Life

Share

Here’s the thing about goals and goal setting: You can be successful at achieving your goals and you can also crash and burn at goal setting in tremendous ways.  Whether you are a rockstar with goal setting or struggling to keep up with the ones you’ve created, it’s important to remember two things:

  1. Life happens:  Even with the best-laid plans, life is bound to happen and throw a wrench into them.
  2. Boundaries make a huge difference: Once I started to have boundaries, I started to have goals.

At the start of 2019, I began setting standards for myself and soon thereafter the year came into focus. I’ve been writing more, speaking at events more often, and developing new areas of my business.

But yet, I’ve been missing some goals because I’m human.

In a recent episode of Let’s Fix Work, I share some of my own insights and lessons about goal setting. Because let’s face it, even when you create rock-solid systems or amazing goal setting plans, life happens.

In the same episode, I also share my experience working with a business coach and how in doing so, it has helped me put my goals into focus and even be accountable, even when my follow through is less than stellar.

If you want to hear about my successes and failures with goal setting, the importance of putting yourself first, and making an effort to at least try to attain a specific goal, then listen to this episode of Let’s Fix Work.

 

Share

stalker culture

The internet is a strange place.

Instagram tells me that I might be interested in following your cousin. Facebook thinks your colleagues are my friends. And Twitter shows me snippets of conversations you’re having with strangers I’ve never met.

Why is this happening? How did we get to a place where conversations are public, relationships are measured in avatars, and connections mean nothing at all?

Welcome to stalker culture, where algorithms show you photos of your co-worker’s girlfriend or encourage you to connect with your neighbor’s inlaws.

Or maybe that’s just me.

I’ve come to understand that mobile device and internet usage mirrors Chernobyl — once exposed, you’re altered. The only way to fix your brain chemistry and get back to the real world is to ban the devices and minimize contact with the social web.

But I’m writing a book, and half of what constitutes “writing a book” in 2019 is marketing. So, here’s what I’m doing to participate a little less in stalker culture and make my exposure to my phone and social media a little less toxic.

Use the browser instead of apps.

I don’t have any social apps on my phone, right now. If I want to use Instagram, which has a horrible browser experience, I download the app for a moment and then delete it when I’m done.

Block, block, block.

It’s tough to beat the algorithm, but maybe we can collectively influence its thinking by blocking inappropriate friend requests and muting content recommendations. If your mom comes up in my feed, I’m now blocking your mom. To be honest, I don’t think she’ll notice.

Take it less seriously.

Just because LinkedIn or Facebook thinks I know someone doesn’t mean I know someone. These commands are suggestions, not requirements. And I don’t think anybody gives a shit if I mute them — or block their kids — because I don’t want to see private, intimate conversations.

Be true to your values.

People confuse politeness for connection. For me, I’m done with manners. The moment I feel uncomfortable, the relationship is over without explanation or apology. I’ve been on the other side of that equation, too. Being dropped is hard; however, it’s the kindest thing you can do to someone who has no place in your life.

Let’s end stalker culture.

Stalker culture exists because we let it happen to our society. Maybe it’s too late to turn back time, but we can make an effort to modify our behaviors and avoid undesirable exposure to the toxic elements of the social web.

But please stay tuned — and click on all the links and sign up for the newsletter — for my upcoming book, okay?

Share

When people try to force food on you, be suspicious. And there’s no more suspicious food item than yogurt.

Yogurt can go fuck itself.

First of all, my cats love to eat yogurt, which should tell you everything you need to know. Roxy will fight you for the spoon, and she also licks her butt. Yogurt goes well with toxoplasmosis.

Also, yogurt isn’t as healthy as you think. Nobody has ever been like — “I went from couch to London Marathon, and I did it all thanks to yoghurt.”

Yeah, that’s right. British people spell yogurt with an H, which is another reason why yoghurt sucks.

And did you know yogurt is full of sugar? I’m not saying sugar is the enemy, but I am saying that I’d rather eat a Kit Kat bar or Gummy Bears because some varieties of yogurt have as much sugar as a candy bar.

Wait, please don’t tell me about sugar-free yogurt. And check yourself before you go down the road of being a plain yogurt advocate. Is it low in sugar and full of protein? Goddammit, it’s not full of taste. This is America, I shouldn’t have to choose.

