Archive for September, 2009

Cool Work+Life Happenings!

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Celebrate! October–National Work and Family Month

Tomorrow begins the month long celebration of National Work and Family Month.  As I wrote last year, National Work and Family Month is for everyone to recognize the importance of work and “family” in every form.  From the Alliance for Work-Life Progress at World@Work website:

“National Work & Family Month is a national education campaign led by AWLP, an affiliate of WorldatWork, to raise awareness among employers about the value of work-life effectiveness as a business imperative. The month of October was first designated as National Work & Family Month by a Resolution of the United States Senate in 2003. The U.S. House of Representatives reaffirmed October as National Work & Family Month in 2008.

But this year, more than ever before, employers need to know there is an inexpensive, effective way to motivate and retain top talent they’ll need to get through tough times. Employees need to know it’s good to utilize work-life programs offered at an organization because it will help them become more productive.

AWLP encourages all workplaces to pause once a year during the month of October to communicate and celebrate the progress to creating healthier and more flexible work environments. This year, employees are encouraged to strike a balance by talking to their managers about a flexible work arrangement. Use October as a time to try telework, condense a workweek, join a wellness program or organize a workplace volunteer activity.

“Work-life is good for business,” says Kathie Lingle, WLCP, executive director of AWLP. “Dedicating a month to this aspect of overall people strategy helps employers increase the attraction, retention, productivity and engagement of the talent required for organizational success. It reminds both employees and employers of the exchange relationship that connects their mutual needs, interests and satisfaction.” (Click here for tools and resources for employers and employees, as well as to share your success story).

Nominate!–Work-Life Rising Star Award
(Deadline November 1st)

In March, 2007, I was honored to be selected as part of the first class of mid-career work-life leaders to receive the AWLP Work-Life Rising Star Award.  Three years and three classes of Rising Stars later, we are now part of a growing group of dynamic, passionate individuals from around the world who are committed to working together to advance the field of work-life.  And we are helping the Alliance for Work-Life Progress look for the next group of thought-leaders to join us for the journey!  Nominations are now being accepted for the 2010 class of Work-Life Rising Stars.   The deadline in November 1, 2009.  Click here for information and the nomination form.  If you have any questions, please contact Jessica Burrus at WorldatWork,, 480-304-6764.

Check Out!–Work Life Nation Premiere Webisode “Work Life Culture Post 9/11, We’re a Work Life Nation”

Judy Martin recently launched the first webisode of her Work Life Nation WebTV Channel.  I’m one of the experts Judy interviews about work, life, and career in the post 9/11 world.  Other experts offering insights include: social media gurus, Chris Brogan and Gary Vaynerchuck; brain researcher, Dr. Andrew Newberg, and spiritual expert, Deepak Chopra.  Check it out along with future episodes on how to achieve “Success, Serenity, Significance 24/7.”  From the Work Life Nation website:

“In the first episode of  WorkLifeNation Success, Serenity & Significance 24/7 –  you’ll hear about how the internet as a catalyst is changing the way we work and do business in a challenging new economy.  We’re more connected, and our workplace is evolving, entrepreneurs abound and many work from home. Be it baby boomer, Gen X or Gen Y, many thirst for more meaningful work,  but demand more family and me time. The lines have blurred in the quest for success, serenity and significance in our worklife .

We’re redefining success in terms of values, passion and profit. You’ll hear from author and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck of  Passion is the underlying theme in his book: “Crush It.” Social Media Guru Chris Brogan who wrote “Trust Agents“ with colleague Julien Smith, talks about the core value of trust, when doing business on the internet.

But to succeed -we have to keep the flame going and that means Serenity: cultivating resilience while navigating sensory overload. Exercise, Yoga and mediation are gaining speed at work. That’s where  Andrew Newberg M.D shares from his book, “How God Changes your Brain.”

From there you’ll hear from Cali Williams Yost – CEO of WorkLIfeFit Inc. We’ve done some work together  and she’s got her finger on the pulse of worklife flex. The more flexible we are the easier it will be to make a difference -and that’s where significance comes in. Conscious work toward a greater purpose. Deepak Chopra weighs in on his thoughts.”

In these radically changing times people are clamoring for more humanity in work and in business. Question is, how can we have more meaningful work and master success, serenity and significance  in the chaotic waters of a world that changes in an instant. You’ll hear a lot more from these pioneering voices in future episodes of WorkLifeNation.”

