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When You Need to Have "The Talk" With a Coworker...

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

The talk.

Having “the talk” can mean several things, depending on what’s happening in your life or the world around you. In this case, “the talk” I’m referring to today is the one you might need to have with your colleague. You know, the one who’s burned out and frankly hard to work with. Now, before you start rattling off your colleagues’ names in your head… don’t forget the season that someone might have had you in mind as well.

The truth is, sometimes we work with people who are grouchy, distracted, low energy and downers. They can be the “Eeyores” of the team and full of negative vibes. In some cases, it might be their general disposition… but in others, it’s a result of burnout. That said, it’s important to remember that people aren’t perfect, and while you may be flying high now, some of your colleagues might be grounded.

So the...

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Igniting Your Workplace... Who Are Your Fire Starters?

(First appeared in WRAL Tech Wire.)

Last week we introduced the concept of campfire circles at your workplace, and the idea that every team needs a fire starter—a person willing to take the time, effort and energy to build the campfire so your team will gather, connect and find warmth and restoration.

It’s easy to see how important the role of the fire starter is at a campground; without a campfire, each camper is left to fend for themselves, cold and lonely at the end of a long hard day of activity. The fire starter produces a valuable and shared resource—the campfire—around which weary campers gather to warm up, cook their dinners, and share stories. It’s the heart of the whole experience.

But what do campfires at work look like, and, more importantly, who are the fire starters on your team? Because without them, there is no campfire.


Let’s say you’re going into a meeting where you know...

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Fire Starters... Why They Are Essential to Your Team

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

Today, I want to take you on a journey. A little time travel.

Now, sit back for a minute and think about a time you really enjoyed a campfire.

Sink into that memory.

Smell the smoke. Feel the warmth. Hear the crackling fire.

For me, I immediately think about summer camp at Camp Palmer. After a hot day packed with activities, we’d all find our way back from the far corners of camp to talk, laugh, and roast marshmallows around a welcoming fire. We’d sing songs and watch our counselors perform skits while recovering from the day’s adventures. It was a time to connect and reflect as friends and it was my favorite part of the camp experience – food for my young soul.

Now… take a minute to think about the person that built the campfire you have in your mind. How did that amazing setting come to life? We know it didn’t just spontaneously combust into existence, right? Who made it happen?

The fire starter.

People who...

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Meaningful Milestonesā€”And Why They Matter

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

Last week we talked about micro-connections, those tiny-yet-potent ways we can connect with the people around us, increasing our sense of belonging and our sense of fulfillment—even on days we interact only with strangers!

Today I’m here to talk about something that takes more effort, but is worth every bit of energy expenditure. Why? Because this is one of the most powerful ways you can deepen your connection with the people around you.

What am I talking about?

The recognition of meaningful milestones.

If you were tempted to stop reading the second you saw that this was about milestones, you’re exactly the person who needs to read this. Because really, before you can leverage this powerful tool, you have to recognize the fact that milestones matter.

Here’s an example: we just had our three-year business anniversary. You might say, so what? Three years? Well, small business owners put their hearts and souls into their...

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Micro-Connections (Tiny But Oh-So Powerful!)

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

Beautiful connections. These last seven days have been chalked full of sweet and subtle connections. From hosting out-of-town friends to raising a glass with our Road Trip Alum in celebration of three years in business, it’s been both precious and FUN!  This is especially notable because I’ve been on a plane every week since the end of May. And while I love racking up those SkyMiles, I don’t want to sacrifice my need to meaningfully connect with people along the way.

And I’m here to remind you that connecting doesn’t have to be hard, and it doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Small sparks—found in everyday micro-connections—can provide an instant boost to your mood and sense of belonging.

Don’t believe me? Give these a whirl:

  • Smile – Did you know that the simple act of smiling triggers the release of dopamine, endorphins and serotonin? Even a forced smile will flood...
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It's Summer! Time to Live a Little Lighter

Uncategorized Jul 07, 2023

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

With longer days come shorter column posts… which leads me to my next question… What are you doing reading this column instead of enjoying this gorgeous summer?

