Evergreen Leadership Blog


Simplifying Life and Work: 12 Things to Shed NOW

The idea of having less, doing less, and managing less, runs contrary to our consumer-based market economy. Yet as Henry David Thoreau discovered at Walden Pond, it can be a marvelous thing. It can free us up for more important things. To relax. To breathe. To do the things that really matter.

Yet many of us just don’t know what to shed or how to begin. We’ve fine-tuned and socially encouraged our “more” mentality – and spent scant energy on the reverse. So in today’s post I’m providing you some specific thought starters in four categories you might consider shedding. This is not an all-inclusive list, but merely a start. I’m only going to hint at the HOW to do this… but know that you’ll find ample on-line details about purging these items from your life.

I’ve listed four categories you might consider: things, tasks, thoughts, and toxic relationships. For each category, I’ve provided three suggestions. That gives you a starting point of 12 places you might begin to shed. …

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Three Sure to Fail Tactics for Surviving Today’s Work Environment

I don’t need to tell you that things are busy at work. You know it, feel it, live it. There is more work and fewer people to do the work. Your email box has reached its limit. You are continually asked to go faster. You are connected during work, after work, and perhaps on your vacation. You are bombarded with new information, processes, and industry breakthroughs.

No matter your industry, the story is the same. Restructuring, reorganizations, market changes, technology innovations and globalization have resulted in more work to be done by fewer people in shorter time-frames. As a result, many of us relay on three strategies to manage:


We speed up, sometimes to warp speed. We dash between meetings. We charge through our work and personal life at top speed, barely able some days to catch our breath.


We come in early. We stay late. We eat lunch at our desk. Or we skip lunch. We take work home. We continue to find time wherever we can to squeeze in one more thing.


We multi-task. We automate our inbox. We download new apps and implement new technology. We search for ways to shave minutes, and sometimes seconds, from any “to do” list.

Any of these tactics, in the short term, can work. There are days we need to speed things up a bit. There are periods of time where we just need to hunker down and get through a busy patch. And who does not love to find ways to do routine tasks quicker and easier?

Our problem is that we are in a perpetual state of change, speed, and turbulence. No matter how fast we go, we are unable to go fast enough to outrun it. We can only stretch ourselves so thin until we have nothing more to give. None of these three tactics are sustainable over time, especially when just as we speed up, our world does too. …

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The Spirit of the Season – All Year Long

How would you be different if the spirit of this season lasted all year long? As you pause, cease your paid labor, gather with friends and family, take a moment to reflect on the messages that this time of year brings, and determine what parts of this holiday you’ll carry forward. You can be a light in the darkness, you can bring hope to those in despair, and by caring for others you’ll find you’ve cared for yourself.

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Share a Story this Thanksgiving

As you gather across the generations this Thanksgiving, I encourage you to share stories as well as a meal. Share them, celebrate them, and save them. We all have a life story – and the longer we live, the richer the story. Far too often in our fast-paced, media-driven world, the most meaningful stories can get lost. It is an act of affirmation to be asked to share our story. It is an act of love to listen. When we ask and then listen – we not only affirm, we learn. We enrich our family history. We understand our families, ourselves, and our world, in a new and more balanced way.

National Public Radio (NPR) has created the perfect way for you to capture the stories of those around you. Using their StoryCorps platform, they have issued a challenge: to collect 120,000 stories over the Thanksgiving weekend. Their goal: To create an archive containing the single largest collection of human voices ever gathered.

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Why Your Zone of Discomfort is the Perfect Place to Be

Ahhhh… how comfy our comfort zones are. We know these places so well. We can be on autopilot. We don’t have to expend emotional or physical energy. It’s easy. It’s like riding a bike downhill – all the time.

Ultimately, however, our comfort zones can be our undoing. Too much time there are we become stale, unchallenged, and stagnant. And that is a dangerous place to be in a world in which maintaining the status quo becomes obsolete in the blink of an eye.

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In my executive coaching I see plenty of folks plagued with this problem: They are smart. They have deep expertise in their field. They are competitive and are on the hunt for the next promotion. And they have an almost uncontrollable need to prove just how brilliant they are. Unfortunately, these actions work against them. Even when they are smart and capable and driven.

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My Wabi-Sabi Life

I’ve worked hard to overcome “the prison of perfection” – which had, in the past, resulted in me never being happy with excellence, which had caused me to stall way too many times in quest of the last incremental improvement, that had stoked fear that someone would notice the slightest imperfection. And it was good to let go of that.

Wabi-sabi, as defined in Wikipedia, is a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. However, the notion of wabi-sabi is deeper than just being OK with imperfection. …

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When I worked in manufacturing, it was standard practice to monitor noise levels and also to test the hearing of those that worked in high decibel areas. We were proactive in managing noise levels, mandating hearing protection and taking steps to avoid hearing loss.

Today we are all faced with incessant noise – perhaps not the high decibel, cover your ears, kind of noise. More of the ever present chatter – of the TV, radio, email, social media. We are bombarded with information 24/7. Some is wanted – like my Pandora radio station, or emails from clients, or Facebook posts from friends, or or RSS feeds that cause me to pause and think about things differently, or texts that transmit information in a few seconds rather than a few minutes. But there is a heck of a lot of clutter or “noise” that one must endure to find that which is valuable.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve not found the answer to this. So I’ll share five things I do to build some “silence” into my life – and ask you to chime in and share to help us all.

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Skeptics vs. Cynics

Skeptics and cynics share some things – both question, both challenge, both share doubt openly. As such, we tend to cast folks that raise objections, challenge our plans or thinking or ask difficult questions in a negative light. We avoid them. Un-invite them to meetings. Find ways to silence them. Avert eye contact. Roll our eyes. Sigh deeply. Run the other way when we see the coming.

Today, I challenge you to refine your approach. To discern if those that are asking questions are skeptics or cynics. For while both will challenge and question, past that – the similarities wane and diverge in significant ways.

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5 Things You Can Do to Become a More Agile Learner

Learning and learning fast is imperative today. Your ability to push past your comfort zone, acquire new skills, explore different ways of thinking – a willingness to learn from the old and move on to the new will define your success.

But how does one do that? Today I’ll share five strategies you can use to increase your learning agility.

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