And speaking of America, this is a land of abundance. If you study history, you know that we’ve always been great without the help of Individual Number One and his MAGA cohort. When I was a kid, we watched the news and saw how Russian families stood in breadlines and suffered the impact of KGB oppression.

In the Soviet Union, they eat yogurt. In America, we eat freedom.

However, now that it’s okay for both Russians and corporations to steal elections, the Putin-Greek Yogurt conglomerate will be everywhere.

Get ready to be hungry.

So, in summary, there is no place for yogurt. It’s a bullshit food and should be banned from the supermarket.

Want to fight me on this? Feel passionate about your breakfast blueberry Chobani? Email me at hello@letsfixwork.com, and I’ll feature your pro-yog(h)ut position statements in future blog posts.

But you’ll still be wrong.

Share

Today is Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday and Pączki Tuesday. It’s all fun and games until Ash Wednesday when everything goes downhill for Baby Jesus.

(Someone should warn him!)

Lent is such a downer a time of reflection, and many Christians give up smoking, drinking, chocolate, swearing, being on the internet, etc., to honor the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Then, on Easter, they go back to normal as if those 40 days never happened.

Let’s do this whole thing differently in 2019.

I think giving stuff up is narcissistic. Instead of embracing austerity and being miserable for six weeks, I think it’s time to improve the quality of your life and take up something new.

What can you take up for Lent?

• Can you embrace a new hobby?
• Get to know somebody new?
• Be curious about your neighbors, colleagues or associates?
• Become a little healthier by adding instead of subtracting things to your diet?

Don’t do less of something bad and mope around about it. Do more of something good and make small but incremental improvements to your life.

Wonder how to do Lent differently? Time to get quiet and reflect on your needs. What makes you happy? Who brings you joy? How do you know when life is good?

Stop punishing yourself for being human. Give your time, attention and energy to the activities that positively move the needle.

I’m not Christian, but I think that’s what Jesus wants for me during Lent 2019. What does He want for you?

Share

Recently on the Let’s Fix Work podcast, I had the pleasure of chatting with radio personality, Ryan Arnold. He’s a longtime friend and DJ at WXRT, Chicago’s Finest Rock. He’s also the founder of Desoto and State Communications. We talked about what it’s like to have a dream job and how health insurance makes dreams possible. We also covered side hustles, entrepreneurship, and the art and act of service. What I found most fascinating and endearing about Ryan was his passion for communicating on behalf of the little guy. Through his communications company, Desoto and State Communications, Ryan helps nonprofits with their marketing and communication.

Ryan said, “There are so many not for profit organizations in the world, in Chicago especially, that serve a micro community. And those organizations, they’re doing good work. But, they’re not going to get recognized by media. They’re not going to have an article written about the Executive Director. For example, a nonprofit bringing mobile health facilities to underprivileged neighborhoods. They deserve attention.”

And Ryan is a born communicator, it’s in his DNA (as you’ll hear me say time and again in our interview together). So I was not too shocked to learn this about him.

Ryan used his knowledge of media, his knowledge and experience in advertising and marketing to serve nonprofit organizations. What started as something as simple as helping someone write a press release turned into a company. His business is thriving and he is doing important work.

So why am I sharing this with you today? Because with every conversation we hear and have, (in this podcast or in the workplace) there is something to be learned. In this case, it’s understanding that your abilities can be used to affect the world around you, in a good way. In Ryan’s case, he “helps the little guys get their fair share of the pie.”

What are you doing to make the world around you, your organization, your workplace, and also your community, better? If you’re not of service as an entrepreneur, what are you doing?

If you want to hear more of my conversation with Ryan and all about how dream jobs happen with health insurance from a smooth-talking radio personality and PR professional, then listen to this episode of Let’s Fix Work, here.

Share

Disclosure: This post is sponsored National Car Rental, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

When’s the best time to visit New Zealand? Whenever someone pays for you to come!

Back in November 2017, someone invited me to speak at a recruiting conference. As part of my compensation package, the organizers paid my airfare and travel expenses to Auckland. You can’t fly around the world without seeing a few sights, so I extended my visit for two weeks and explored the North and South Islands of New Zealand.

