Time For a Playlist About Why You Should Embrace Boredom (this weekend)

be still and listen to the beatof your own drummer(1)

Ever wondered why your best ideas always seem to arrive in the shower — or while on a walk — or when you first awake in the morning? Well, it is no coincidence. Researchers have known for years that your brain requires peace (& often quiet) to connect the disparate elements that churn behind the scenes.

This is why you experience increased creativity during down time.

With our busy technology-packed lives, we tend to equate feeling busy with well-being. However, your brain may be begging for a bit of boredom. So, make a point to schedule time to be completely quiet.

If your are very still — you may even hear the faint sound of your own drummer.

To learn more — visit our YouTube channel and find the playlist: http://bit.ly/2y0Tans

  • Manoush Zomordi. How Boredom Can Lead to Your Most Brilliant Ideas. Breaking our technology habit can be a challenge. However, it is more about empowerment, than time spent. Zomordi’s, Bored and Brilliant initiative opened the eyes of thousands.
  • Genevieve Bell. The Value of Boredom. Bell educates us concerning how (and  when) the notion of boredom and its negative connotation — developed. She further explores how technology impacts this dynamic.
  • Rollo May. Rollo May on Boredom & Creativity. Existential psychologist Rollo May, questions our use of toys (technology?) to avoid boredom — and how boredom “pushes you toward your own imagination.”
  • Cal Newport. Quit Social Media. The author of Deep Work: Rules For Success in a Distracted World talks about how a lack of social media, has positively impacted his own life and work. He discusses the addicting nature of the medium and what might happen if we would consider leaving it behind.

Read more about this topic:

Dr. Marla Gottschalk writes about life and career as a LinkedIn Influencer. Her posts have also appeared at various outlets worldwide — including US News & World Report, Forbes, Quartz and The World Economic Forum.

Live.Work.Think.Play shares observations concerning a wide array of topics from running a company — to the perfect handbag. It is designed to share lessons learned from a variety of perspectives.


Big Presentation? Some Tips (From an Expert) About What to Wear

Personal Branding Expert Michele Lando

By: Michele Lando

Public speaking can create stress for most of us. However, it can become even more of a challenge, when you have no idea what to wear. I have years of experience advising in this realm as a personal branding specialist — and I’m here to unpack the challenge for you.

Of course, it is key to appear polished and professional (that is expected). But the secret is to dress in an outfit that makes you feel your best. (Emphasis on the “you”.)

Here are my best tips for what to wear to that next important presentation — either at work or school.

#1: Think carefully about what makes you feel confident

It’s not often that we are intentionally mindful about our clothing. However, a significant part of deciding what to wear for a presentation is identifying an outfit that builds your confidence. In that way, it adds another layer of empowerment to your workplace presence. (Items that really don’t fit or make you feel less than, need to be eliminated from the start.)

Personally, when it comes to work — and honestly I don’t dress much differently when I’m not working — I feel my best when I’m in a blazer, simple blouse and skinny trousers or a pencil skirt. (If you look at the clothing that I discuss, you’ll notice that I’m often wearing some version of this outfit.)

It simply works for me.

This is what I call my personal “power outfit” — because it makes me feel confident — which in turn is reflected in my ability to clearly communicate. Someone else might feel their best in a skirt, perhaps a suit or even dressy jeans. Whatever it is that makes you feel really great (and flatters your body, go in that direction.

Reflect on when you feel your best. Dissect the components and note them.

#2: Remember you have the power to change how people see you

It may sound extreme, but I’ve always thought that clothing could change the world. Why? Because your clothing affects your confidence — and if you feel good about yourself you’ll be able to do good things and put the best version of yourself out into the world. Sometimes it simply takes the right outfit to give you the confidence to get up and do something productive.

It’s really empowering when you realize that you control how people see you and what image you project.

Think about how often we judge people almost immediately based on their appearance (whether correct or incorrect). Clothing is one tool which can help you take control of how people see you and shape their viewpoint.

Do you want to appear as a strong, knowledgeable, and confident individual?  Your clothing can help.

