Attack the Day with Enthusiasm!

Three years ago, after spending my holiday break from work thinking about how to improve the morale of my team, I pushed myself a little outside of my usual mode of operation with a weekly motivational e-mail. I wrote about it as one of my 5 Easy Team Building Activities You Can Implement Today!

Last week while we were discussing moving forward in the new year I asked my staff if they felt the Monday e-mails were worth my time, specifically if it would make a difference if I DIDN’T continue to send them. With smirks on their faces, they told me how much they depend on them to start their week off right – they miss the e-mail when I miss a week, and look forward to seeing it pop in their inbox.

I had been thinking previously about publishing Monday Motivational posts here on The Corner Office, and the kind words and encouragement from my team were just the right amount of inspiration I needed. So, starting today, I will be writing two Motivational Monday pieces – one for them and one for you! As I tell my team, sharing your “attitude of gratitude” items for the week is never required, but always encouraged!

I hope you attack the day and week with enthusiasm! Happy Monday!

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Lists & Links

lists-linksA week back into the real world left me with tons of things I wanted to share with you! There were so many times I wanted to drop everything and start typing out a blog post, or posting on Instagram! I didn’t, because, well, I need my job. But I’ve kept a list – JUST FOR YOU! Here’s this week’s Lists & Links!

One of the standard things on my Christmas list (yes, my mom still makes me write out a Christmas list!) is Target gift cards. It’s a store that I frequent and can easily spend hundreds of dollars in so having that little cushion to go and spend specifically for myself helps fill that need to SHOP. This year I walked away with a Kleen Kanteen and Blue Sky Daily Planner. So far I am loving them both!

Going back to work this week was a bittersweet thing. I was excited to come back with a fresh perspective and set some goals, but I also was missing my productive (and cozy) life as a blogger from the holiday break. At our weekly Jumpstart meeting, I walked them through a goal setting process. At the end I asked them to make the last goal about them as a team and they decided to focus on collaboration, communication, and support of each other. I was so pleasantly surprised! I am proud of them for all being open, honest, transparent, and supportive people – they are going to do so well together this year!

I’m not sure about you, but I am officially a Pinterest addict! A friend introduced it to me years ago and I have been using it daily ever sense. Over break, I finally finalized my Pinterest account for The Corner Office! It was so much fun to put together some boards specifically for this community and has been an unexpected source of inspiration as I’ve been thinking of moving forward with TCO.

With Justin’s transplant just a couple of weeks away I am working on simplifying my work life – delegating things I can, and streamlining our workflow so that I will be able to successfully work remotely almost daily. Weekly team meeting agendas – out the window! When I asked my team if they felt their weekly motivational e-mail was something they wanted to see continue, they all said very positive things, even that it sets the tone for their week! So I kept it on my to-do list and sent one later that afternoon. It was very nice to hear that something I came up with years ago, and have been spending hours on every week is worth my time and effort. Maybe I’ll even start writing them for you ::hint, hint::

I have this amazingly eccentric and mature part time staff member that works in my program. She is young, accomplished, hilarious, and just an amazing person to be around. For Christmas I bought her the journal Start Where You Are – I just had the opportunity to give it to her this week and she was so excited to spend some time thinking about her life and setting her self up for a good final year in her undergraduate program.

What are some of your favorite things from this week? Share your lists & links!

Coming Soon: A New TCO

the-corner-office-10November will be a month of rebranding and restructuring for The Corner Office. I’ve already been working diligently to ensure that I am moving forward strategically and with a mission in mind.

After much soul searching, research, and overthinking, I am transitioning this virtual space into an environment of motivation, creativity, support, and connection. I aim to create a space to encourage everyone to be the best version of themselves by connecting them to people, ideas, and resources. Connect. Inspire. Share. Learn.

I believe that in a world so focused on social media and the constant grind that we don’t take enough time for ourselves, physically, mentally, or spiritually. I want to motivate people to take care of themselves and live a life of positivity, kindness, and fulfillment.