It’s common for business travelers to add leisure activities to business trips. It’s called “bleisure,” and according to the second annual National Car Rental State of Business Travel Survey, 90 percent of millennials have engaged in bleisure travel in the past year compared with 81 percent of Generation Xers and 80 percent of baby boomers.

Do You Bleisure?

Bleisure travel is common among millennials; however, it’s hot with business travelers of all ages. Those of us who blend business with leisure report having a higher satisfaction with our quality of life (93 percent vs. 75 percent of non-bleisure travelers) and better work/life balance (87 percent vs. 64 percent of non-bleisure travelers).

I bleisured the heck out of my trip to New Zealand!

I began in Auckland by renting a car and learning how to drive on the left-hand side of the road. I drove to Rotorua and walked through a volcanic park and soaked in hot springs that smelled like sulfur pools.

From there, I headed south to Lake Taupo, which is a gorgeous body of water with an adorable lakeside village nearby. After I watched the sunrise, I drove to a town called Napier. Decimated by an earthquake, they rebuilt it during the Art Deco era with lots of gold and ornate gilding. The whole town looks like The Great Gatsby meets Al Capone.

Millennials Bleisure More Than the Rest

Millennials lead the way in bleisure. Almost half (49 percent) of millennials say they’ve extended business travel into a leisure trip or scheduled a vacation around business travel to save on vacation costs.

I was born in 1975, which makes me a late Gen Xer, but I love the bleisure trend and try to bring my audience along on my work-related trips. While millennials are more likely to share photos of their bleisure travel experiences on social media (72 percent) compared to Gen Xers (60 percent) and baby boomers (41 percent), I’m an outlier and shared about 500 photos from that trip to New Zealand. In fact, this blog post proves I’m still bragging about my trip.

From that little Art Deco town, I caught a flight to Christchurch and kicked around the main city center for a day. An earthquake destroyed Christchurch in 2011, but there are signs of life all over that city. Because it was springtime, the roses were in bloom and the town was booming with birds and bees and tourists.

Tell Everybody About Bleisure

I left Christchurch and drove to Mt. Cook, which is the highest mountain in New Zealand. I stopped at beautiful towns like Fairlie—an Irish-looking settlement with lots of sheep and goats—and Lake Tekapo Village, which is a picturesque lakeside hamlet on the shores of stunning turquoise-colored Lake Tekapo. The sun was shining, the lupins were blooming, and the Southern Alps rose in the distance. It was a breathtaking drive.

I stayed at The Hermitage at Mt. Cook and had a baller room with a fabulous view. Not to rest on my laurels, I went on an excursion to see the Tasman Glacier. It was a bucket-list item attained. 

I was shocked to learn millennial bleisure travelers (45 percent) feel they should avoid telling others about taking time for fun or personal activities while on a business trip compared to Gen Xers (40 percent) and baby boomers (30 percent). Millennials avoid telling their bosses (46 percent) and their families (41 percent).

Life’s too short not to at least have a little fun on your business trips. After all, you can emulate healthy adult behaviors and show people the real meaning of work-life balance.

Take a Trip, Embrace Bleisure

“Sightseeing” is the single most popular leisure activity among bleisure travelers (75 percent), and that rings true for me. I left Mt. Cook and drove to Queenstown on a route that’s famous for old mining towns, rivers, and bungee jumping localities. 

From Queenstown, I went on an excursion to the Doubtful Sound. It’s in the center of New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park, and the long ride was worth the trip. It was a stunning day, not a cloud in the sky, and we saw six whales and a bunch of penguins. If you don’t think I didn’t blast that video on Instagram, you must be new around here.

Life for a road warrior can be challenging. The best way to make your work trips more exciting and entertaining? Get a little bleisure in your life and take pictures of your fun activities.

Ultimately, work-life balance comes down to choices. You might as well have a little fun if you have to travel, so channel your inner millennial and bleisure your way through your next work trip Make sure you tag me on the photos so I can see what you’re up to, too! 

You can find out more about the National Car Rental Stats of Business Travel Survey here.