#3: Now — take it up a notch

When you’re contemplating what to wear for that presentation, another helpful rule of thumb is to think about what you would normally wear to feel great and “zhush” it up slightly. For instance, if you typically wear colored denim and a blouse or button down, think about adding on a blazer (a tie for men). Similarly, if you often wear flats and jersey dresses, perhaps opt for a dress with a little more structure and pair it with a slightly higher heel.

Overall, the goal is to highlight how much time and effort you’ve put into the presentation — and this should be reflected in your physical appearance. This moment is important.

That is why dressing more formally than you would on a daily basis is important; it will reflect your effort.

Always, remember that you have the power to craft your personal image.

#4: Follow the third piece rule

I talk about the third piece rule quite a bit at my blog — and this is the perfect place to put it into action. The third piece rule states that every outfit looks more pulled together with the addition of a third piece. If you’re trying to keep your business casual attire professional, wearing a jacket always helps. Your third piece could be a blazer, a jacket, belt, statement necklace, etc. The possibilities are endless, but adding that third piece immediately elevates any outfit. Think about adding some sort of accessory to bring the look together and make it a bit more formal. For men, adding something as simple as a color coordinated belt, or even a fun tie or pocket square can amp up your style. If you need to be more formal but it’s too hot for a blazer, throw on a vest.

A third piece is an easy way to elevate your outfit to ensure that you’re dressing appropriately for that important day.

#5: A confidence basic — ban the wrinkles.

One of my pet peeves, is clothing with wrinkles. Wrinkled clothing simply appears unprofessional. It’s as simple as that. If you don’t like to iron, (I don’t like it either) get yourself a little steamer. Entering the presentation in wrinkle-free clothing is an easy way to ensure that you don’t look like you just rolled out of bed.

The small things do matter.

Let’s sum things up. If you are struggling with what to wear for a big presentation at work. Your hard work should be reflected both in your presentation (you’re going to kill it) and your professional appearance.

Dress in an outfit that makes you feel great about yourself and the presentation you’re delivering.

The rest will be history.

Good luck!

BTW — we’ve chosen a items as starting points. No obligation to explore, of course!

Ralph Lauren Fit & Flare Dress: http://mcys.co/2xP5reG

FitandFlare Dressjpg

Banana Republic Long and Lean Fit Lightweight Wool Blazer: http://brstyl.es/2xta7G1


Gorjana “Faye” Pendant Necklace: http://bit.ly/2x9Vyas

Faye Pendant Necklace_12674335

A native San Franciscan, Michele Lando is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and founder of writestylesonline.com. She has a passion for helping others present the best version of themselves, both on paper and in person and works to polish individuals’ application package and personal style. Aiming to help create a perfect personal branding package, Write Styles presents tips to enhance your resume, style, and boost your confidence.

Live.Work.Think.Play shares observations concerning a wide array of topics from running a company — to the perfect handbag. It is designed to share lessons learned from a variety of perspectives.


What Kind of Career Growth Are You Seeking?


In today’s world, career paths have been described as “boundary less”. We build careers and seek fulfillment by collecting varied experiences — across organizations, managers and work content. However, what we are seeking growth-wise at specific points in time will often guide that direction.

Ultimately, we seek situations that offer alignment with our current career vision.

Through years of speaking with individuals about work and career, I have observed combinations of elements (such as change vs. stability) that describe different types of growth “states”. We might flux in and out of these states — depending on our life situation or goals — and none would be considered “right” or “wrong”. Interestingly, some contributors seem comfortable remaining in one state for an extended period of time. while others might shift to meet their evolution.

Here are just a few I’ve observed. Please share any others in comments.

