnation.

5:  Don't Feel Guilty

We feel bad missing work if we’re sick.

We feel bad leaving early to pick up our kids.

We feel bad asking for too much time off.

We feel bad if we’re too exhausted to stay up all night working on a proposal.  

And we need to stop!

Women are often guilt-ridden, but the most successful professional women don’t let feelings of anguish or remorse hold them back. 

Personally, guilt has been the hardest feeling for me to overcome. 

I never want to let anyone down. 

But sometimes we have to in order to choose ourselves. 

The key is to own our choices and stand behind them. 

Be transparent and upfront about your boundaries. 

No one is perfect, but being clear about your choices means you don’t have to apologize or feel bad when you say no.

6:  Don't Be a Tough Guy

We know that badass professional women set boundaries, negotiate for what they want and don’t feel guilty, but they also do this with finesse and grace. 

They don’t steamroll over people or act like a tough guy. 

And this can be a difficult balance for many women.

Women have to walk a tightrope of being authentic to themselves and embracing their femininity and being assertive enough to command respect.

The most successful women have figured out this balancing act. 

They speak up, are confident and can be forceful. 

But they have put in time building social capital with their colleagues by fostering genuine relationships.

They are likeable and this increases their influence.

7:  Don't Pull All-Nighters

I see plenty of successful women who never seem to sleep.

I am not one of them. 

Sleep has repeatedly been proven to improve your memory and focus, reduce stress and depression, help maintain your weight and increase your overall quality of life. 

Being well-rested helps us keep the composure we need to deal with all the challenging situations and BS we face at work.

Sleep is a game-changer. 

In Conclusion

Eliminating these 7 behaviors from your day-to-day professional life will have a big impact.

And the benefits from these behaviors often compound over time.

I encourage you to start today and embrace the badass professional woman you are.

Episode 40: The LivWell Health Series: Digitizing Tedious Paper-Based Workflows and Referrals in a Large Health Care System with Sharie Torres

Episode 40: The LivWell Health Series: Digitizing Tedious Paper-Based Workflows and Referrals in a Large Health Care System with Sharie Torres

Today’s featured guest is Sharie Torres. Sharie is a registered nurse from Hawaii and has worked in a large healthcare system there for 20 years. She acts as a Utilization Manager and has witnessed firsthand how technology has helped one of the largest providers of the nation, improve their workflow and referral management processes. A lot of healthcare systems today are struggling with the transition to technological solutions. Moving from hundreds of paper processes to something quicker can be a huge and often tedious undertaking for a medical team. 

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Episode 39: The LivWell Health Series: The Role of Technology and Transformation In Senior Living With Denise Rabidoux of EHM Senior Solutions

Episode 39: The LivWell Health Series: The Role of Technology and Transformation In Senior Living With Denise Rabidoux of EHM Senior Solutions

Today’s featured guest is Denise Rabidoux, President, and CEO of EHM Senior Solutions. EHM Senior Solutions is a not-for-profit organization with a history dating back to 1879. Formerly known as Evangelical Homes of Michigan, EHM operates senior living, Medi-Care at home and private duty life choices programs.

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Episode 38: The LivWell Health Series: One Caregiver’s Journey to Impact 1 Million Lives with Alex Go

Episode 38: The LivWell Health Series: One Caregiver’s Journey to Impact 1 Million Lives with Alex Go

We are in for a treat with today’s featured guest, Alex Go. Alex is the CEO and Co-founder of LivWell Health, a technology-enabled service provider that assists seniors to live independently at home and also for families seeking assistance in their care. Their goal is to make caregiving easier for the 44 million Americans that are caring for older adults and special needs children. LivWell Health partners with senior service providers to expand the markets they serve with the goals of enhancing revenue and improving staff productivity.

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The LivWell Health Series: Modernizing the Delivery of Home and Community-Based Services to Improve the Social Determinants of Health

About LivWell Health

With an aging population that prefers to live independently in the setting of their choice (often their home), the demand for home and community-based service delivery is growing.

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LivWell Health is designed to meet this need for patients and their families, care coordinators, social workers and senior living providers.

  • Care coordinators and social workers have chosen LivWell Health's workflow-optimized, referral management solutions to easily manage community resources, create a patient-centric "personalized service plan" and streamline patient hand-offs to their preferred network partners. 
  • Senior living providers enjoy LivWell Health's interactive digital signage systems and tablets to register for social activities, submit service requests, review dining options or just keep up with community news.  This offers one information system to power all of the providers' signage, in-campus TV channel and resident portal solutions. 

