The Back To Work Manifesto


Back to Work Manifesto

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So here I am, back in the office after a glorious four weeks at home with my family. It was time much needed: spent just being me, with no work (minor lie), no deadlines (also a minor lie) and putting my energy into things that really make a difference (total truth). I could have done another four weeks, easily. My tank is again full.

So as I strap myself in for the sprint to the end of this year, I take the opportunity to reassess, reinforce what’s working, and change what’s not. For better or worse, here is my Back to Work Manifesto:

1. More phone calls, less email. Email allows us to avoid real connection, and prevents us from building better relationships. Talking with someone forces the human, and that’s good.

2. Put social media in its place. I did not miss constantly updating my status, which means no one else did, either. Use social media for what it was made for: sharing meaningful content with your core group of friends and family. Fewer, better posts. Less crap. No negativity.

3. Lose 10 pounds. Unless you are a pro athlete or a supermodel, everyone could stand to lose 10 pounds. And for me, that’s a starting point, not the final goal.

4. Take breaks. When working on a project, turn off all distractions (see “There’s No Such Thing As MultiTasking“), work for one hour or as long as it takes to complete that project, and take a break. Stand up, walk around, drink a glass of water, sit down to work again, repeat.

5. Truly network. Make one new contact a week, and truly engage with them. Touch base with one old contact each week, and find out what they’ve been up to. Jettison those who have nothing to offer. It’ll be good for both of you. Yeah, I said it.

6. Learn one new thing a week. Doesn’t matter what it is, so long as it’s vaguely useful. I like TedTalks.

7. Spend less, save more. Not just money. Think about what that means for you and make it work.

8. Make your daily lists, and stick to them. Small, achievable projects that move you to a larger goal. Judge yourself by how many things you check off everyday.

9. Rock out. Define for yourself. (My version sounds something like this.)

10. Go home at a normal hour to spend time with your family. No one gets (or should get) “he stayed late at the office” chiseled on his tombstone.

What’s your Back to Work Manifesto?

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Moving Your Goalposts


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Here in Washington DC (where I am, for the moment), the phrase “moving the goalposts” is often used to demonize the other side of the political aisle when the other doesn’t get its way. It’s childish and silly. And mostly just wastes our taxpayer dollars. (see: George Carlin)

But there’s value in the concept, when stood on its head:

What if we moved our own goalposts?

What if we placed more value on what we have, versus what we don’t?

What if we set aside work on the weekends as a rule, rather than as a luxury?

What if we put our hearts, souls and sweat into the things that sustain and remain with us, rather than into things that are fleeting?

Everyone else moves their goalposts. Why shouldn’t you?

Inside Charlie Sheen’s Head.. And Ours


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Charlie Sheen sounds possessed. The near constant stream of ridiculousness coming out of his mouth and the unfortunate media saturation that is helping to fuel the fire would be comical if it were not so sad.

But if the evidence of his disease (including the truck load of stories about hookers, trashed hotel rooms and now a porn star as his “live in goddess”) did not exist, we might only be seeing a guy who is intensely determined and completely dedicated to achieveing his own version of success.

I’m not making excuses for Charlie Sheen, nor am I defending his absurd behavior. I do think the guy way off the rails and needs help.

But for the purposes of today’s post, I’m going to go out on a limb and take the opportunity Charlie is handing us to ponder our own dedication and intensity to do great things for ourselves, our families and our clients.

Ask yourself:

How dedicated am I to my own success, and that of my clients? Am I proudly attaching my name to the work I do at the end of every day or am I just phoning it in?

Do I have a plan in place to get from where I am now to where I want to be in a month? Six months? A year? (I rarely plan beyond a year, because I don’t think you can accurately predict what external factors will force you to change course again and again.)

Is that plan achievable and measurable? Does it have a direction, and steps small enough that you can check something off every day, or at least once a week?

Who are my allies in my journey, and how can I enlist their help? What can I offer them to inspire their work, loyalty and wisdom?

What obstacles stand in my way and how can I eliminate them? (See: who are my allies, above)

– If derailed, how would I reconfigure my strategy to reach my goals?

The Joe Jackson song, “You Can’t Get What You Want, Til You Know What You Want” is apropos here as well.

Plans for achieving goals are essential for great client relationships. And we need to take stock of the results on a regular basis to demonstrate true progress. The same holds true for ourselves and our personal plans. Because “You can’t hit a target if you don’t have a target to hit.”