If that is something you’re interested in, I encourage you to stick with me through the next few months as I move forward with my plans. It’s going to be a tremendous amount of work, but I’m excited to see where the road will take me. You’ll slowly start to notice some changes as I start checking things off my to-do list, first up was redefining my branding. You’ll see a new logo and mission on the blog website (emilycorneroffice.com), Facebook Page (Facebook.com/emilycorneroffice), and Twitter account (@TCOBlog). I am hoping to launch a fully branded blog website in December!

One of the new aspects of the blog will be sharing ideas and connecting people to each other. The initial primary approach to doing this will be regular guest blog posts and interviews with people that have an idea or message to share. As I am planning ahead, please feel free to email me if you’re interested in guest blogging or being interviewed.

emilycornerofficegmail-com

I am incredibly excited about the things to come for The Corner Office and look forward to continuing to connect with each and every one of you. This has become such an important part of my life, it’s about time TCO gets the love it deserves.

As always, thank you for your continued support, readership, and sharing!

Sound Bites, Instant Insults, and Double Agents

I have felt weighed down recently. Not necessarily by anything in particular, but by the world in general. Over the last few weeks I have found that it is more difficult to move beyond the negativity that seems to be causing the plague. Instead of shaking it off and moving forward, I find myself stuck in the quicksand. I’m baffled by it really.

It’s no secret that my little family is going through an unprecedented hardship. Justin has been through treatment protocols before, four to be exact, but never one as grandiose, and unpredictable as this. It’s taking a toll, on both of us, but sticking together has kept us both from surrendering to the circumstances. I always give myself a reality check when I find myself falling down the negativity rabbit hole, to identify the root cause. Wallowing in the depression that comes with this kind of medical issue is not productive, I can snap myself back to reality rather quickly. It’s that ability to snap out of it that makes me certain in the fact that the weight I’m feeling has little to do with our current norm.

I watch politics for fun, I engage in social media, I push the status quo in my professional career, the things that I do to find motivation are things that seem to be drowning in negativity.

I am looming near my capacity for the current presidential election. The absurdity of the things we spend our time talking about has reached an all time low. Instead of engaging in a dialog and sharing insight, we are listening to politicians, and I use that term loosely, point fingers at each other in an effort to illustrate who is the lesser of two evils. Pundits no longer have the ability to control their shock. Our legislative and judicial leaders are laying low until November 8th passes. In the age of social media, millennials, and instant gratification it seems an election that had the potential to engage record-breaking numbers of citizens has instead forced people to question if their voice actually matters. Unless, of course, they are able to use it from behind a computer screen and anonymous social media account.

We are constantly in touch with social media. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, people are getting their information in 140 characters or less. Feedback, opinions, and comebacks are instantaneous. Everyone’s an expert, and just like how every kid gets a participation trophy in baseball, everyone has the right to post their opinion on social media. No knowledge or understanding required. We have morphed into a society that fights by typing on keyboards or with our thumbs. We no longer have productive conversations, we yell at each other, in shouty capitals, refusing to accept that someone else may have a differing opinion. We refuse to recognize just how amazingly diverse our society can be. At some point, the constant information, communication, and ignorance becomes exhausting, and unnatural.

I consider myself a logical and strategic person. I have made a career for myself that is built on my ability to look at a situation, see the working pieces, and then articulate how we can use those pieces to build something new. I like to push the status quo, move beyond compliance and expectation, and reach for the next big idea. Sometimes that is a lonely place to operate from. Inevitably, someone will not be willing to look for the next big idea, and instead of embracing a new path, I find that I have to weave my way through the land mines that are created just to spite progress. I struggle with this daily. Not with the idea that some people cannot see the path, but that they refuse to open their eyes to look for it. Something that seems so clear and exciting to me, can be the worst-case scenario for others that don’t see the vision. That’s acceptable, unless an opposing super-secret task force is formed, aimed at blocking progress at every turn. The catch: the super-secret task force, is made up of individuals are also allies that are imperative to the success in finding the new path, I just don’t know it.