Visit the website to register for the National Car Rental Emerald Club to save on your next business trip.

Share

From a reader:

Have a quick question for you…how in the heck did you learn to market the way you do? I’ve been studying your Twitter feed and it’s like you take people on a journey of your life both professional/personal. You make people feel like they know you. How do you do this?

That’s not a quick question, but here was my quick answer:

I’m talented. 😘

The reader is asking two questions about himself:

1. Can I learn to do what Laurie is doing?
2. How do I create a sense of authenticity and intimacy like Laurie?

The first question is very easy. Sure, you can do what I do. I’m storytelling via digital media, and I learned how to do this from watching other people and copying their methods. The tools are out there. The roadmaps are built. You can even outsource your social media and still get away with storytelling.

But the second question — the one about authenticity and intimacy — is much harder to answer. I’ve had to negotiate my way through relationships and endeavors to land at the place where I am now: interesting enough that key people pay attention but not interesting enough where I’m stalked and harassed online.

The only people who pay attention to me are the individuals who go out of their way to look, which means that I’m relatively safe. My fan base is 52% male, mostly over the age of 35, and they earn more than $100,000/year. I can share details and perspectives without being assailed.

I love the fact that it’s easy to live my middle-aged life in public and without much hassle. There are some people who don’t care for me — and it’s for respectable reasons — but nobody wants to destroy or defame me. They just ignore me, dismiss me, block me, or disregard me when my name comes up in their social media feeds.

Isn’t that just great? How blessed am I to live this life of HR fame and fortune?

I’m fully aware that my HR famousness gets renegotiated when I publish my next book and start making media appearances, again. More people will watch, I’ll have new competition, and I’ll have to figure out a new strategy to share important information about my journey while maintaining some level of privacy and safety.

I’m not sure how it will go, but I know this: my relationship with my readers — executives, HR leaders, supervisors, and individual workers — matters to me. Call it influencer marketing or call it storytelling. The only way to take people on a professional and personal journey is to open the damn door and invite them in.

That’s not marketing, that’s manners.

Share

I’m just back from 24 hours in Las Vegas where I spent time remembering my friend IJ Gorman.

Ira-John Gorman was an athlete, a coach, and a teacher. He persisted through a rocky childhood and made a place for himself in this world by being an advocate for children, their education, and his faith. Family was everything to him, and his definition of “family” included people who endured less-than-stellar upbringings.

And his definition of a family included me thanks to his lovely wife, China Gorman.

China and I have been friends for a decade. On a trip to Las Vegas in 2010 or 2011, my husband and I joined the Gorman family for dinner at Ceasars Palace. Ken sat to my right, IJ sat to my left, and because I have atrocious table manners, I kept trying to drink IJ’s water.

I grabbed his water a dozen times before IJ laughed and told me, “Look at your hands and make the ‘okay’ sign. See how your left makes a b, and your right makes a d? Bread and drink. Bread and drink. Bread and drink.”

Ken and I still use that to this day!

It’s so funny that IJ Gorman taught me table manners, but he was committed to being a positive influence in my life. When I saw him at HR events, he always asked me if I was doing okay. Were people treating me with respect? Anybody hassling me? Because I should come to him if there was anything I ever needed. Did I hear him? Was he clear? Come to him with anything. He was here for me.

When I had the privilege of seeing IJ in person, our conversations always went to respect and integrity. He believed in the adage that how you do anything is how you do everything. Having a personal brand online and a different set of behaviors in real life was appalling. There should be no daylight between what’s in your heart and how you act in person. Show up for people no matter the medium. Relationships matter.

I went to Cuba with China in 2015, and IJ sent a message on Facebook asking for photos of his lovely bride in Havana. She would never think to post selfies. He wanted to see his wife enjoying herself.

I ask you — How many husbands would do that?

And IJ reached out with support and kind words about my blog posts, speaking events and videos. He’d send cat videos to say hello. And he never missed my birthday.

IJ was such a phenomenal human being, and his memorial service was everything you’d expect for a guy who was so beloved by friends, family, and colleagues. Everybody in the room laughed and cried, and, not that it needed to be confirmed, but it was clear IJ was a powerhouse of a human being who made the world a better place.

