I think I’d like these comforting words to be my theme for 2012. Because at this time of year, I can get pretty intense with plans for January and beyond. Do you get that? And that intensity can have an insidious message lurking underneath – you’re not good enough exactly as you are.
So yes, I want to grow as a person and professional in the New Year. I also want to temper these desires with K.C.T. – Kindness, Curiosity and Trust.
If you were to pick your theme, what might it be? I’d love to hear.
That’s it for December! Thank you for joining me here each month. It’s an honor to be included in your life.
In 2005, my friend Steve told me, “I love my job.” I was envious because at the time I felt unfulfilled in my work. I realize now that envy can be a gift. It acts as a neon sign that announces, “I want this for myself!” And it presents two options – change nothing and remain safe and miserable or do something different.
Here are three ways to do something different:
- Clarify – What about this person’s experience do I want? As it related to Steve, I realized that I wanted to use more of my creative skills, and I wanted to wake up in the morning looking forward to going to work.
- Self esteem check up – For me there’s often a hidden worthiness issue to clear up. I had to explore why I felt undeserving of a happy work life and with the help of therapy, affirmations and supportive friends turn that (crap) around.
- Bless their success – To bring my thinking to a more positive place, I now catch myself when I’m feeling envy and quickly wish that person happiness and well being.
Today I can honestly say, “I love my job!” And I no longer feel Steve-envy.
Have you ever moved from envy to achievement? What are your tips?
A farmer’s only horse runs away. Neighbors come over to exclaim, “We heard the awful news!”
The farmer replies, “Good news? Bad news? We don’t know.”
The horse comes back with a second horse. The farmer’s son rides the horse, falls and breaks his leg.
The neighbors once again lament, “Such unfortunate news!”
The farmer replies, “Good news, bad news? We don’t know.”
Government officials come to the village to conscript soldiers; the son isn’t chosen because of his injury.
This farmer has figured out how to avoid labeling life events as catastrophes. And I believe this detachment and open mindedness can apply to life today…
The news: I was let go from a job in the midst of the economic downturn.
The result: I got a tax refund, used my down time to visit my sister in Germany and was able to return to that job a few months
The news: A client I worked with this year was the hardest of my career.
The result: I got to see what I was made of and was soon after hired by another firm that was a much better fit.
Can you apply the Farmer’s Wisdom to aspects of your life? I’d love to hear how.
Last month, my friend Karen took motorcycle lessons. The next thing I knew, she was buying roller skates. “Why does Karen get to do all these fun things,” I whined to myself. Karen – who works a nine to five office job and is as busy as the rest of us – gets to do these things because she makes her curiosity and sense of fun a priority. This means doing the research, setting aside the time and money, and then showing up.
I’m glad I caught myself inwardly whining. It signaled I was overdue to pursue my own fun. So I honored my inner business nerd and took a road trip to Vegas for a tour of Zappos.com. Zappos is an e-commerce company with a creative, whimsical, out-of-the-box work environment. I’d been hearing about it for months and wanted to see it for myself.
I just got back from my adventure this evening and had a terrific time! Below are three blogs about it. And here’s a link if you ever want to take the free tour. Next, maybe I can get Karen to take me roller skating.
Your turn. Are you great at following your curiosity and sense of play? I’d love to hear your stories.
A Great Business Read
In his book, Delivering Happiness, Zappos’ CEO, Tony Hsieh, shares the dramatic story of how the company came into existence and built its one-of-a-kind culture.
I was given notice at my nonprofit in January due to a union technicality. Much as I was assured that I was well loved and would be missed, I still had to hand in my key card.
A week later, they asked me to return for a while to train the woman who replaced me. Once the surprise wore off, I realized it was a golden opportunity.
I learned that my “disappearance” had created quite a ripple. Even those I didn’t interact with at work were relieved and happy I was back. I underestimated the power of simply being around. This realization helped make my return a rich and meaningful experience.
Do you recognize the impact of your simple, human presence? I invite you to take a breath and enjoy that truth right now.
And here’s an insightful business book with lots of solutions to this sort of management conundrum.
I flew to Charlottesville, Virginia with a long stretch of vacation in front of me. There would time to sleep in, visit, eat well and do holiday activities. I soaked in the luxury of this schedule for about three days until restlessness set in. I found myself having anxiety dreams about my day-to-day life and feeling a need to check my work email.
When a hectic balancing act is the daily status quo, it can be hard to release it all. For me, I worry that if I let go completely, I won’t want to return. That’s why I find that a vacation feels “safest” when I keep a part of my mind in the game.
I’ve decided to do what feels right for me – to be patient with myself as I adjust to a different pace. I’m writing to you from a cozy bed and breakfast. Outside my window is a trickling river, blue skies and snow. In my belly is a homemade omelet, fresh baked bread and cherry jam. Later I’ll take a brisk winter walk, but for now, my laptop is open, I’m typing away and absolutely happy.