Absurd Presidential candidate sound bites, 140 character insults, and double agents. It’s surprising any of us have the energy to process our own lives, the things that actually matter.

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Gravity has been strong lately. The negativity is pulling me downward and I am trying to keep my head above water, grasping at the little things that help me move forward in positivity, rather than negativity. I strive to share these little things with you, in the hopes that they might help you too, whether you need it or not.

Today’s spark of positivity is brought to you by:

  • Nathan Reich’s album: All Night Pharmacy
  • A newly organized office, stocked with pictures that make me happy
  • A friend that made the last hour of the work day bearable
  • This TED Talk with Adam Grant 
  • The motivation to clean the kitchen, organize the living room, and sit down at the computer to write this post before going to bed.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy September

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It’s the first day of October! I have officially made it through September, a little bruised and definitely tired, but it’s over. My favorite month is here and oddly enough, it was like my motivation returned to me as soon as the realization hit me. At some point in the last hour, as I was going through our morning routine: kibble for the animals, coffee for me; I wondered how much I played into my awful September.

For a long time, September was an easy month. Possibly even exciting. It brings the transition to fall, new school supplies, a fresh start, cooler weather, and a little more structure. All things I enjoy. In my role as a trainer, September was always slower – parent programming slowed because of the start to school, and teachers are focused on their classrooms, not professional development. As the manager of the program, September means, the end of the fiscal year. There’s a budget to balance, usually money to spend, planning for next fiscal year, usual programming to manage, processes to put into place, and just an overall feeling of stress as we wind down one year and ramp up for the next.

My first September as a manager hit me like a ton of bricks. I wasn’t expecting the shift from an easy thirty days, to a crazy thirty days. Maybe it was just my inexperience, I thought, I’ll get the hang of it. My second September was miserable. We were going through a program evolution with our funder and I didn’t know which way was up, none of us did. A collective sigh of relief came on October 1st, 2015. I figured it couldn’t get any worse, September 2016 will be a breeze.

As this September approached, I lost my positive attitude and knew I had a fight coming my way – both literally and figuratively. My hesitation grew, my stress took over, and inevitably started affecting me physically. By the middle of the first week, I was knee deep in hatred for what was to be the next 25 days. From then on, every little thing that happened was magnified and contributed to September. Stub your toe? Damn, September! Feeling under the weather? It’s because it’s September. Bad hair day? COME ON, SEPTEMBER!

At what point was I the one that made September awful? Probably around September 1st. I never gave it a chance. I stayed in my unmotivated bubble and slugged along until this morning. I slept in a little later, woke up to our 48th hour of rain, and a text conversation with my traveling husband. In the middle of our conversation I realized it was October first and I screamed with a giant smile on my face. It was over. It’s officially my favorite month of the year! Maybe September wasn’t so bad after all…

Nope, it was awful.

But we’re moving on. We’re moving on to a month of cooler weather, apples, cider, fall beer, warm food, sweaters, boots, colorful leaves, open windows, pumpkins, blankets, hockey, breast cancer awareness, new tv shows, and good hair days.

It’s October and that is awesome!

Balanced Chaos

Yesterday, while having my weekly planning lunch with a colleague, we were both sharing our ridiculous work schedules for the week. We couldn’t believe how we went from zero to sixty so quickly. But we looked at each other, smiled and shared, individually, how we both thrive in chaos. We sat down, ordered our lunch and tried to make some progress amongst the Monday chaos.

In an effort to move our work forward and to promote collaboration, we have connected our work in the organization. It has been something that I have been trying to do for the last six years, and it wasn’t until we were able to spend some time together and really understand our vision for our individual work that we were able to make the puzzle pieces fit. Monday is a crazy day, I am usually spending my day running from one meeting to the next, but I look forward to my 90 minute lunch meeting with my team mate. For me, the break out of the office, working on something inspiring with someone like-minded is worth the added chaos. It keeps me focused, and most importantly, it keeps me focused on the big picture.