  • Future forward. There is a longer-term passion in the distance. In this state, you may currently hold a role aligned with education and experience — yet there is another career step in your “back pocket” serving as a strong motivator. Whether this entails preparation for a desired pivot or perhaps becoming an entrepreneur, we are building infrastructure for the miles ahead. Gaining skills to ensure the dream becomes a reality is a key imperative. Organizations can contribute by building foundational skills and the opportunities to build networks.
  • Creative calibration. You are primarily happy…but. This trajectory can involve a single direction or path — as long as we have the opportunity to add or delete tasks that meet our need for challenge/creativity. (It’s a bit like a central core with satellites orbiting around it). We might incorporate a flow of industry research or expand our “career mission” to create more interest. Appropriate expansion of the horizon is critical to avoid disengagement. There are multiple benefits for both the employee and the organization.
  • New progressive. You want to break the mold. Literally. While here, you desire to build a new, possibly “morphed” career path, integrating novel or disruptive elements (such as technology) smack into your current area of expertise. We would have the opportunity to allow skills co-exist, that others may never envision together. A high tolerance for ambiguity and exploration, along with a healthy dose of “progressive ambition” coexist — as the steps of this path reveal themselves only as time passes.
  • Steady-state. Healthy stability is the name of the game here. Contributors desire a specific role, while maintaining a strong, singular path for an extended period of time. We are less likely to job hop — but may move along with a specific group of contributors focused or an area of interest. Working on longer-term initiatives is often the hallmark — and contributors find this very satisfying.

Above all, knowing thyself is critical. Individual contributors (and organizations alike) should build awareness concerning how our needs evolve over time.

To explore your growth state needs, ask these questions:

  1. Are you leaning toward stability or change/challenge at this point in time?
  2. Have your growth needs tended to shift significantly over time or have they remained constant?
  3. Recall a time when you were satisfied with your career growth. How did your growth needs align with your role?
  4. Think of a time when you were frustrated, overwhelmed or disappointed with your path. What was happening?
  5. Do you lean towards being proactive or relatively passive, where career growth is concerned?
  6. How might voicing your needs, affect the possibilities?

So — where are you? Have I missed a growth state? Share your story.

Dr. Marla Gottschalk writes about life and career as an Influencer at LinkedIn. Her posts have also appeared at various outlets worldwide including US News & World Report, Forbes, Quartz and The World Economic Forum.

Live.Work.Think.Play shares observations concerning a wide array of topics from running a company — to the perfect handbag. It is designed to share lessons learned from a variety of perspectives.


It’s a “Wicked” Challenge — But You Can Design Your Life (Yes!)

When I look at a Parsons table (designed at Parsons Paris in the 1930s) — I see a thing of great beauty.

Fresh simplicity.

Lines that sing.

A presence that cannot be ignored.


Legend has it, the iconic design emerged from a design class where its instructor, Jean Michael Frank, challenged students to design a table that would retain its design integrity sheathed in various materials, such as mica, burlap, etc. From Frank’s sketches and student participation came the elegant minimalist design. (Read more of its history here.)

It was the product of an inspired design moment.

It is a thing of beauty.

What if we could take the same engine that drove this type of creation — and apply it to our own lives?

What if you could design a life that sings for you?

I’ve spoken to countless people who are less than thrilled with their lives. Something seems off. Something isn’t working. But, the more telling question must be posed — is there something better? The authors of Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life explore the dysfunctional beliefs that stifle the answer to that question. The answer is likely a resounding “yes”.

But how?

We are rarely offered the tools to unpack such a problem.

However, that is changing.

At Stanford University, students have had the opportunity to explore their life as a design challenge, in a course named: Designing Your Life. The crux of the course involves applying design principles to build a happy, fulfilling, post-student life — prototypes and all. Initially an experiment (the brainchild of the book’s authors Bill Burnett & Dave Evans), the class became such a campus phenomenon within the engineering department — that it was then offered to all Stanford students. (The information is now being shared with other universities – from Harvard to Cal State Dominguez Hills to Trinity College, serving students across the country. That works.)

The most important element of the course is to build a life that holds meaning. What might you want to build or leave behind? That exploration is much more than money — or a job. It is about living a coherent life; congruent with whom you are.

So, this is where the book comes in. It is jam-packed with observations concerning the history of this now 10-year-old course experiment.

Interestingly, the concepts in the book are now being offered to the public in a workshop format and there is one version especially tailored to women. (See the dates below — you can still register). Course instructor Susan Burnett, describes the workshop as perfect for anyone who finds they are at an “inflection point”. Whether that is leaving college, a marriage, job or career, or just being ready to try something new. As Stanford Life Design Lab’s Kathy Davies describes, “the course for women was born from the observation that women engaged with the process with a different perspective. The workshops provide the time, space and a community of support to have those life design conversations.”

