Goal crushing attitude.

Gratitude.

Lifetime learner.

These are the three core values at thinkspace. These values resinate with me deeply, both professionally and personally; this compatibility is one of the reasons I love working at thinkspace. There is no project turned down afraid I won’t be able to crush it, we start every morning as a team sharing wins we’ve had, and shouting out gratitude for someone on the team that supported us. This is how companies can live their core values: by practicing them daily. Being a lifetime learner, our final core value is something I think often about. We have the opportunity to learn everyday from our colleagues, members here at thinkspace, and mentors in our life. Whether it’s learning new vocabulary, services a member provides, practicing skills needed to have difficult conversations, discovering a hack that will provide simplicity in an everyday task, or learning a language to help us on an upcoming trip, there’s always something to expand our minds on.

In business, “to stay relevant, hungry and motivated, it’s important to make a lifelong commitment to education and growth,” states Timothy Sykes, VIP Contributor to Entrepreneur.com. Benefits of lifelong learning isn’t limited to personal fulfillment, like when I learned how to set up a tent to go backpacking for the first time. Lifelong learning also isn’t maintained to the four walls of a classroom; no one is suggesting that you must collect master’s degrees in order to prove it. You learn from others, from reading, from traveling, and experiences. You learn from successes and learn from failures and all of it is meaningful.

For both personal and professional reasons, being a lifetime learner is going to reap benefits. I love this “quick guide that proves why we’re never too old or experienced to pick up new business tricks but here are some of the highlights provided.” Don’t be shy- we’d also love to hear some of your go-to’s when learning something new.

  1. To keep generating new ideas.  If you really want to invite inspiration to strike, make a commitment to learning something new every single day by reading books, following podcasts, staying updated with the news or pursuing any number of resources that can expose you to new ideas and concepts.
  2. To maintain your passion. Go ahead, become obsessed with your industry. Read books by relevant leaders, follow podcasts in your field and follow movers and shakers on social media. You’ll become inspired by the cool things going on within it and tap into the inner passion for what you do.
  3. To make better conversation. When you have a wider field of interests and knowledge, you’re able to connect more deeply with a wider variety of people, which can lead to opportunities and collaborations that can further your career.
  4. To banish boredom. Fascination with a particular topic can be engaging and exciting, give you a greater sense of purpose and excitement in both your career and in your everyday life.
  5. For better work-life balance. When you take a break from monotonous working to focus on expanding your mind, it’s like a break for your brain from its regularly scheduled programming. 
  6. For your health. For instance? While using your brain won’t necessarily prevent Alzheimer’s, frequently learning new things can delay symptoms, which can improve your quality of life.

Last month I held SMASH, my monthly administrative meetup at thinkspace, and invited my cohort of executive assistants, senior assistants, office managers and the like, and we explored a topic that drew in great discussion: wellness at work. Though I support the CEO and Founder of thinkspace, I also work as a holistic health and running coach. I work both one-on-one and with groups sharing how to add joy to your life. The idea that wellness is bound to eating health foods or going for a run is simply wrong, and joy shouldn’t be reserved for after-work hours. I think it’s fundamental to fill your day with more joy and that this type of self-care extends beyond the walls of your home.

To me, being joyful in the workplace means clearing away stress and getting sh*t done. When I’m productive and collaborative I feel best and I can’t manage doing those things when project goals aren’t clear, I’m worried about all the tasks on hand, or I feel unorganized. During my talk at SMASH I set out to explain three bullet points to support yourself in de-stressing and decluttering your mind so that you have the room to be productive, feel full, and allow for positivity to run through your veins while at work. I’m here to share them with you too.

1. Make your to-do list. Studies have shown that people perform better when they have written down what they need to do. Lists dampen anxiety about the chaos of life; they give us structure, a plan that we can stick to; and they are proof of what we have achieved that day, week, or month. Simply writing the tasks down will make you more effective and free the space in your mind from these tasks. Try doing this as the last thing you do before you leave the office for the next day. Whether you’re using tools like Trello, Asana, or a pen and notebook, use a system that you enjoy and that works for you and watch your productivity sky rocket.