Podcast Series

This four-part podcast series dives deeper into the role that LivWell Health and technology in general increasingly play in home and community-based services and care transitions.  The following episodes explore LivWell Health founder Alex Go's personal journey as a caregiver and how it inspired him to create LivWell Health, as well as examples of how several communities and care coordinators have incorporated LivWell Health into their programs with great success.

  • Episode 38:  One Caregiver’s Journey to Impact 1 Million Lives with Alex Go
  • Episode 39:  The Role of Technology and Transformation In Senior Living With Denise Rabidoux of EHM Senior Solutions
  • Episode 40:  Digitizing Tedious Paper-Based Workflows and Referrals in a Large Health Care System with Sharie Torres

How To Transform Your Daily Grind into Joy

As summer winds down and the kids go back to school, traffic congestion surges and job demands seem to multiply….

Time becomes an even more precious and scarce commodity.  Suddenly, the slower pace and summer lull many of us enjoyed in July and August comes to a screeching halt.

And reality sets in:  you are stretched thin and stressed. 

How do I know? Because I’ve been there. 

In fact, I used to experience this cycle several times a year before I learned how to consistently take better care of myself and make self-care a priority.

For many years, I accepted this vicious cycle of stress as a normal way of life. 

Most of the time I managed ok – I slept and exercised less than I would’ve liked – but I was still keeping all the balls in the air and doing well at work.

I even put Band-Aids on the problem by scheduling quick 4-day vacations to warm, sunny places to supply me with the relaxation and rest I needed. 

But every time when I returned to real life (which was approximately 689 unread emails, numerous requests from family and friends for my time, and the daily demands of running a household) – any benefits from my break were gone within my first day home.

About four years ago, a light bulb went off for me – if I needed to keep escaping my daily life for these mini-vacations, maybe vacations weren’t the answer.  I needed to change something about my daily life.

I’m probably not much different from you in that I spend most of my daily life at work.

Here are some of the transformational steps I took to examine what wasn’t working in my daily life and my career and how I broke my cycle of stress.

1. Slow Down

I like to think I’m a smart person but it took me far longer than I care to admit (literally years!) to realize that I was unhappy in my job – I was working too many hours and no longer found the work enjoyable. 

I was so worried about letting someone down at work or at home that I was pretty much on autopilot. 

I was moving so fast trying to keep up with everything, that I never took the time to reflect and consider if a change might be good for me.

It wasn’t until I started being honest with myself and my co-workers about how I was feeling, that I allowed myself to take the gas off the pedal and see what that felt like.

Even then, I didn’t have an epiphany over night. It still took over a year for me realize that I actually didn’t want to be a partner in a big consulting firm (despite working towards that goal for over 10 years) and that I didn’t want to continue to work 60+ hour weeks.

2.     Do Something

Once I figured this out, I had another problem.  For 10+ years, my identity and self-worth had been wrapped up in my career and my ability to be all things to all people.

If I walked away from that, who would I be?

Well, heck, I had no idea, but I knew I just needed to try something else.

So I did. 

I took a new job in a different industry doing something completely different than what I had done before.

I also started saying no to personal invitations when I didn’t want to go.

My days of people-pleasing were over.

It was scary and I had my doubts about whether I could succeed and if people would be mad at me.

But, you know what?

It literally forced me to take action and do something to change the path I was on. 

And my family and true friends were completely supportive of me putting myself first.

3.    Be Kind To Yourself

When I made the change to switch jobs, it was a big deal for me.

I had been at my firm for 7 years and was a known commodity.

Now I was going into a new environment, where I didn’t know anyone, and I had no track record and little direct experience with the type of work I was going to be doing.

Frankly, I was scared shitless.

I tend to be hard on myself and have high expectations for what I can achieve. I really didn’t know if I could do this job well.

So I decided to re-frame my definition of success.  

Leaving my previous job wasn’t just about starting a new job and changing the direction of my career.

It was about changing my entire life.

It was about leaving the rat race of Big 5 Consulting and taking more time for me.

So I decided to use this job as an opportunity to do just that. 

I used this role to hit the re-set button my life and looked for ways to create new routines and healthy habits (i.e., taking barre classes after work, seeing my nutritionist weekly).

These became measures of success along with my performance at work. 

I no longer based my success and self-worth solely on what went down in the office.

If I can make these changes, I’m confident anyone can.  I was a workaholic, people-pleasing, creature of habit.

And today, I’m still a creature of habit…but I have better habits. :)

Would you like to know how to assess and develop your own daily habits?

If so, click below for a free 1:1 consult with me to learn how to show up powerfully in the workplace and feel fulfilled, while having more time for yourself and the things you love.

