Posts by Emily


Endings are Important


Posted By on May 24, 2017

There’s a lot of fear that comes with endings – when it’s time for you to move on, make a change, or show up in a new way. That fear is why we stay put, maybe too long. Or why we leave too soon: “Just get it over with.” Or maybe why we “ghost” – disappearing without really having to end; it’s so scary we avoid it. But endings are important: they prompt helpful questions (“How will I keep the momentum going?” or “How will I keep in touch with these people I’ve grown to care for?”). They mark a pivot point and an opportunity to take stock: of what we’ve learned, what we believe and, perhaps most importantly, what we’re committed to We evaluate who we care about, who is better left “as is” and what we’ll carry forward. After all time is finite, and energy is not. This question of, “How will I keep the momentum going?” comes up a lot as people leave The Collective. It’s not overstating to say the group is transformative. When people leave they are different than when they arrived. It’s no wonder, then, that leaving is a hard decision to make – how do you continue to transform without the support and push the group provides? In your own transition, you could just as easily ask, “How will I keep in touch with people I’m leaving?” or “How will I avoid slipping into ‘bad habits’ I’ve worked so hard to stamp out?” The fear makes sense, but it’s actually not a great motivator. The answer to all the “how?” above has a lot to do with first thinking about what fuels us. In other words, what motivates us. Seth Godin wrote an awesome blogpost this week that offers a list of fuel / motivators – and reminds us that we have the power to choose, whether we’re fueled by “big dreams” or “dissatisfaction,” it’s important to take note. As Seth says: “They [any motivator / fuel] all work. Some of them leave you wrecked, some create an environment of possibility and connection and joy. Up to you.” Endings prompt an awareness that we’re going to have to look inward for our fuel – intrinsic motivation –  as opposed to a group, or a role, or an individual. This is hard especially if we’ve worked in a traditional supervisor / employee setting where we “follow the leader.” But when it’s really up to us – to move on, make the change, show up in a new way – we get to choose to look within. Knowing it’s hard, unnatural and will take...

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Taking the First Step


Posted By on May 9, 2017

Being open to new things is an attractive quality. When we see “openness” in others, we admire it – we praise them for bravery, living in the present. . . being risk takers. For taking the first step. Inherent in that point of view is the tiny voice of Judgment – that we, in comparison, are not open. That we say we’re going to do new things but we never do. “It’s so easy for others, but what’s wrong with me that it’s so hard?” What that Judgment prevents is compassion – and it keeps us stuck, from even the first step of our leadership and career purpose. It prevents us from acknowledging how hard it is, for humans, to grow and do new things. How hard it is to flex, bend and shift in the name of getting into alignment, finding fulfillment and enjoyment in work – in life. We gloss over / ignore / forget that we are innately wired for safety – that our fight / flight instinct is difficult to override – that the discomfort of new a.k.a. weird a.k.a. dangerous is powerful. We talked a lot about this as a community in April while reading 10% Happier – How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works – A True Story. After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, the book’s author Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. Harris eventually landed on meditation as a “new thing” to try, after sifting through his own beliefs, judgments and fear around it. Like, a LOT of judgment. But, hitting his own bottom increased the willingness to surrender to the new, to take the first step, toward something that would eventually do for him what underreported research says meditation has done for CEOs, scientists, and even marines – all of whom are using it for increased calm, focus, and happiness. What the Flank 5 Academy folks loved about his story was the authenticity, skepticism and desperation that spouted from the crippling voice in his head that was committed to him staying stuck, sick and the same. From taking step one. We all have that voice. The voice that keeps us from starting. And this month, we’re exploring the why, and the how, of all that is “the first step.” What does it look like to start the thing you’ve been wanting to do? How does it feel to let go of steps two through 1,000, in the name of knowing it begins with one? How do you get the accountability,...

