A Little Less Talk and A Lot More Action

 

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It’s 6:00am (on a Saturday, I might add) and I just finished working out. It’s this new thing I’m trying this year. Doing the thing that I committed to doing and then talking about it, instead of the other way around. I’m finding that there is power in doing, rather than discussing. It’s going to take some getting used to. You see, I’m an external processor and like to talk about all of my plans and intentions. My husband thinks that I’m constantly changing my mind, when really I’m just discussing all available options and running through each scenario before making a decision (I swear he loves me). I also like to externally process because it makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something. You planners and thinkers out there know what I’m talking about.

We all have goals, dreams, Pinterest boards, wishlists, intentions, and buckets lists. Sure, they can be helpful to set the tone for the day or year, but creating the lists and creating the goals doesn’t actually get the job done. Believe me, I’m just as guilty as the next person to slap up an inspirational quote on Instagram and feel like I’ve done something, well, inspiring. But have I really? Often the quest for the perfect quote or time spent thinking or planning on how to accomplish a particular goal are really just procrastination and distraction from doing the work.

Earlier this week everyone was posting their word of the year and I thought I should probably jump on that bandwagon. But why? Just because everyone else was doing it? Jordan Peterson in his book, 12 Rules for Life, talks about Rule #4, “Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.” It’s that whole run your own race, stay in your own lane stuff. Was I choosing a word just because other people were doing it or because it was something that was meaningful to me? Jordan’s rule isn’t only about not comparing yourself to others. He explains that comparison is natural, we just need to be focusing that comparison on ourselves. Are we fractionally better than we were yesterday? If we can make those incremental changes each day, using our self from yesterday as the baseline, then we will make some serious gains in life. I think it comes down to being true to who you are and want you want, ignoring the cool kids and the haters, and following what interests you, what challenges you, and what will make you grow.

Now, back to my word of the year. Yes, I do think there is a place for them, for some people. They can offer clarity and guidance for the year ahead, just like thinking and planning. But how much thinking, planning, and self-reflection does a girl really need? I toyed with the word relentless because I really like that word. Why? Because I’m already relentless! That word isn’t going to challenge or change me. So, I scrapped that word and spent an hour or two googling synonyms for follow-through, because, you know, it’s the ONE word of the year, not two. I didn’t find any words that spoke to me. Finish kept flashing in my mind. I need to finish what I start, what I commit to, I need to follow-through.

No word is going to help me do that. I don’t even need a reminder. I know it. When I’m being honest with myself and not making excuses, that is. I am amazing at starting things – it’s in my fiery Aries blood. But finishing? Finishing is boring. I lose interest and want to start something new. The beginning is always the most fun and interesting part. Which is why after almost nine years I still haven’t “finished” my weight loss because I simply “start” it each week and allow the excuses train (unlimited pizza included) to come rolling on by. Finishing what I start comes down to one little concept, discipline, or as my Exec, Adam likes to say, “Mastering the boredom of success.” Truly successful people take action on the boring things. That is what I am committed to doing. But I don’t want to talk about it. I want to show you.

Are you being honest with yourself? Do you know what you need to do in order to achieve everything you want and live the life you desire? I bet if you stopped and thought about it (but not for too long), you would know what needed to be done.

I’m at a place in my life and career where I don’t need to find another word or do any deep soul searching, I just need to take action. That might change a few years from now when I’m in a different season of my life. But right now? This season? It’s all about the hard work. I know what I want. It’s time to get after it.

What season of life are you in? Do you need time and space to find clarity? Do you need to figure out who you are or what you want? Or is it time to get to work?

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Reading is Sexy. Do It More. Do It Often.

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My favorite thing to do for as long as I can remember is read. I have always enjoyed getting lost in other worlds with interesting characters, learning from the stories of incredible real-life heroes, or diving into a more prescriptive book to increase my business acumen. I enjoy reading so much that I majored in English in college just so I could spend four years with books!

Now, I’m a bit old school and prefer to read a physical book, rather than use an electronic reader (I need a break from screens!). Though, I will admit, I have finally adopted, and adapted to, audio books. It took me several years to get over my self-righteous approach to reading and finally get an Audible membership. Listening to books just didn’t feel “right.” But I’ve found a happy medium. Ninety percent of the books I listen to are for business or personal development. It’s the fastest way to absorb the most amount of information that I can then translate quickly into action (pro tip: set your Audible to at least 1.5X to go even faster). Reading for pleasure, though? I will always pick up a “real” book for that.