How to Re-Ignite Your Personal Brand and Your Career

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When Your Career Stagnates and Your Opportunities Seem Limited….

It can be demoralizing, anxiety-producing and downright depressing.  Believe me, I know.

In my 20s and even still today as I approach 40, I frequently experience age and gender discrimination. 

I look young and enjoy fashion (a stint at Saks in grad school left me with an affliction for designer handbags and shoes).

And sometimes people equate that with a lack of experience, intelligence and business sense.

If I had a dollar for every time I heard “Oh, you wouldn’t understand this reference because you’re too young,” or “I can’t believe how much you have accomplished in your short career”…

It seems like more often than not, people are surprised by my expertise, professional accomplishments and network. 

However, those who know me are not. 

At work, I’m assertive, knowledgeable and confident.

But I wasn’t always this way. 

Early in my career, I was quiet, shy and afraid to speak up and share my ideas because I was afraid to sound stupid or be wrong. 

You ever felt that way?

There were a number of factors that changed my behavior over time but probably the biggest influence was a boss I had named Jacqui. 

Jacqui was smart, assertive and didn’t fit the mold of a typical corporate woman – she played in a man’s world, but was true to who she was and was also someone I genuinely enjoyed hanging out with. 

It was from working with and receiving feedback from Jacqui that led me to break out of my shell.  

But if you don’t have a “Jacqui” in your life, what can you do to establish your brand and stand out so you can get the promotion, raise and respect you deserve at work?

Well here’s a few things that I’ve done over the years that have helped me…

1.  Unlock Your Natural Talents

  • Take the time to understand what you’re good at.
  • You can do this by taking assessments, self-reflecting and asking others to give you feedback.
  • Equally important, understand your ‘non-talents’. 
  • Then, rather than try to improve on your ‘non-talents’, become more of who you already are by building on your natural talents.
  • We wouldn’t expect a goldfish to climb a tree right? :)

2.  Develop Personal Style

  • Like it or not, we live in a visual, superficial society. 
  • Appearance is important. 
  • You don’t need to be a model or spend a fortune to look polished and stylish but it does require a little effort. 
  • Figure out what styles make you feel the most comfortable and confident and stick with those. 
  • Sticking to certain silhouettes and colors can make getting dressed fast and simple. 
  • Develop an easy-to-maintain hair and makeup routine. 
  • You may need to get advice on these things – ask your stylish friends, your hairdresser and the makeup artist at Sephora for tips.  
  • It’s not silly and superficial…it’s part of how you present yourself and your brand.  

3.  Incorporate Self-Care Into Your Career

  • Successful women take care of themselves. 
  • They exercise, eat healthy and are cognizant of their mental health. 
  • Take the time to figure out how you can incorporate regular exercise and a healthy diet into your life. 
  • Stay away from toxic people who sap your energy.
  • Do things outside of work that make you feel good and rejuvenate you.

4. Own Who You Are 

  • Once you recognize your natural talents and develop your personal style, OWN IT. 
  • Don’t sit quietly in your team meeting waiting to be called on. 
  • Stand tall and confidently share your insights. 
  • If the thought of this is too scary, start by having 1:1 conversations with peers you trust.
  • You can bounce your ideas off them first and build up the confidence to share them in a larger group or with your boss.

5. Ask For What You Want  

  • Everyone is busy and most likely, your boss isn’t spending much time thinking about how to get you everything you want professionally.
  • YOU are in charge of your path, even if you work for someone else. 
  • Take the time to figure out where you want to be in 6 months, 1 year and 5 years and let people know. 
  • Even if they don't think you’re ready, ask them why and how you can get there. 
  • Then take this feedback and think about whether you can act on it or if you are better off looking outside of your current job for the type of opportunity you are looking for.

I realize these steps may not be easy for everyone.

But taken in small chunks over a period of time, they are doable and can help you take your career to the next level, even if you’re feeling stuck, underpaid and unappreciated.

If you want to learn more about how you can make a few simple, but transformational, shifts to get the promotion, raise and respect you deserve in your career, click below to schedule a free 1:1 consult with me. 

Eclipses and Shadows

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This week's solar eclipse got me thinking about shadows. The Moon's shadow crossed the Earth's surface, dimming the sun's light for a period of time.

There are a lot of times in my professional life where people have tried to dim my light and keep me in their shadow. This isn't unique to me - it happens to lots of women.

And it's got to stop. Maybe we can't control our workplace cultures and societal norms. But women can take steps to assert our confidence and leverage our natural talents so that no one dims our light, takes credit for our work, or silences our ideas.