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Amanda Ryznar is a Flank 5 Academy Collectivist alumna and facilitator. Professionally, she is a digital marketing leader who is committed to the pursuit of conscious leadership for herself and others. You can learn more about her on LinkedIn. I have always expected a reward and I have always been willing to work for one. My theory has been that hard work = reward. My world was initially set up to support this theory. I liked the model and have continued to play it out most of my life. Hard work at school meant good grades. Good grades meant getting into a good college. Getting into a good college meant getting a good job. Getting a good job meant achieving financial stability, satisfaction, etc. You’ve heard this before. You may have done this. You may be doing it now. And, you aren’t wrong for doing it. I only know that it does not serve me, personally, to continue this way of thinking. I joined the Collective because I wanted to know my purpose. I thought that if I spent two hours a week in this group setting, and then more time thinking about it outside these meetings, that I would figure it out. In other words, if I just worked hard enough, the reward would come. The reward in this case was specific purpose with a specific role. That is not the reward that I received. And, I no longer think that the “reward” for my participation needed to be a purpose and an associated specific role. Mark Nepo in the Book of Awakening writes, “The closer we get to all being, the more synonymous the effort and its reward. The reward for uncovering the truth is the experience of an honest being. The reward for understanding is the peace of knowing. The reward for loving is being the carrier of love.” The reward is the experience that you have that is internal and intrinsic to you. It’s not an external acquisition – and viewing it as a set target with a set point in time can be extremely limiting. My rewards for participating in the Collective are many. I evaluated my role at work, my attitude towards work, the type of leader I wanted to be, and the dynamic that I was co-creating with my colleagues. It was not easy, but the reward was a clearer picture of how I wanted to view work and an acceptance that growth comes from the willingness to question and sit with challenges. People who I didn’t know, got to know me, and as a result encouraged me, believed in me, and supported...

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Joanne Worden is a believer that work matters and “work is good” – she should know; she’s been an HR executive for most of her career. She is also an alumna of The Collective. You can learn more about her via LinkedIn.  I’ve been working since I was 16 years old (and before that, if you count babysitting and odd jobs). For the most part, I’ve loved – or at least liked – every job I’ve had. I found each one sort of fascinating in its own quirky way, and through each position I learned, grew, accomplished, built relationships and, of course, spent some amount of time banging my head against the proverbial wall. Even the experiences that put bumps on my head taught me something – the importance of knowing yourself, knowing the environment, being realistic, and figuring out if the job is a good fit. And so, for years and years, I was on what I called the ‘lather, rinse, repeat’ cycle. You get up, you show up, you do your best. Promotions and new projects come your way. You meet wonderful people, and you meet some asshats. If you wise up along the journey, you learn to appreciate the former and manage the latter. I was fortunate. I had way more good bosses than bad, and colleagues who were patient and kind and giving of their time and talents. We did cool things, we won awards, we got shit done. . . with lots of laughs and, yes, a few tears along the way. And then, like that (at least that’s what it felt like), I was done. I had the opportunity in the fall of 2015 to take a very lucrative ‘package’ from the company I had been employed with for five years. I weighed all the options carefully and decided it was a good time to pack my boxes and go. But then what? I figured out pretty quickly that I wasn’t ready to ‘sit’ – and, in fact, chances are good that I never will be. Work and working is woven into my DNA, and I doubt I can be content to be a ‘lady who lunches’. However, I do recognize that I want my second – and third – acts to be meaningful and focused, with the ability to ‘do some good’. Enter my time in the Collective. Getting connected to this wonderful group of smart, talented, open-minded and open-hearted folks is one of the best things I’ve ever done, personally and professionally. I was able to bring my semi-blank canvas to our meetings each week and talk to the group about what...

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The opinions on how you should start your day for “maximum results” and “increased productivity” are vast and varied. . . some may even be helpful. Whether the advice is “avoid the snooze” or “drink water right away” it can be hard to sift through all the recommendations to find one that really makes an impact. . . for you. So, we’ll keep it simple and suggest something we’ve offered and observed has an impact with the hundreds of people who have come through our programs: Tomorrow, start your day with an intention (Source: Huffington Post) – and end your day with a reflection. Lately, we have been asking participants in Crain’s Academy and other F5 leadership programs about journaling: Do you do it? Have you ever done it? And who cares? Astoundingly few do. And most aren’t sure why it matters. Well, it matters – to your ability to be successful and move forward (Source: Harvard Business Review). You are the most important research project of your life, so knowing what your intention is and reflecting on how you lived it out day to day gives you a lot of data to pull from to make better career and life decisions. So what is an intention and how is it different (Source: TED* Works!) than your goals?   It’s present focused (today) versus future-focused It’s a lived experience versus a destination It’s internally driven, versus externally If you begin with an intention you can reflect at the end of the day how you lived it out. If you wanted to “Remain open, flexible and kind with all people” or “Stay in learning and avoid judging” and you felt you didn’t live it out, don’t be too hard on yourself. Living out an intention takes a lot of practice and in research, sometimes experiments fail. Involve community in your intention setting and increase your chances of “coming back to center,” making better decisions and being more successful throughout the day. The Collective and Crain’s Academy are great communities to join as you conduct your...

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