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No Pie-In-The-Sky, Just a Glass Onion

Since it’s the end of the year, you might be expecting a “pie-in-the-sky, shoot-for-the-stars” column. Well, surprise! This week I want to talk about cutting your losses. Finding your mojo in a sea of disappointment. While not pie in the sky…this may be just what the doctor ordered to bravely step into 2023.

I was inspired by the Glass Onion, the new movie on Netflix that is both a well spun murder mystery (I’ve watched it twice) and a raw example of the human condition. The characters are all driven by greed, pride, envy and an insatiable need for self-promotion. We learn throughout the course of the movie that while each one is wildly successful, the risks they took to obtain that success are leaving them vulnerable and afraid to cut their losses.

  • Raise your hand if you took a personal risk this year and it flopped.

  • Show of hands if you jumped off a professional comfort cliff and landed on rocky terrain.

Some of you took risks in 2022 and got...

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Vision Board, Schmiggen' Board… Try This Instead

‘Tis the season for fresh starts and New Year’s resolutions.

It’s the time when we look back at the last 12 months and toy with visualization exercises in the hopes that they will manifest into our wildest dreams.

Visualization… manifestation… I know. These concepts can seem like a bright yellow balloon floating above our day-to-day reality. But there’s a reason why these ideas continue to persist. It’s because they work. Since this is a column and not a novel, I can’t launch into the very specific and very real ways visualization (plus effort on my part) changed my life. But ask me the next time you see me…I love talking about it.

Popularized by The Secret and celebrity testimonials from Oprah, Jim Carrey and Deepak Chopra, to name a few, the concept of visualizing what you want has been around for a while. For decades, athletes, CEO’s and global leaders have used visualization exercises to achieve successful outcomes....

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3 for '23 - My Top Three Takeaways from 2022

Well friend, it’s that point in the year where we attend holiday events and inevitably say… “Where did the year go?”

It’s true, these 12 months rolled by like Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary.” So if you’re reflecting on your key takeaways from this past year – good. I’ve been doing the same. Here are my Top 3 for ‘23.

1. Wherever you go, there you are.

This old adage holds true time and time again. A less poetic way to say it is, you can run but you can’t hide. The point is, even if you change the things around you (your job, geographic location or personal relationships), you still bring your patterns, perspective, doubts and hopes into that environment.

In April, I learned that lesson the hard way. I ran away to Florida. I spent money on self-care. I dialed back my 1:1 interactions with friends and family. All in an effort to hide from burnout. But it wasn’t until I turned toward my unease and into the...

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Put the Ruby Slippers Away

Uncategorized Dec 08, 2022

If you think about my career as a road map, you might imagine a cross country trip on Route 66. I have a plan. I have a destination. But I also have an insatiable curiosity. That curiosity has allowed me to take in the sights, read the billboards along the way and make a few unexpected stops. Life’s an adventure and I’ve enjoyed the ride.

So… why is it so hard to reinvent yourself? Why can’t we all just click our heels three times and be done with it?  Well, life. Life gets in the way.

That said, it’s possible. I know it is because I’ve reinvented myself multiple times. And I’m quite sure I’ll do it again. With that in mind, let’s talk about the roadblocks I know are out there, and how to maneuver around them instead of slamming in to them head on.

Reinvention Roadblock #1: Maybe, you don’t really want to travel this new route.

If you feel like there’s always something more important in the way, then maybe this...

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Stretch Vulnerability

It’s December, y’all! Four weeks before we close out 2022. Geesh…

For me, this is the day I start to take stock of whether time has conspired in my favor over the course of the year… or not. Luckily, I’m writing from the gorgeous Outer Banks so this reflection is accompanied by a beachfront sunrise and a hot cup of coffee.

While charmed, this trip is not a vacation. Last Sunday, a few trusted friends and I met at this little oceanfront cottage with our new ideas and current projects in tow. We hung our pride at the front door and got down to business. The goal was to brainstorm new ways of looking at each other’s work while anchoring ourselves in key milestones for the new year. Fresh eyes. Intention. A daily toast.

Today, I wanted to remind you of the secret to making a setting like this work. If you’re gonna throw business owners together to talk about their ‘pride and joy’ for days at a time, you better bring some...

