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Are You Addicted to Performance Culture?

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

So... last week I introduced the topic of performance culture. And boy, oh boy, do folks in leadership love to talk about this subject. CEOs and mid-level managers alike can’t pass up the opportunity to share their success formula that usually includes stretch goals, high performers and golden outcomes.

Sure I get it, but this obsession with performance feeds the narrative that to land a Series A round, be considered for the SVP role or have a storybook ‘meet-cute’ you must be perfect in just about every way. Hell, am I allowed to post an IG photo without lipgloss? Even Hollywood has picked up on this, in shows like WeCrashed and Super Pumped.

So, the question is: are we becoming addicted to performance culture?

Now listen, I’m a high-performer so the idea of turning away from performance culture can feel a little scary. After all, aren’t the two things connected? ...

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What If We Resisted?

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

Frankly, we're long overdue. Let me explain. 

So... last week I ran into Ryan Ray, President and CEO of Jobs for Life, a very purposeful organization I deeply respect. As we were doing the whole “How-are-you? Happy New Year” thing, he dropped this insight that made me lean in a bit.

He said: “Most people are living their lives as if they’re always preparing for a big test.”

That made me cringe a little... literally. I have terrible test anxiety, so if every day felt like I was prepping for a big test, I would just dig a hole, crawl in and call it a day. But the crux of his statement rings true, doesn’t it?

We live like we’re going to be graded on our performance (and some of us are—here’s looking at you, Meta, and your off-the-charts employee performance reviews). It's as if we’re living on the cover of a magazine or someone is going through our homes with a white glove to inspect our...

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Burned Out People Want WHAT?! Surprising Finding from Our Burnout Recovery Beta

So… some of you know that we ran a burnout recovery beta program over the holidays. The program, called Reinvention Rest Stop: Living Beyond Burnout, turned out to be a wealth of insight including one in particular that struck me as so surprising that I decided to share it here today.

Drum roll, please… 

Apparently, using the escape hatch to run to isolation is not central to burnout recovery.

In other words, the majority of our Living Beyond Burnout participants were actually seeking out community. They wanted to spend time with other people who were also feeling exhausted so they could compare notes, share recovery ideas and cheer each another on.

Here’s why it surprised me. Ask any burned out person the following questions and you’ll hear pretty much the same thing…

How do you feel about your work schedule? (Too much! Cancel all my meetings, please and thank you.)

How do you feel about your social schedule? (Too...

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Five Words that Change Everything

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

On New Year’s Day morning, I watched a clip from Jimmy Kimmel’s interview with Michelle Obama. She said five words that instantly reframed my approach to 2023 (and basically my life here forward).

She said, “Fear makes our world small.”

Now in that moment, I felt two very different things. Initially, my stomach flipped and I took a quick breath because it felt like she was calling me out. It was like she knew I was holding back in some places and took the opportunity to expose me on late night TV. But within a few seconds I regained my center and got a familiar charge of motivation. I immediately sent myself a text with those five words as a reminder that sinking into my fears simply keeps my world small and familiar. I also made a promise to myself to dig deep this year and find courage in the big and small moments ahead.

That said, what is the promise you will make to yourself this year… and when’s the...

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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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