Episode 37: Creating An Organizational Culture to Serve Older Adults In a Consistent, Caring Way With Tristan White

Today’s featured guest is Tristan White. Tristan is the CEO and founder of The Physio Co, which helps Australian seniors stay mobile, safe, and happy. Onsite physiotherapy is their thing. In 2004, The Physio Co was just one person with a vision to change seniors' healthcare forever. Today, The Physio Co is ranked as Australia’s best place to work, has 100 team members and delivers over 200,000 physiotherapy consultations per year. 

Tristan is a qualified physiotherapist from the University of Melbourne. He has an MBA from Queensland University of Technology and a Masters degree from MIT for their Entrepreneurial Masters Program. Tristan also loves helping other people build strong cultures and be happier at work. He writes a blog called Culture is Everything, which Smart Company lists as one of Australia’s 25 Best Business Blogs and he is also a speaker. In today’s episode we hear all about Tristan’s work with The Physio Co as well as the systems he uses to create successful cultures in his organization and in others.

Listen to the Show:

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • Why Tristan left behind a sexy career helping professional athletes to serve older adults
  • The role physiotherapists play in providing social engagement for the seniors they treat 
  • How a combination of in-person and tele-rehab can be powerful for PT patients
  • How to discover and live the core values of your business and create a consistent organizational culture
  • How to show employees love and appreciation
  • The importance of being flexible on what you deliver but consistent in how you deliver

Featured On The Show:

BOOST Bonus: 8 Innovators Targeting the Elder Care Market

The Sponsor For Today’s Episode:

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Episode 36: Building a Lasting Business Culture To Encourage Entrepreneurial Thinking with Ronen Gafni

I am pumped to introduce today’s featured guest, Ronen Gafni. Ronen is a serial entrepreneur who grew up in the startup nation of Israel, trading on the stock market, operating a branding company, training companies, and more. He is the creator and founder of FreshBiz and the FreshBiz game developer as well. Ronen also co-authored the book, The New Entrepreneurz: Changing the Way You Play Life, and he is also a visionary global trainer, or business coach, as many like to call him. 

Ronen has been featured on TV, radio, and magazines talking about the future of business, and he has trained over 15,000 people across 20 countries on innovation and entrepreneurial thinking. As a keynote speaker and futurist, Ronen weaves together new approaches to business, education, design, and lifestyle. Today we dive into applying gaming to business by starting with lifestyle and designing the business model accordingly. We also go further into creating a business model based on partnerships, the role of game-based learning in entrepreneurship, the effect of culture on creative thinking, and much more.

Listen to the Show:

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • Three key features of FreshBiz. 
  • How to create lasting cultural change and creative thinking through re-wiring mindsets.
  • How to design a successful business model, without offices or employees. 
  • The role and impact of game-based learning on entrepreneurial thinking.
  • How to anticipate and prepare for the different seasons of business.
  • Why it's important to start with a clear canvas when reinventing your business.

Featured On The Show:

BOOST Bonus: Cultural Change That Sticks

The Sponsor For Today’s Episode:

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Episode 35: Transforming a MBA and Big 5 Consulting Expertise Into an International Wine Business With Courtney Kingston

I am so excited to introduce today’s featured guest, Courtney Kingston. Courtney is the founder of Kingston Family Vineyards in Casablanca Valley, Chile. She’s a graduate of Princeton University and she started her career as a consultant for Deloitte’s wine industry practice. There she began learning the ins and outs of the California wine business, and later as a student at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, she wrote the vineyard’s original business plan using the Chilean cattle ranch that her family had owned and operated since 1922. 

After many discussions about the feasibility of converting the family farm into a vineyard, Kingston Family Vineyards became a reality in 1998. Courtney and her husband, Andy, have three daughters and share their time between Portola Valley, California and Chile’s Casablanca Valley. Today Courtney shares the story how how it all began, as well as the ins and outs of what it’s really like to start and run your own vineyard.

Listen to the Show:

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • The three things to know about Kingston Family Vineyards. 
  • The turning point that convinced Courtney to leave her full-time job.
  • How Courtney grew her business, starting out with her office in a closet.
  • Why using a direct-to-consumer business model was key for the Kingston Family Vineyards.
  • The inflection point in Courtney’s life, and what she learned from the experience.
  • Self-care tips to give you energy and help you to listen through the noise in life.
  • Why you can't allow fear to prevent you from pursing your dream.

Featured On The Show:

BOOST Bonus: Entrepreneurs: Don't Lose Yourself to Depression

The Sponsor For Today’s Episode:

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  • Don't miss an episode, subscribe via iTunesStitcher or RSS.
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