Monday, August 25, 2008

Are you suffering from overwork?

Recently I was invited to speak at PepsiCo on the subject of working smarter not harder. Having spent much of my career in corporate America, I know many workers feel stretched just to keep up with daily activities.

With this in my mind, I was shocked and saddened to read a recent Economist article about an employee in Japan who had died from overwork. Just thirty years old, the father of two died after working successive 80 hour work weeks for the previous 6 months.

Working these hours, life starts to feel like a treadmill. You're running faster and faster each day but not getting very far. You see it happening yet continue with the routine not knowing how to stop and get off. If this sounds like you (I've been there too), here are two useful resources you might want to check out:
--Take Time For Your Life by Cheryl Richardson
--Work + Life by Cali Williams Yost

Both offer inspiration and practical tips for making time your ally. If you're thinking, "I'd love to read them but I don't have time," then check out a book summary service like Executive Book Summaries.

Above all, remember this: "The time to relax is when you don't have time for it." ~Attributed to both Jim Goodwin and Sydney J. Harris

What are your strategies for managing time? Do you feel overworked? How do take care of yourself while still taking care of your career?

Monday, August 18, 2008

More Great Career Advice from The Olympics

Here are a few more of my favorite moments from the XXIX Summer Olympic Games and the lessons we can apply to our own lives and careers....

"I said I'd try to get a medal and hopefully it'd be a gold one." According to, that's what Michael Phelps said to Stevie Hansen, a promising young swimmer diagnosed with cancer who had reached out to Phelps. Michael sent gifts and made trips to see Stevie, even attending a swim meet to cheer on the little boy. Michael said he was honored to be looked up to by someone like Stevie.

It's amazing that behind the scenes, behind all the fame - success is a team effort. Michael Phelps was motivated not only by the desire to break records and become the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time but also by a young boy's last wish.

"Don't put an age limit on your dreams" - inspiring words of advice from Dara Torres, 41 year-old mom and the oldest swimming medalist in history. I wanted to highlight Dara's story for anyone feeling it's too late or they're too old to follow their dreams.

Believe it or not, you might be getting even better with age. According to, Torres started her Olympic career at the 1984 games in Los Angeles but her most successful Olympics didn't come until 20 years later in Sydney in 2004. And when she's been retired from swimming, Dana Torres has also successfully transferred her skills into sports broadcasting and modeling.

What lessons are you taking away from these amazing athletes and their stories? Who's inspired you to go beyond your limits and achieve what's never been done before?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What if changing your mind, changed the outcome?

I am completely enthralled with the XXIX Olympic Games. I find it tremendously uplifting to watch people stretch themselves and rise to the occasion.

In particular, I've been struck by the comments of US swimmer Jason Lezak. (If you haven't been watching, Jason swam the last leg of the 4X100 Meter Freestyle Relay and miraculously brought home the gold for his team.)

Jason said that at the last turn he could see his leading opponent was a full body length ahead. His first reaction was, "I'll never catch him." But then something amazing happened - Jason changed his mind. He said to himself, "That's ridiculous. This is is the Olympics."

It was with that thought in mind that Jason swam a full second and a half faster than ever before. He not only caught the leader but surpassed him and won the gold. Later Jason would say that he was "just tired of losing."

Jason not only furthered his own dream that day but contributed to Michael Phelps amazing achievement of the most goal medals of all time.

We may not all be Olympic athletes but we can all change our minds to be more supportive of ourselves and our achievements. What if your mindset could change your situation? What if instead of losing out on your next interview or next promotion or next opportunity you instead thought only of doing what you needed to do to win?

I'd love to hear your stories. What would you like to change your mindset about? Has changing your mind changed the outcome for you?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?

A key question I ask my clients at the start of our work together is "What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?" I get varied responses - be my own boss, travel the world, run for office, make a difference. For each person, the dream is different but what's the same is underlying fear that it's not possible.

Hearing this from my clients, I thought one of the best ways I could help was to lead by example. It has always been my dream to sing on stage so recently I did one of the scariest things I've ever done - I put on a cabaret show off-Broadway in New York City!

I themed the show, "Believe in Your Dreams" and sang popular jazz standards each focused on following your passion. I had an emcee and a comedian in the show who followed their dreams and had inspiring stories to tell. I also donated proceeds from the show to an inspiring charity.

I can't tell you how great it felt to experience my dream coming true. Click here to see a clip from the show. The audience really enjoyed it too. Many left saying they were inspired to go after their dreams as a result. Even the owner of the cabaret venue told me I had what it takes to "make it big."

Now I don't just tell my clients they can do it, I show them and tell them how to make it happen:
--Do it for yourself first. I never told anyone I wanted to sing but deep down I knew it was within me. And when I found out that a friend was a singing coach, I approached her to to set up lessons. Kim Engler ( who also produced my show, helped me find my voice and have confidence in my ability to sing. She knew just what to say at just the right moment to help me reach each note. She also got me to take my dream seriously.
--Enjoy the process. I took a year and a half of singing lessons before deciding to perform on stage. I had to learn new ways to breathe and to position myself in order to fully utilize my entire body as an instrument. Taking my time allowed me to savor the experience and really see the progress I was making over time.
--Get support from people who believe in you. My clients, friends and family all attended my show - some travelling across the country and others travelling across the globe. Those who couldn't attend sent well wishes. It was wonderful to feel so much support. At the show, it was great to know the audience was rooting for my success.

Having had so much fun, I'm already planning my next show for the fall. I want to continue inspiring people to live their dreams by living my own. Eleanor Roosevelt put it well when she said, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."

I'd love to hear about your dreams. What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail? Have you done something that scares you only to realize you loved every minute of it? Share your comments and let's help each other believe in our dreams!