Yesterday, as we were running through the front door to the building past our boss who was waiting for us to start a meeting, I couldn’t help but laugh and feel grateful for so many things. Grateful for a colleague that is so supportive, and finds strength in our work together. Grateful for a boss that just laughs as we walk in the door three minutes late to her meeting. Grateful I was wearing flats, because running in heels is dangerous and quite silly.

The rest of my afternoon was less than inspiring, it was actually rather frustrating as I waslife-is-like-riding-a-bicycle-to-keep-your-balance-you-must-keep-moving-forward pushed through the square peg that office bureaucracy can create. I tried to keep the spirit of my chaotic Monday alive, focused on moving forward, and quite frankly, focused on all of the things that are on the docket this week. I suppose balance is alive and well, as I will have my morning set aside today to organize the Monday wreckage, to go through my notes, my to-do lists, my e-mails, and my deadlines. I’m looking forward to the calm that will be my morning, sitting with some coffee, the radio on, and inevitably crossing off things from my list as I approach my afternoon. I may thrive in chaos, but I depend on unscheduled time. Tipping the scales in either direction will destroy the balance.

That’s what it’s about right? Balance is key. It’s how we move through every day, by walking the line between everything. Internally, it can feel rather manic to feel the scales tip in either direction. The highs are hard to maintain and the lows are hard to break out of, but continuing with balance takes a little bit of both.

September usual drops me into a more negative space. My day-to-day work gets ridiculous in September, it’s the end of our fiscal year and finishing out a non-profit program while gearing up for a new one is exhausting. Usually, the cooler weather starts to creep in, but we have no shortage of summer weather that keeps lingering. September is a month of transition, and most of the time I’d just rather jump into the deep end so I have less time to analyze, scrutinize, and dwell on what’s coming, and what’s being left behind.

This September, I’m running full speed at a new program year, running full speed toward my big ideas, collaboration, projects, and new opportunities. Personally, I am holding on to each and everyday until we move into the next phase of Justin’s treatment process. I am split between my desire to push forward and to remain in the safety of the known. It’s a dance I am not sure I know the steps to, and so I am here, kicking my feet, flailing my arms, and bobbing my head to the music hoping to catch the beat eventually.

In the meantime, I’ll work on the balance. I’ll focus on the big picture and gratitude. And worry less about…well…everything.

A Tuesday Pep Talk

I’m a little down today. Coming off of the high of a good day on Monday, I am feeling a little defeated, like I am working too hard to be positive. It’s taking too much effort to remain in a positive place while going about my day. Today I’m going to be needy, I don’t like to need things, and hate when people put the responsibility on others to fulfill their expectations, but today I am needy. 

Today, I am going to need:

  • Good coffee, possibly with something sweet inside. 
  • Some healthy food. I am feeling like crap lately.
  • Seeing my people face-to-face. Email is not enough today. 
  • Comfy shoes. I am sick of my feet hurting. 
  • Laughs. Lots of laughs. 
  • Spurts of productivity, I want to hammer through my to-do list.
  • Continued confidence in my plan for moving forward with this program. 
  • A win. It can be small, but I need a win. 
  • My hair to not look crazy. 
  • The random aches in my back and thighs to subside. 
  • My ID badge to not strangle me. I hate that thing. 
  • Some inspiration. 
  • And just a pinch of kindness. 

I have control over most of this. Today it is up to me to push through and deliver for myself. Maybe I just need a pep talk, someone to remind me that I can get to the other side of the cloudiness. 

I may not be able to do this for myself today, but if you are in need of a Tuesday Pep Talk, allow me:

You can do this. Whatever you are facing is not permanent. You are strong, you are smart, you are talented. You will bust through walls, and through your tasks for the day. Take a few minutes to breath, to regroup and keep propelling forward. Eat something delicious, but also something healthy. Get the giggles with someone, cry if you need to, smile at someone you might not normally interact with. Set a goal, tackle a problem you’ve been procrastinating on. Today is your day and you are in control. Go do you. 

So what about you? What do you need today in order to feel successful on this Tuesday morning?