We all just got better for knowing him.

#IJGB

Share

Just yesterday, the Coast Guard published a newsletter for its furloughed workers and family members with advice and tips on how to earn fast cash during the government shutdown.

Among the many gems? Have a garage sale or be a mystery shopper.

America has hit a shabby low under Donald Trump. The shutdown isn’t impacting the elite bureaucrats and coastal technocrats who overlegislate our country into a hyperfeminized nanny-state.

The government shutdown touches regular people — parents, neighbors, and even HR professionals.

Hey, Laurie, I’m currently furloughed from work…and looking to make some extra cash. Do you think you can give me some pointers on how to get some speaking/training gigs? I’m looking to expand my portfolio of work. Appreciate any insights you can share!

First of all, I’m sorry you’re caught up in Donald Trump’s hissy fit. Because he’s too stupid to remember the nuances of immigration policy, and because he’s trying to distract us from the constant stream of bad news coming from Mueller investigation — you’re out of work. Thanks, Vladimir Putin.

Second, I’m sorry your job is linked to racist attitudes against brown people, women and children. You work in HR, a department believes in ability and merit, and your livelihood is jeopardized by people who believe in fencing in brown people like zoo animals. That’s gotta sting.

So, how do you earn fast cash during the government shutdown?

Get yourself to a temp agency like Kelly Services. Literally, pick one out and meet with the branch manager. Tell your story to the people in the office, and let them know you’re available immediately for training opportunities — or anything where you can use your brain.

Relationships are the currency of the private sector. Be a name and a face. Be helpful and enthusiastic. They’ll help you out because staffing agencies have been saving lives and monthly household budgets like yours in America for 60 years.

Find a staffing agency ASAP. And I’m going to send another note to my senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, with a link to your story. Good luck, and I’m sorry we aren’t doing better by our government workers.

Share

Everybody’s got a life coach these days.

Not only that, many entrepreneurs and professionals are taking part in mastermind groups. Mastermind groups are very trendy right now. You join a group where you pay a monthly fee, you get on a call or video chat with a bunch of people, and the group holds one another accountable. The head of the mastermind group, typically a life coach, does little coaching. Masterminds are generally peer-to-peer support groups, and it’s really brilliant. If you’re the coach of the mastermind group, you don’t need to put in a whole lot of work.

Mastermind groups can be good for accountability. If you get out of the group what you put in, great. But, do you really need a life coach? My feelings about this topic came to a head while listening to a marketing podcast, when the host said these words, “Everybody needs a life coach.”

I thought, “Whoa, wait. What’s that all about?”

Here’s the thing: I’m not sure everybody really needs a life coach. Everybody needs access to good food and decent healthcare. Further, everybody deserves support, kindness and empathy.

But a life coach?

Sure, athletes have coaches. But for professionals and entrepreneurs, sometimes I think we say life coach when we really mean friends.

Or we say we need a life coach when we really mean therapy.  Everybody can probably use therapy because we don’t go through life unscathed.

No life coach is going to tell you to get quiet and to think about all the hurt and the pain and to go deep and understand why it happened. And you know most therapists can’t get you there because it’s terribly difficult work. It’s the work of a lifetime.

It is impossible for some people to get in touch with fears and patterns and then to connect those fears and patterns to hopes and dreams. But the work is important and the work is valuable.

A life coach won’t help you break free from self-limiting doubts. Maybe they will superficially, but they’re not going to help you break free from doubts, fears and patterns that accumulate over a lifetime.  

The work that most life coaches want to tell you that they can do but can’t do?. That work is solitary. It’s is quiet. It’s crucial. And the work has to be done alone. It’s done by you.

The work of living an authentic life where we are happy with ourselves and treat our bodies and souls with kindness? That doesn’t happen in a mastermind group or with a life coach. It barely happens in therapy. It happens in our hearts.

So the next time somebody tells you that everybody needs a life coach, tell them that the only life coach you need is you.

I can’t say this enough: Be your own life coach and fix what’s broken within yourself in those quiet moments that you would never admit to anybody in a mastermind group or on a Skype phone call. Be your own life coach and do the hard work of fixing yourself in 2019.

1 2 3 26  Scroll to top