What about you? Is anyone else out there sheepishly checking on their work life from afar? Let me know what you think and how you are.
In the meanwhile, may you be merry and warm.
Jean Doing-Her-Vacation-Her-Way Franzblau
At a seminar I attended, the presenter asked the group to write all of our Shoulds on a page. My list began quite easily…
I should blog more
I should eat more cruciferous vegetables
I should get more cardio
The whole group was scribbling like fiends until the presenter stopped us to ask, “SAYS WHO?”
I knew at that moment that I had been quietly tyrannized for years with the constant pressure of Should. I realized that Should is a nagging energy suck, and I wanted to be free.
The presenter recommended Could. Could is empowering. Could is a word that offers possibility and choice. Like this:
“I could get more cardio if I wanted to; if I decided it was worth my time; if the result of that felt important to me.”
What would the world be like if everyone made decisions without the guilt and shame of Should. I’d like to know.
Will you try this with me? Pay attention if you or anyone around you uses the word Should. In your mind, replace it with Could and see how you like it.
I’d love to hear how it goes.
Letting go of my Shoulds means taking time for acting and writing. I’m proud to announce I’m in a show next week! It’s called “Tasty Words” and you’re invited. Here’s a link for details.
If you want to learn more about the “tyranny of the should,” here’s a helpful article posted by Psychology Today.
That’s your note for the month!
Jean Open-to-the-Freedom-of-Could Franzblau
Last week I returned from Burning Man, an annual festival that attracts over 50,000 people for a week of creative expression.
One of the unique aspects of Burning Man is that there are no vendors and virtually nothing to purchase. Instead the city runs on a gift economy where giving and receiving is the norm. At Center Camp, the central meeting place, one man stood with a bright pink sign that said, “Hugs.” My first thought was skeptical, but in the spirit of participation I accepted his gift.
What a terrific hug this guy gave! My boyfriend, Zev, tried it out, too. We found a spot nearby and over and over watched the beauty of strangers connecting in a moment of shared humanity.
Once home and on my way to work, I noticed a feeling of loneliness. I longed to be like the guy with the sign – more authentic and tender at work. I made it a point to connect with more people before jumping into my duties. Maybe my next step is to offer hugs on my break.
Do you ever feel disconnected from your real self at work? If so, what would it take to be more you?
Here’s a video where you can see The Free Hugs Campaign in action.
And here’s the website of the gentle soul who started it all.
That’s your note for the month!
Jean Offerer-of-Hugs Franzblau
I was six weeks into my new job when the HR Director came to my desk and told me, “You need to join the union. They’ll be taking 1% of your salary.”
What union, I wondered? And why am I hearing about this now?
I explained reasonably that if this were necessary, then I would need a 1% increase in pay. After all, I was never told about this while negotiating for the position.
Long story short: there would be no 1% increase and if I wanted to stay employed, I would need to sign and pay. I was angry.
After venting about the issue privately, I was able to initiate a calm conversation with my boss. I offered creative options and by the end of our talk, I felt 100% better.
How was it done? By using a technique I call O-A-C-A:
O-A-C-A is a template for saying what needs to be said in a way that honors both people.
Want to learn more? This week I completed a free interactive class where I describe it in detail. You are invited to enjoy it and share it by clicking on the picture below. I’d love to hear what you think.
That’s your note for this month!
Jean Keeping-a-Cool-Head Franzblau
“What a lovely outfit,” I said to a colleague at my new job.
“There was nothing clean,” she replied apologetically. “I just threw this on.”
This woman was dressed in vivacious colors and carefully chosen accessories. What was she talking about?
The deflection of compliments is common and unfortunate. Though I believe it’s meant to be self effacing, it’s not a satisfying experience for the one who made the kind remark. It says, “Your opinion is incorrect – let me detail for you why.”
Are you a Compliment Deflector? If you are, it’s a habit that may be at first hard to catch. Listen to yourself in conversation. Do you make excuses for your talent, accomplishments or fabulous smile?
If this is you, here’s a suggestion: accept compliments for the joy that they bring. Say “Thank You!” Then shut up.
Here’s a sassy book for the professional lady: The Corporate Dominatrix by Lisa Robyn. This intriguingly titled read suggests that in order to thrive in the corporate environment, gals would do well to adopt different styles or roles depending on the situation. I learned that at work I rank high in expressing my inner strength and intuition – the Goddess Role – and that I’d like to develop my sense of authority – the Queen Role. (Men, this may be a good gift for the Corporate Dominatrix in your life.)
Where in the World is Jean?
Now that I’m an employee, LAX is no longer my satellite office, my car is. I’ve decided to use the commute to set intentions for the day and pray. If you ever see me in my little orange Honda talking to myself, now you know what that’s all about.
Let’s talk about summer vacation plans. I’m heading to the Kern River for a rafting trip over the 4th of July weekend. How about you? Got summer plans that give you joy? Please share!