2. Breathe. Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. As an entrepreneur, or as someone who supports one, this is something we should all be practicing. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body. Deep breathing combats the actions that occur when stressed, things such as increased heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure. When you are in that relaxed state your decision making skills are heightened, you command a stronger presence, and creativity can flow.

Next time you need to relieve stress or clear your mind step away to a huddle room, close the door to your private office and sit on a cushion, or head outside for a few moments and try this:

Breathing Activity

  1. Sit or lie flat in a comfortable position.
  2. Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs, the other on your chest.
  3. Take a big breathe through your nose and let you belly push your hand out. Your chest should not move. Breathe out through pursed lips, like you are whistling. Feel your hand on your belly go in, and use it to push all the air out.
  4. Do this breathing 3 to 10 times. Take your time with each breathe.
  5. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.

3. Have Gratitude. The purpose of this exercise is to focus attention on the positive things in your life. Studies suggest that feelings of gratitude may even possess mental and physical health benefits. Take a moment to yourself, either first thing when you get to the office, or when needing to take a break for refocus. Founder of Huffington Post and CEO of Thrive Global, Arianna Huffington shares “Gratitude works its magic by serving as an antidote to negative emotions. It’s like white blood cells for the soul, protecting us from cynicism, entitlement, anger, and resignation.”

Gratitude Activity

  1. Take a moment to let the tasks and atmosphere of the day go. Take three full belly breathes.
  2. Think about what the positive things in your life. Write down two things in your life (work or non-work) that you are grateful for. (Is it a partner, friend, child, teacher, the weather, nature, a book you’re reading?)
  3. Write a third item on the list: something you love about yourself.
  4. Reflect on how this activity makes you feel during and after. Did you smile, feel awkward, or happy?
  5. ** You don’t have to be experiencing a chaotic or stressful day to practice this.

Returning to work after completing these exercises should be reenergizing. Though eating a nutritious lunch (or eating a lunch at all) is definitely part of a healthy routine, de-stressing and decluttering your mind at work will encourage your success as an entrepreneur. Holistic health presents an opportunity to connect a less-stressful state and being able to feel stronger and encouraged throughout the day. This supports an increase in joy and permeates your being. Do you practice other self-care techniques while at work? Share them in comments and help create a discussion about what healthy living looks like.

I was walking with a coworker during our weekly 1:1 (I highly recommend doing this btw), and the subject of imposter syndrome came up. We were recalling times being in new roles and having this unfounded “what if I don’t know what I’m doing” thought looming in the background. I’ve spoken with friends and clients for years about this concept and have come to the conclusion it’s happened to many us do, and often.

Imposter syndrome, also known by imposterism (and a slew of other similar names), is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. According to this article I found in Psychology Today, it’s not an actual disorder, “but the term was coined by clinical psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978, when they found that despite having adequate external evidence of accomplishments, people with imposter syndrome remained convinced that they don’t deserve the success they have.”

This great post shares an interpretation of imposter syndrome in that it has multiple faces. In the article it describes how expert Dr. Valerie Young has categorized imposter syndrome into subgroups: the Perfectionist, the Superwoman/man, the Natural Genius, the Soloist, and the Expert and I challenge you to find yourself in the descriptions. Whether you are the CEO, web developer, wedding photographer, or entrepreneur inventor, the potential that you will be afflicted with imposter syndrome is high. Maya Angelou, Howard Schultz, and Sheryl Sandberg have even admitted to struggling with this phenomenon. As your resident health coach I’m happy to share that there are ways to get relief and build up the muscles to overcome it though. Take the time to remember that everyone feels imposterism and to combat it, practice positive self talk to remind yourself of your badass accomplishments and skills. Everyone is good at a lot of things and you are quite likely really good at the work to do. Your accomplishments didn’t happen due to chance, seduction, or some other external factor so don’t let imposter syndrome deceive you.

Check out this short Ted Talk video about imposter syndrome that I really enjoyed and if you have any advice or comments I’d love to see them below.