As you know, I’m all about whatever makes life better, and that includes both professional and personal life enjoyment. So today I’m sharing with you a list of ideas for living a little lighter this summer. After all, finding enjoyment is one of the key ways to both recover from burnout and prevent it in the first place.

Give these a try:

  1. Finish this article (haha). Then grab an actual book with a binding (not an audiobook), and set yourself up under an umbrella by the pool or a lake and lose yourself in a good story. (Need a recommendation? Lessons in Chemistry will make you laugh out loud. You’re welcome.)
  2. Reach into your memory bank and list out your favorite childhood summer foods. Maybe you loved bomb pops, or corn on the cob, or watermelon....
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More Than Lip Service

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

Here at Reinvention Road Trip, we’re coming up on an exciting milestone: our three-year anniversary. And we’re psyched, y’all!

Today I want to share one of the core truths we’ve realized over the course of the past three years. You ready? It’s this: we need each other, friends.

What am I talking about? Community gets a lot of lip service, but I’m stepping up here to tell you that talk is cheap but real connections in a supportive community—it’s *chef’s kiss*.

And the converse is true, too. As I’ve led workshops, coached individuals and facilitated cohorts, I’ve repeatedly witnessed what happens when people isolate themselves or feel disconnected. Bottom line: they struggle.

Why? When we live life in isolation, problems grow—not in actuality, but in our minds. Challenges get bigger, badder and more intimating. They grow so huge that we lose faith in our ability to...

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Why Builders are Prone to Burnout... and How To Prevent It From Happening

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

Any of the Fab 4 can burn out when forced into a role that doesn’t suit them, but builders are especially vulnerable to this. Why? Because… of the four contributors, builders are the ones most likely to find themselves sliding into a role that doesn’t really energize them. You might think of the builder as having the greasiest wheels of the bunch; they slip-slide into the other three roles and often don’t realize it until too late.


You see, the builder is in the mix. They’re executing on the creator’s ideas… and as they do, they can’t help but to realize that maybe—just maybe—this other idea might be better… and presto! They get thrust into the spotlight as a creator. Soon other team members are looking to them for inspiration, and the trusty builder tries to step up and fill the void.

Likewise, the builder knows the details of the project because...

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The Shadow Sides of the Fab 4 (Watch out!)

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

I’m not a Pollyanna… I’d say I’m more like a bright and hopeful realist. That means I like to think about the positive aspects of working with each of the Fab 4. I like to think of creators as brilliant, builders as reliable, sustainers as diligent, and disruptors as intuitive. And they all are! But they also have shadow sides… you know the whole “too-much-of-a-good-thing” thing.  So, it’s good to know what these are—and how to mitigate the challenges that accompany them when they show up in the workplace.


Known for: Waking up at 3am with epiphanies.

The creator on your team may strike you as overflowing with energy. Their ideas may even have resulted in the products, services or methodology that serves as your company’s bread-and-butter.

The creator’s shadow side: They can be distracting.

The shadow side of the creator becomes a challenge when their bright new...

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Finding Meaning

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

As you know, burnout prevention and recovery is my thing. Over the past few months, I’ve conducted burnout recovery workshops with several clients—Cisco, Amazon, Kroger, Palo Alto, just to name a few—and I have to say, my understanding of burnout grows each time. What causes it. What cures it. What we can do to prevent it from roaring back to life.

Just recently, as I was conducting a workshop with a global-facing organization, I hit upon something that really got my attention: the power of finding meaning.

Meaning restores our soul.

Meaning lights the fire in the belly.

Meaning is what helps us catch the energizing wave (my Living Beyond Burnout folks know what I’m referring to).


Not sure where to start? If you’re saying, “Jes, you’re crazy. I work my job so I can afford to do things that bring meaning to my life. Finding meaning at work is...

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