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Gratitude, Vulnerability and Rivalries

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

If you’re reading this, you’re likely celebrating American Thanksgiving or thinking about Shop Local deals. If you’re me, you’re anticipating Saturday’s matchup between Ohio State and Michigan. The Game, as it’s aptly called, has tossed bragging rights back and forth across state lines since 1897.

And while healthy rivalries have the power to motivate and inspire, the real superpower lies in what unifies us. Whether in your workplace or at your Thanksgiving table, the art of finding common ground can create meaningful connections, end conflict, and inspire new ideas.

As a kid, I was lucky enough to learn from a master in this art. He built emotional bridges with people every day by finding common ground. And long before LinkedIn, he developed a huge network of trusted friends and colleagues because of that skill. This amazing human was my grandpa. Whatever gift you had, he could clearly see it and would help you...

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Guest Blog: Sometimes “I don’t Know” is the Best Answer

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire)

Today we’re doing a blog takeover featuring the amazing Jennifer Curtis, CEO and Co-founder of Firsthand Foods. Jen and I are in a monthly business mastermind group together and I was inspired by the insights she shared at our October gathering about her recent sabbatical. Today’s post is for anyone who is in pursuit of finding the time and space to recharge at a deep level and what to do with that time…when you get it. Thanks, Jennifer!

“What are you going to do?”

That’s the question everyone asked as I prepared to take my first-ever 6-week sabbatical.

“I don’t know,” was my answer.

Feeling somewhat ashamed that I had nothing planned, I wondered if I was missing out by not going on a big adventure. But something deep inside instructed me otherwise. This was a time to let go of plans, schedules and “shoulds.”

I cleared my Google calendar and erased the household “To Do”...

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Whatever You Do, Don't Do This

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

Today I want to share with you something that struck me recently: the fact that sometimes I get in the way of my own success. It's amazing how we don't see it, isn't it? We think it’s the outside world, but the truth is we sabotage ourselves more often than not. So today I thought I'd help us all get out of our own way.

Here’s what happens: You see an opportunity, and you feel that telltale flip in your stomach that tells you that you really want whatever this is… this new role, new job, new relationship. It’s so perfect for you that you ache for it to be yours! You know what I’m talking about. That desire for something new that makes you feel alive!

But… it’s gonna be a reach, and you know it. You’d have to grow. Even stepping on your tippy toes, this one’s a stretch.

So you envision the cost: potentially embarrassing failure. Because what if you get the opportunity and you blow it? Terrifying!...

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Black Girl... Amish Farm?

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

We're winding down 'Open Book October' and I want to prove that leadership lessons show up in the most unexpected places.

It's the summer of 1994. I'm working three part-time jobs— babysitter to two small boys, customer service rep at an antique store and furniture maker on an Amish farm in Grabill, Indiana. 

That last one is a surprise, right? Well, it's true! That summer I worked for the Sauder family and  made hand-crafted curio cabinets for Bath and Body Works stores across North America. We built, painted, and distressed these beauties until they looked vintage. And my job was to slap the fire retardant coating on each piece before assembly. It could have been worse. 

And, as you might imagine, being the only girl (and Black girl) on team was a bit intimidating at first. Each morning, I would drive the 50 minutes to Amish country and venture down a long gravel driveway surrounded by cornfields to a...

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Embracing Change

Uncategorized Oct 20, 2022

(First appeared in WRAL Techwire.)

Thank goodness the weather is breaking. The cooler weather naturally perks me up with the promise of comfy sweaters, cozy cups of coffee on brisk days and a timeout on the humidity. My hair is grateful. Growing up in the Midwest, the turning of the leaves meant after school cheerleading practice, Friday night football games and watching the Big Ten (when there were 10) with my grandpa on Saturday afternoons. Go Buckeyes! And now I get to watch my son Tre play in West Palm Beach, so fall is even more special to this momma’s heart.

Whatever your relationship with Fall, I think it’s the best example of how to embrace change. These next two months will offer a gentle reminder that change is both beautiful and complex. Here are a few ideas to help you embrace it.

Nurture your social connections.

  • Call your people and organize a brunch or an outing

  • Join that book club you’ve been eyeing

  • Schedule a weekly walk routine with a friend

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