Since my 2019 growth plan includes a focus on finance and leadership, many of my books this year will trend towards those topics. But I still have a lot of great fiction to read too! In no particular order, here’s what’s on my 2019 reading list:

  1. Leaders: Myth and Reality by Stanley McChrystal and Jeff Eggers
  2. Winston Churchill by his Personal Secretary: Recollections of the Great Man by a Woman Who Worked for Him by Elizabeth Nel
  3. Financial Intelligence: A Manager’s Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean by Karen Berman and Joe Knight
  4. Working on Yourself Doesn’t Work: 3 Simple Ideas That Will Instantaneously Transform Your Life by Ariel & Shya Kane
  5. Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More by Morten T. Hansen
  6. The Millionaire Messenger: Make a Difference and a Fortune Sharing Your Advice by Brendon Burchard
  7. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
  8. Good Leaders Ask Great Questions by John C. Maxwell
  9. The Women by T.C. Boyle
  10. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek
  11. Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters
  12. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  13. Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders by L. David Marquet
  14. The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency by Chris Whipple
  15. Harvard Business Review’s Guide to Finance Basics for Managers
  16. The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course: Finance for Non-Financial Managers
  17. The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant
  18. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  19. The Road Less Stupid: Advice from the Chairman of the Board by Keith J. Cunningham
  20. The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu
  21. The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith by Gabrielle Bernstein
  22. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
  23. The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle
  24. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  25. It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War by Lynsey Addario

Now, my goal is to read at least 52 books this year, just as I did last year. This list comes up a bit short. However, I know there are going to be several bestselling, must-reads that are released throughout the year. Case in point, my favorite book of 2018 was only published in the 30 days. In addition, my fiction choices are usually more spontaneous, so I have to leave some room for picking up a few light beach reads while I’m on vacation. Hell, three new books (not on my list) arrived on my doorstep from Amazon just since starting this post!

Whether reading on the beach, listening on the drive to work, hosting a book club, or adding another book (that I may or may not ever read) to my collection, books are my passion. Whatever the reasons you have for picking up a book, do it more and do it often.

You can follow what I read throughout the year on Goodreads and start your own 2019 Reading Challenge. Please share your reading list in the comments. I am always looking for my next favorite book.

Executive Assistants Unite!

melburne-ea-groupA few months ago, Carmel Bond, founder of the Melbourne EA Group (MEAG) reached out to me after seeing my blog. Turns out we both work for real estate companies, just on opposite sides of the world! This is what is so cool about my career – EAs/PAs/Executive Secretaries/Chiefs of Staff/Coordinators of Chaos are so willing to connect and share, are so passionate about teaching other how to be successful in this role, and most importantly, so quick to support each other in this exciting, challenging, and often crazy world we’ve chosen to live and work in.

This week I had the privilege of being the featured guest on the Melbourne EA Group blog. Check it out and while you’re there take a look at the amazing work Carmel and her team are doing to support, teach, and inspire their fellow Executive Assistants.

behind-every-leaderHere’s another example of the power of the Executive Assistant network around the world. About three years ago I attend an amazing conference in NYC – Behind Every Leader. I felt like I had finally found my people and was in total awe of the presenters – all either current or former EAs to the greats like Jeff Bezos, Eric Schmidt, Mark Zuckerberg, JFK Jr, Nate Berkus, and Magic Johnson. I remember emailing my Exec, Adam, after the first day and telling him how amazing it was and how much I loved my career as an Executive Assistant. And he told me that one day I would be on that stage. Little did I know one day would come so soon!

Fast forward to sometime last year when Victoria Rabin, CEO and Founder of Executive Assistants Organization, which hosts Behind Every Leader, saw Adam’s blog about strategic partnerships and connected with us about speaking at Behind Every Leader this year in Washington DC and NYC. Circle complete. Victoria is a consummate badass and a huge advocate for the EA/Exec strategic partnership. I am honored to be a part of anything she’s doing and I hope I can inspire just one EA like those amazing individuals did for me several years ago.

Want to learn more about Behind Every Leader? Check out my interview with Victoria and Adam as we gear up for Behind Every Leader in DC in April. 

Your turn! Share where you are from, one of your recent successes, and one of your current challenges in the comments. Together, we can all elevate our careers and master the art of leading and assisting.