The Best Gift Ever

It’s Christmas…

And, I can think of no better gift to give yourself than the gift of creating meaningful work.

Last week, I read this quote in Business Insider in an article (by Jenna Goudreau) entitled: 7 brilliant leadership lessons I learned this year:  

“Laszlo Bock, the SVP of Google’s People Operations
and author of ‘Work Rules!’, said on a panel this year
that “people don’t stay for the money.” Rather they
want to go to work every day and be surrounded by
other smart, engaged people and do work that makes a difference.”

A recent Gallup Poll found that 87% of working people say they are disengaged from their work, with 70% in the United States. That means that these people are just going through the motions, putting in their time, frustrated and bored and unhappy. That’s a lot of unhappy people. (And, they are not very productive.)

Does that describe you?
Are you struggling to find meaningful work?

You need to create it. And, the first step is to determine what “meaningful work means to you.”

“What does ‘meaningful work’ mean to me?”

The best gift you can give yourself this Christmas is to answer that question for yourself. Find some time during the holidays to sit down, away from the festivities, to ask yourself the following questions:

What does meaningful work mean to me?

How do I define meaningful work? Is it where I am making a contribution? Doing something that has a social impact? Using my talents to their fullest potential? Don’t use my words. Come up with your own description.

What are you doing when you think of doing work that’s meaningful? It doesn’t have to mean working at a hospital or with orphans in Africa, although if that’s what you want to do, that’s great, too. The point is: you can do something meaningful right where you are, in small or large ways. The important thing is to be able to identify what you do, or want to do, that feels meaningful.

Great! Thanks for taking the time to do this…you’ve completed the first step! You are on your way to creating work that is meaningful.

Celebrate: You Deserve It!

It’s the end of the year…

Everyone seems to be celebrating…there are parties, get-togethers, dinners, and visits with friends and family.

Are you celebrating your year of work? No? Why not?

The end of the year is a great time to process and “take stock” of how your year went. I know that some of you will want to start with looking at what went wrong and how to fix it.

I want to change that.

I want to encourage you to look at what went right this year. That’s actually the first step.

Think through these questions deeply and write down the answers:

(Let me give you more thorough instructions. First start by seeing what thoughts come to you. Write them down. Keep going. Put 1 question per page and see how much of the page you can fill up. If you get stuck, take it a month at a time. This will help you go deeper and bring more memories back. What happened in January? What are you grateful for that happened in January?)

The key is to BE SPECIFIC.

1. What are you grateful for this year?
(It could be having a job, getting a new opportunity, finding a new resource, working with a new team member, generating more revenue, gaining more knowledge, taking bigger action, coming up with new ideas, stepping out and up, getting onstage, working with a cool, new client, feeling like you made a difference…and the list goes on and on…)

2. What went well for you?

3. What are you proud of? What did you accomplish?

4. Where – and for what – did you receive compliments? Positive feedback? Accolades?

5. What decisions did you make to move yourself forward?

You might be tempted to default to what went wrong. What didn’t go right. Where you screwed up. But, that’s a conversation for another time.

Please just focus on what you did well and feel good about.

Now go back and read those pages. It was a good year, right? Did you celebrate all of these components of your year?

Now is the time to celebrate! Review these pages…put them in a folder and bring them out when you are tempted to get down on yourself. Read them.

And, celebrate! Find a way to treat yourself to something before the end of the month. You’ll have to figure out what that is. The important thing is…

Celebrate! Because you deserve it…

Create Meaningful Work: The Hidden Step

I am adding a step to my 8 Pillar System. It was always implied, but now I see that it is THE pivotal, transitional step that takes you from the Discovery Phase to the Implementation Phase …effortlessly and gracefully.

Here are the components of the Discovery Phase:

1) Understand the Job Market – and Your Place In It

2) Discover Your Talents, Gifts and Abilities

3) Leverage Your Unique Value Proposition

4) Know Your WHY

STEP 5. Determine Who Needs You (*NEW*)

Up to this point, you have figured out what you have to offer the marketplace. But, before you can figure out how to talk about and sell yourself, you need to think deeply about who needs what you have.
What problem do you solve? Who has that problem? Who has a need that you can help to fill? Can you create something new for someone?

This is where you look at where you can make the biggest impact with your value offering. It is the linchpin.

Do you have something to offer your former company? The competition? You don’t have to stay in the same industry. 

Can you make the biggest impact working at a start up? A mature start up? A large corporation? A midsize company? Do you need to approach an individual, a team, a founder of a new company? Who needs what you have and where can you go?

The reason this step is so important is that it informs everything else that follows. It will help you decide how you position yourself in the marketplace. What language do you use? How can you talk about yourself in a way that others will understand how you can help them? It gives you a FOCUS to help you with the implementation stage that follows.

Here are the components of the Implementation Phase:

6) Tell Your Story

7) Choose Your Work: Role, Project or Venture

8) Create Financial Anchors

9) Educate Your Market / Enroll Others In Your Vision

So, you see the importance of Step #5? It ushers you into the implementation stage. Get this right and the rest will follow. Step #5 will make it so easy for you to tell your story (to the right people and companies), to choose your work, and to get out there in a BIG way so that you won’t be a best-kept secret.

Need help? Just reach out to me for a STRATEGY SESSION to explore how I can help you create the work of your dreams.

Get Clear on Your Destination

It’s hard to know how to plan if you don’t know what you want.

That’s why it’s important to be clear on your destination.

So many people lead reactive lives, particularly at work. They get a job, work for a company, get promoted (or don’t get promoted), and stay at the company. Years go by, and they discover that their job has become a career…even if they didn’t plan it that way. Somehow they just stayed the course in their job and this course determined their ultimate destination. They didn’t chart their own course.

That’s great if they end their working career happy and fulfilled. But, so many people just “fell into” their work and their career “just happened to them.” This leaves many people feeling unfulfilled and unhappy. They had more potential, but never used it.

You don’t have to follow that pattern.

You can be proactive in managing your career, your job, your work opportunities. You can shape your course at work.

But how? You need to have your destination in mind. What do you want?

The first thing you need to do is to determine what is important to you. What matters to you? What do you believe in? What do you stand for? What gives you the greatest sense of satisfaction? This is your WHY.

What kinds of things do you enjoy doing? Helping people? Solving problems? Communicating through writing? Connecting people? Connecting the dots? Building businesses, processes, systems? Creating art, design, blog posts? What are you good at doing? This is where you take a look at your TALENTS and SKILLS.

Your vision is that picture in your mind of your ultimate destination. What does it look like? What are you doing? Can you see yourself at that level? Get quiet and try to picture it in your mind’s eye. Creating vision boards seem to be popular today. You can try this manually or digitally. Manually, you’ll want to cut out pictures that support your end goal. Digitally you can create a board on Pinterest that includes images of what you’d like to have at your ultimate destination. This step involves using your TALENT and SKILLS to support your VISION.

What is your destination? How can you combine what you believe in, Your WHY, with your TALENTS and SKILLS, to create a vision of your ultimate destination? That is the goal.

Spend some time thinking about and writing down the answers to some of the questions I have posed today. Go deep. Spend some time on this. Journal your answers. A picture will emerge. And, if you need some help, reach out to me at info at and we’ll set up a STRATEGY SESSION together. Enjoy~