Taken Down by a Tick

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It seems my absence from the blogosphere over the past few weeks here and on my Fast Company blog has not gone unnoticed.  I am touched.  To everyone who has inquired into my whereabouts, thank you and let me explain–I was taken down by a tick.  Or rather by the Lyme disease transmitted to me by said tick. Fotolia_7763673_XS

The good news is that I am well on the road to recovery, and even relaunched my Fast Company blog, the “New Work+Life Flex Normal” this week.  But it has been an interesting, frustrating and sometimes scary experience.  Here is what I’ve learned:

  1. Take Lyme disease very seriously. I didn’t.  When I was first diagnosed with the standard “bulls eye” rash earlier in the summer, I didn’t finish the four weeks of antibiotics because they upset my stomach, and  “I feel great!”  Bad, bad idea.  They aren’t sure if this was a recurrence of the initial Lyme that wasn’t fully treated or a reinfection, but horror stories I have heard since sharing my diagnosis are alarming (including this one about another tick borne illness in The New York Times).  Thankfully, I was undiagnosed for only about three weeks, but that was long enough.
  2. Sometimes, you just have to say you can’t do it…and you survive. For two weeks,  I dragged myself to work thinking I had a virus that would go away eventually. It  wasn’t until I landed in the hospital three weeks ago and was given an initial diagnosis of  Lyme that I finally begrudgingly admitted I needed to take time off.I work for myself.  If I don’t work, I don’t get paid.  Not to mention the fact that I love what I do and it takes a lot to knock me out of the game.  I’m lucky that my husband has a job; therefore, my family will eat and the mortgage will be paid.  Not everyone who works for themselves has that luxury (not to mention everyone else who doesn’t get paid sick days, but that’s another post for another day.)  Still, it’s tough to cancel speeches, reschedule client meetings, pass on a great blog topic and ask your amazing, busy team to take on your work too.  But sometimes you just have to say you can’t do it…and you, or rather I, survived.
  3. Thank goodness for antibiotics, Twitter and Facebook–An interesting non sequitur, but all played a role in my recovery.  I’m three weeks into another four week cycle of antibiotics and, as was the case with my earlier diagnosis, I’m feeling better.  Only this go round I’m taking every last little blue pill until all Lyme spirochetes are dead and gone.   Thank you, thank you to the smart people who discovered antibiotics.While I didn’t have the energy to blog, Twitter and Facebook let me stay somewhat connected in between naps.  I didn’t think it was possible, but I appreciate the power of social media even more than I did before.   Thank you, thank you to the smart people who thought of Twitter and Facebook.

And thanks to everyone for their understanding and good wishes.   I’m diving back into the blogsphere full speed and look forward to continuing the vibrant, important process of rethinking life, work, and business in this new work+life flex normal.  And I am forever humbled by the power of a small tick to take me down.

Relaunch Fast Company Blog–New Work+Life Flex Normal

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Last year an economic bomb detonated and laid to waste the rules and institutions that have guided our decisions related to work, life and business for generations.  Shell-shocked and disoriented, we’re starting to emerge slowly from the rubble wondering not only “What happened?” but “What’s next?   Welcome to the New Work+Life Flex Normal blog.

As the dust settles, it’s clear greater flexibility in work, life, career and business is here to stay.  Before the recession, a few fraying threads connected us to a work+life reality that was rapidly becoming obsolete for more than a decade. The downturn severed them:

  • Lifetime, stable employment with set hours, a clear career path and a consistent, always increasing pay check became a relic for workers at every level in every industry.
  • Traditional operating models that were too rigid to respond nimbly and flexibly were dismantled by the rapid change inherent in the global economy.
  • Full-time care giving and complete retirement for extended periods became non-viable for many, if not most, people because of economic necessity and demographic shifts.

Before the recession, enough parts of the old rule book worked for enough people—even until the banks started failing—that we avoided the difficult task of fundamentally rethinking the way we manage work, life and business to match reality.  No longer.  It’s officially a new work+life flex normal.

Flexibility in how, when and where work is done, life is managed and business operates is a strategic imperative.  As I wrote in May, the question is no longer “if” flexibility, but how to expand the “why” behind flexibility and determine “how” to make it work for everyone. To that end, here some of the angles and implications we will ponder and discuss: (Click here for more)