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Rethinking Life and Work?

Those of you that have followed my LinkedIn or website blog posts, Blue Notes, over the past few months know that I recently handed over the keys to my CHRO office and launched my own hr leadership and consulting business. As I suspected, it’s hard and scary and awesome and humbling and so many emotions all at once.

As part of the transition, I’ve sought guidance from friends, mentors and others in the consulting space. I’ve also become a voracious reader, and just finished Next! The Power of Reinvention in Life and Work by Joanne Lipman. Now maybe it’s just the point I’m at in the journey right now (major career pivot and totally questioning my decision and sanity most days), but I discovered a lot of great nuggets during this read and wanted to share them here with you.

The first is the formula that Lipman offers as steps that make up her “reinvention roadmap.” The formula is: Search -> Struggle -> Stop -> Solution. I’m not planning on a full New York Times style book review of each step in the roadmap, but rather highlight a few that stood out to me.

Let’s start with Struggle. Spoiler alert – it’s hard and it’s real. I am a leader, an HR professional, a wife, a mom and a friend (in no particular order). I am learning that I am not a tech genius or a salesperson, and I am struggling a little. Two months ago, I had never heard of Canva or created blog posts on my Wix website; but I’m learning and I’m here to tell you that you can teach an older dog new tricks.

Sticking with the Struggle, I have a whole new appreciation for those in the sales profession. Over the past few months, I’ve reached out to hundreds of contacts (both close contacts and “weak ties”) to spread the news of my launch and services; I’ve actually connected with about 20% of them. I’ve always prided myself in having pretty thick skin, but wow…rejection is hard.

The last point in the Struggle step that I want to share is this notion of an “expert companion.” Lipman identifies an expert companion as “the person who will listen to your story, help you manage your emotions, and encourage you as you reconsider your beliefs and goals. This companion doesn’t necessarily give advice and certainly doesn’t give orders. Instead, it’s the person who can see you with a clear eye and help you recognize new opportunities.” In this area as in many others, I have been blessed. I have so many mentors, friends and colleagues that fall into this category. These are the people that encourage me every day, that like and share my posts, that listen without judgement, and that would absolutely tell me that the dress does absolutely nothing for me.

It’s time to move on to another step in the roadmap – Stop. I say “another” step and not “next” step because these steps are not necessarily linear. They can occur in any order, and may recur as well. The Stop section is full of powerful tips, including the ninety-minute rule and taking a break. The ninety-minute rule suggests focusing completely on your work for ninety minutes without any distractions including email or phone. Set a timer because at the end of ninety-minutes, you must stop and step away from the work. Do anything you want during that break – take a nap, take a walk, have lunch, call a friend, whatever you want. After the break, go back to the work for ninety-minutes and so on. The science shows that you’ll likely be more productive, more creative and possibly have more “aha moments” than working without a break.

To reiterate, this is not intended as an exhaustive literary review; there is so much more in this book including impactful personal stories and fascinating cognitive and data science research. These are simply the ideas that stand out to me today, where I am in this liminal period of my own personal journey. I hope you found something in here that you can use too. As always, thanks for following along.

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