Hooray. We all require help with inflection points.

So, pick up the book or register for the course and get ready to break down that petrified view of your life — and then put it back together again.

Only better.

Now do it again.

And again.

What do you see?

Click on book icon to learn more.


The Designing ​​Your ​​Life ​​for ​​Women Workshop

Overview: Designing Your Life for Women is an intensive, hands-on workshop experience where you will learn and apply the Life Design© method to your own life.  We will focus on balance and energy, use ideation techniques to help get you unstuck, build Odyssey Plans for three potential futures, and define ways to prototype the compelling parts of these futures. Best of all, you will do this in a community of women who have come together with a common purpose and who will support you on this life design journey.

UPCOMING DATES: Click to register

Sept 30-Oct 1, 2017 in Pacific Grove, CA

Nov 11-12, 2017 in San Diego, CA


Dr. Marla Gottschalk writes about life and career as an Influencer at LinkedIn. Her posts have also appeared at various outlets worldwide including US News & World Report, Forbes, Quartz and The World Economic Forum.

Live.Work.Think.Play shares observations concerning a wide array of topics from running a company — to the perfect handbag. It is designed to share lessons learned from a variety of perspectives.

Want to Simplify Your Life? Examine the “Myth of More”


“Two things define you. Your patience when you have nothing, and your attitude when you have everything.” – George Bernard Shaw

By: Alison Ellison

What does the “Myth of More” look like to you?

If you have you ever thought “more is better” or “two would be better than one?” — you’ve crossed into its territory.

There is an undercurrent to our lives that more is necessary (and needed). However, when it becomes part of our everyday vocabulary, it can quickly complicate our lives; creating an overflow of stress and worry.  I used to fall prey to this myth, secretly looking for ‘more’ in the form of projects, possessions, activities and friends.  Money, promotions, trips, and trinkets had been the object of my affections — in what I thought was a very innocent path.

Isn’t this what I am supposed to want? Isn’t this the American Dream?

When I began asking myself what mattered most in my life — the projects, possessions and titles did not even make the list. So what was I really doing? I woke up to the realization that I didn’t “own” my job or the “stuff”.

The desire to amass more owned me.

I realized that I needed to deal (and banish) the myth and the process was certainly more of a journey than a single “aha” moment. When I actively changed the focus from material desires to more meaningful needs — my life became simple. It felt infused with purpose.

“More” is an operative word that can grip us. Our wants, desires and cravings continue to ramp up. (The myth begins to require more feeding, with increased regularity.)  The endless loop we get caught up in can look like this:

1)   The more we want, the more we desire.

2)   The more we desire, the more we crave.

3)   The more we crave, the more we reach for something, anything to fill that need.

Getting off this roller coaster requires something entirely different. It requires getting quiet — and moving away from the work and digital distractions. It requires solitude. It requires reflection. Put your hand and over the heart and ask, “What matters most to me?” and “What experiences do I want to seek?”

Craving often begins, with a sense that we are missing something — a need. We would like to correct that defect and feel better. Cravings come in many forms (we usually think of food and habits first). However, we should consider other types of cravings as well. Seeking validation from the outside world to feel happier, loved, or approved of, can also be a craving that can direct us to seek “more”.

However, don’t despair. Just as we shift into a counter-productive habit, we can shift into an improved habit. Small steps and consistency are the key.

Try the following — and with practice, you will soon be able to separate the desire for more money, promotions, toys, trinkets, with the desire for more time, connection, resilience and confidence.

1)  Identify what you are seeking. Hint: Seeking is often something outside of ourselves. Be honest. Do you envision a promotion, love, money, travel?

2)  Identify the feelings you would like to come with manifestation. Chances are you are looking for something other than the actual physical manifestation. Could it be possible you desire contentment, connection, abundance, adventure, or joy? It is quite important to connect the desire to the experienced emotion.

