The Best Place to Work

How much thought do you give to your surroundings at work? And how much do you think that influences how you feel about your employer?

Apparently the above, who you're seated next to and in what type of arrangement; how you're praised, allowed to do your work, and communicated to; and much more all influence how you feel about the place you work, as Ron Friedman shares is his book The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace.

Ron shares many fascinating studies and anecdotes and I recommend all leaders and aspiring leaders read this book. 

And as we learn at the end of the book, all these lessons can be broken down into three overarching themes:
  1. psychological needs are at the heart of employee engagement—namely, employees need to experience autonomy, competence, and relatedness on a daily basis.
  2. organizations are more successful when they address the limits of the mind and body—due to our limited mental bandwidth, we need breaks and opportunities to recharge to keep performing.
  3. integrating work and family life improves the quality of both—work-life balance does not exist so allow life to infringe work since work infringes on life.
If employers can't be convinced to do this for the right reasons—wanting staff that are happy to come to work—they should do this since happy staff lead to more profitable companies, as Ron states at the end of his book:
When we fulfill employees' needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness, when we allow them to leverage the full breadth of their mental  capacity, when we provide them with the flexibility to succeed in both their personal and professional lives, we achieve more than any extraordinary workplace.
We create an organization that performs its very best. 
Is your workplace fulfilling the three overarching needs?  

Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to admit that I wouldn't usually pick up a book with profanity in its title. But I kept reading great reviews about this book so finally bought it and am very glad I did so.

Although the profanity continues throughout the book, that and the irreverence works with the author's style and message, which is that we have to choose what we care about. If we care (or as the author calls it, "give a f*k") about everything, we really don't care about anything, nor will we get anywhere.

Some of his messages that really resonate with me are that happiness comes from solving problems, failure and pain are part of the process and the way forward, learn to say no, and choose your values carefully since your beliefs create your reality.

It's a quick and very thought-provoking read that I believe will resonate with most people at some level. I highly recommend it.


Elle Luna published an article on the crossroads between should and must, watched it go viral, and then decided to rewrite the article into a book called The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion. 

If you have ever felt torn between what you thought was the right thing to do and what you wish you could do, then read this book. And if you haven't, please let me know your secret.

Elle does not recommend we neglect our obligations or follow our passions into poverty; instead, she recommends we discover what our calling is—the thing we must do—and start small. Find ten minutes today and take that step, and then build on it. 

Our Must is the thing we were born to do, the thing that makes us uniquely who we are, and the thing we need to do to become our best. 

I found the book so inspiring and am still feeling the repercussions of its message. And therefore I hate to admit that I don't know what my Must is. 

I know what my strengths are and I know what I enjoy doing. I even know what I would do if money were no issue and the causes I'd fight for if I were the activist type. But where among all those is my calling? 

Elle does offer tips on how to find this, including asking your mom what you enjoyed most as a child, asking yourself questions to pinpoint the things you enjoy, and looking for patterns among activities and answers. 

Do you know what your calling is?

Rebrand Your Value

In her first book, Knowing Your Value, Mika Brzesinski taught women how to figure out their value and ask for what they're worth. In her second book, Grow Your Value: Living and Working to Your Full Potential she addresses an equally difficult topic: finding and growing your value both professionally and personally.

As Mika herself has had to learn, and as shared by the successful women whose words and stories she includes, when mothers succeed, they often feel guilty for neglecting their family and children. This trade-off is often at the expense of their personal value and many handle this with differing degrees of success.

Ultimately what Mika learned is that it's equally important to grow your personal value, find time to recharge, and find a way to integrate both personas so that neither is starved. Instead of pretending to be always on and upbeat for her family, she now takes the time to truly connect and even disconnect with them.

Mika also has a chapter specifically geared towards Millennial and entrepreneurial woman and their unique challenges, and then another on rebranding and starting a second career.

I found the latter chapter really interesting. Mika includes stories of how successful women have used hardships, layoffs, and their passions to find their callings or a new career that was an even better fit for who they had become. Given my own period of transition, I needed to read these words of wisdom and their underlying message.

As one of the women interviewed explained, she realized one of the things she was really good at—motivating staff and speaking to people at all levels—was not evident on her resume. Once she became aware of this and was able to frame her experience from that context, opportunities began presenting themselves.

Have you had to rebrand yourself? How did you go about it?