Did you read my new book and feel betrayed?
“Betting On You: How to Put Yourself First and (Finally) Take Control of Your Carer” tells stories from my career that are meant to inspire others to prioritize their wellbeing, focus on continuous learning, take risks, and become self-leaders who are fully accountable for their decisions. My goal is to be radically honest about what it takes to live with purpose and integrity. Strangers have told me that the book is life-changing, helpful, and funny.
But some first-degree friends have been like, “Why didn’t I know more about you?”
So, I wanted to address those questions here.
“Did you really have weight loss surgery in Mexico?”
Yes, a very long time ago. I wrote about it in the first chapter of my book because it anchors the narrative with a genuine truth: work can be difficult, but you are responsible and accountable for your actions.
There’s another message in the book: If your job sucks, your life sucks. The wrong response would be to hop on the internet and look for a new role. Instead, keep your job — even if it’s just in the short-term. Fix work by fixing yourself first.
But the sad truth is that you may never fix your workplace at all. Work is never an entirely stress-free environment where you consistently operate at the intersection of purpose and meaning. Sometimes a job is a slog. That’s why the book also teaches concepts like professional detachment, continuous learning, and embracing your destiny as a grown-up slacker.
“Wait, back to Tijuana. I’ve known you forever, and this was a surprise.”
Do you truly know me?
Most relationships formed after 2008 are centered around the internet. When we spend time together in real life, I want to talk about what matters most to both of us. The last thing I want to talk about is buying a size twelve petite pantsuit at Talbots because my work clothes were getting too tight around my belly.
While it’s a sensational story, my weight loss surgery is the least interesting thing about my life. It never dawned on me to talk about it with you because I don’t think about it very often. But if you’re curious, I also had tubes in my ears in 1979. Let’s discuss this when I see you after the pandemic.
“Okay, so you didn’t think the story was all that important. So, why tell it now? And why tell it in a book?”
I’ve wanted to write a traditionally published book since leaving Pfizer. Whenever I tried to write a business book, I put myself (and potential publishers) to sleep. Nobody wanted to read a book about rethinking work through the lens of a human resources professional. A different approach was needed.
Betting On You explores how you change your mindset when you’re caught in a broken system. How do you fix your life and live with purpose if you feel like shit about the state of things and find that taking a chance is too risky?
You take action. Practice in the small moments to nail it when it counts.
It’s my lived truth, and it’s what I teach in my coaching and consulting business.
“You had to bribe your way to get weight loss surgery. How is that a small, healthy action?”
It’s not like my story is meant to inspire others to seek out a bariatric surgeon. The truth for me was that I needed a radical intervention to restart my life, and I had the means to access it. And I’ll never apologize for spending my hard-earned money to improve my life. But maybe find your version of Tijuana before you have a nervous breakdown in an airport.
“Your book advocates diet culture.”
Whoa, okay. Here’s a standard definition of diet culture:
Diet Culture creates a belief that it’s okay to risk a fat person’s life to make them a thin person. Diet Culture wants fat people to be thin or dead and doesn’t seem to care either way.
I think you read a different book. I’m an advocate of well-being.
“You write that life got better when you lost weight.”
No, I write that life got better when I put myself first and stopped eating terrible corporate food to cope with my lousy corporate job. The common denominator? Corporations! (No, wait, it was me.)
The book argues that a happy life is built on an infrastructure of wellbeing, which has three parts: physical, emotional, and financial. They are all related. Make it your top priority to care for your wellbeing as much as office gossip, work deadlines, and corporate intrigue. If you don’t know what matters most in your life, use the exercises in my book to define your core goals and live with purpose within six months.
“Your chapter about Mexico doesn’t paint a flattering portrait. Was it difficult to write?”
Let’s be clear: My trip to Tijuana is a section in a more extensive chapter. But you’re correct in that it was challenging to write. Luckily, I have colleagues who offered their time as sensitivity readers. They reviewed my manuscript to spot cultural inaccuracies, representation issues, biases, stereotypes, and problematic language.
If you’re a leader in human resources, you can learn from this aspect of my experience with writing the book. The most important thing you can do is to employ a sensitivity reader as a part of your employee communications strategy.
“I’ve got a story to tell, Laurie. How do I write a book?”
Have you been on a transformative journey towards living with purpose? Do you feel like there’s a message in your story with sharing? Write your damn book. Here are some thoughts on how to do it.
And if you haven’t read my book and want to read a free chapter full of ideas about how you can make work more enjoyable, I’ve got a special download for you. The main idea? Learn something new. The most engaged employees are focused on their personal and professional development. If you’re ready to become more engaged with your work, it’s time to dive into something new.
Enjoy this chapter on continuous learning, professional development and finding a mentor. When you’re done, let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you.