3)  Ask yourself if your body, mind, and spirit supports that answer. Does that little voice inside your mind or your intuition have guidance any to offer? If the answer is no, then go back and ask WHY and identify where the desire was born.

Here is one experience with the myth from my own life. During a particularly challenging project, I was feeling extremely anxious and nervous. After some reflection, I realized that I was actually seeking approval for a new idea that I was introducing. To feel more confident, I undertook a relentless quest for research, information, guidance and instruction — so I could validate that the idea was sound. If I just reviewed one more study and provided more, I would satisfy that need for validation.

This lead to overload. That is, until I fought (and banished) the myth. When the scale finally tipped toward overload, it was time to consider who was running the show.  (Learning to listen to my inner voice, helped me.)

While taking a deeper dive into why I was seeking validation, I realized the overwhelming need to race and become an expert. However when I paused, I possessed far more wisdom and knowledge than I gave myself credit. (I was trained and prepared for the challenge.) In this situation, with the desire to prove my project worthy, I became entangled in the motivation to provide more. More time. More energy. More emotion.

Banishing the myth of more is one method to simplify your life.

Letting life and work become simple once again, through the identification of what you are really seeking.

Are there “mores” in your life that should be banished? What is truly behind the need?

Alison Ellison, is a soulful simplicity “strategist”. She writes about ways to shift from a busy, “stressed out” existence — to an authentic “stress-less” soul style. She loves to share methods to let go of chaos and embrace a simpler, more soulful life. Learn more at www.moresoulplease.com

Live.Work.Think.Play shares observations concerning a wide array of topics from running a company — to the perfect handbag. It is designed to share lessons learned from a variety of perspectives.

Why It’s So Hard to Leave a Job (Even the Ones We Secretly Hate)

Photo Credit: Jacqueline Zaccor/ @jakeezaccor

Most of us experience moments where we struggle to move forward. We may have detected that something vital had shifted — yet we hang on to a role (or a freelance gig or a team membership) that doesn’t really suit us.

In many cases, the signals to explore alternatives are completely missed. Often overwritten by our dismissive inner monologue.

So we remain.

Long after it is time to say goodbye.

After years of hearing stories of jobs that do not fit (and even worse bosses & organizations), I now hold a strong view that career moves are an inevitable (and can be a positive) occurrence. Not unlike the coming of the sunrise or sunset, we can count on these changes. If we could learn to accept their presence as something new and positive — not unlike new technology  — we might learn strategies to capitalize on the destabilization. (Of course, life, family and finances must be considered carefully. I am not advocating reckless behavior!) The payoff is well worth the journey: an endpoint that is adaptive, aligned and affirming.

Ultimately, when we find the energy to move on to seek a better fit — it is often for the best.

These are transitions, not sentences after all.

If we can accept changes in styles, markets and devices — why can’t we embrace the evolution of an individual?

There are beliefs that convince us to acquiesce our power to move on. I’d like to challenge a few of these in this forum.

  1. We are conditioned to “hang on” and forgo risk. Yes, a miraculous improvement is possible (a bad boss might move on, for example). However, in many cases, forgoing risk in the short-term, is a hand ill-played. This is what we fail to acknowledge: In many cases, the psychological contract which serves as the baseline for a healthy employee-employer relationship, has already been irrevocably broken. When we fail to recognize this and remain, we ultimately risk being physically present at work — yet mentally absent.
  2. We secretly hope that everything in our lives (including ourselves) will remain static. Of course, this predisposes us to be unhappily surprised at each and every turn — as change is going to happen. To complicate things further, we are notoriously inaccurate about how we might personally evolve over time. How often do we stop to envision our “future self”?  Truth: The roles that fulfill us now, may not be the same roles that might excite us five years on. As Daniel Gilbert has shared: Your history does not end today (Learn more about the “End of History Illusion” in the video below.)
  3. We feel that seeking a role which better aligns with our needs/strengths is frivolous.  Oh wow. Don’t get me started. On some level, many of us think this quest is a “pie in the sky” mantra. So, we avoid the entire conversation — and with that neglect, any hope of a better option in our current organization. (Yes, we have to be mindful of our responsibilities. Yes, the culture of an organization can also stand in the way.) When we are early in our careers, we might feel that we are glued to our college major or first role. Ultimately, much is left unsaid. As the gap widens between who we are and what we do — everyone loses.

We should be ready and willing to embrace how we change. Moreover, organizations should encourage and facilitate its exploration. This can be accomplished through heightened manager and employee awareness.

If we do not prepare, I fear we will not be ready for what inevitably arrives.

When was the last time you reflected on how you have evolved? Share your observations here.

Dr. Marla Gottschalk writes about life and career as an Influencer at LinkedIn. Her posts have also appeared at various outlets worldwide including US News & World Report, Forbes, Quartz and The World Economic Forum.

Live.Work.Think.Play shares observations concerning a wide array of topics from running a company — to the perfect fragrance. It is designed to share lessons learned from a variety of perspectives.

The New Travel: Think Weekend


I’m not a huge fan of travel.

There, I said it.

Trust that I am neither out of touch or insane.

I’m just over it.

A little sightseeing and my favorite Instagram travel feeds (you know who you are) are enough for me. I’ve done more than my fair share of travel — and for now, well — I’m on an extended hiatus from extended fun. When I see photos of exotic destinations, I don’t become “gooey” inside.

I simply mumble “nope, not me”.

Call me the “anti-lifestyle” blogger. Or the “fit your own life” blogger. Or the “she likes her own pillow” blogger. I’m advocating for the life that fits me. Your life should meet you where you are, as well. At the moment weekends are the right amount of prescribed “fun”.

Europe and exotic locales will still be all the rage. Just give me a great weekend getaway and I’m good.


Throw in a view.

I’m even better.

Travel reminiscent of the 70s, should come back into vogue. Eco-friendly travel is on the radar, after all — and many of us are becoming aware of our own carbon footprint. (One trans-Atlantic trip leaves quite a wake.)

Weekend trips are always a great option. Offering rest and relaxation for those of us who do not have the time (or resources) for an extended vacation — or who simply do not enjoy being away from the comforts that home offers for too long.

Here are a few destinations on my radar. Hoping one is close to you:

Kentucky Horse Country. Don’t even get me started about this destination. (It’s been on my wish list for years). Start with the horses, move on to lush green farms, and end with the race to end all races — the Kentucky Derby. Whether you decide to visit Louisville or Lexington, charm abounds.

You had me at “neigh”.

Vacation-wise this locale has always eluded me. I’m over it. Next time, it’s my pick. I’m pretty sure I would opt to stay at either an estate or a B & B. But, that’s entirely up to you. These properties can be quite beautiful. Inspiring, really.

Mare With Her Colt On Pastures Of Horse Farms.
Kentucky Bed & Breakfast Association

Chicago. Old blues eyes was right — Chicago is your kind of town. Great architecture (take a tour), food (Don’t miss Wolfy’s) and shopping (if that’s your thing). I had the pleasure of calling it home for a short time (I was born in Hyde Park) — and the number of memorable spots are countless. My all time favorite thing was Black & white creme brulee & coffee at The Pump Room. But, sadly, it recently closed. You can still hit the venues that Sinatra and the rest of the “Rat Pack” called home. See some great ideas from Smithsonian.com right here.

2013-07-24 13.32.48

Austin, Texas. This place is the like the big little town that could. It’s a state capital and a college town and a foodie mecca and a bit alternative all at the same time. (Yet, somehow it still retains that “Texas” feel) How does Austin do that! The food is decidedly great (Can you say brisket on the Bar-B-Q?). Don’t forget to “two-step” while you are there — it’s loads of fun, once you master the rhythm. (See a list of hot spots here.)

Franklin Barbecue
Bill Addison/Eate

Do you have a weekend destination that is just perfect for you? Share it with all of us.

Dr. Marla Gottschalk writes about life and career. Her posts have appeared at various outlets worldwide including US News & World Report, Forbes, Quartz and The World Economic Forum.

Live.Work.Think.Play shares observations concerning a wide array of topics from running a company — to the fragrance. It is designed to share lessons learned from a variety of perspectives.