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Recently, the New York Times published an article about a man who, when faced with his own mortality, finally began to realize what was truly important in life. Jonathan Frostick had been working nonstop as a manager at an investment bank when he was struck with a sudden heart attack. As he was being rushed to the hospital, he thought, “This isn’t convenient. I need to meet with my manager tomorrow.” Only later, as the dust settled and he began to recover in the hospital, did he realize how twisted those sentiments were. He had been concerned about his heart attack being an inconvenience.

That’s when Jonathan made a decision. He would begin to focus on what really mattered to him in life. He would spend more time with his family. He would step away from work more often and not get tangled up in workplace drama. He would stop spending so many long, tedious hours on Zoom and begin to enjoy life a bit more.

Jonathan’s experience can be a lesson for us all. When we’re faced with a life-altering situation, we suddenly begin to gain a bit more perspective. We realize what to hang onto…and what to let go.

In your own life, what or whom do you love? What gives your life meaning? What brings you joy?

On the flipside, what causes you anxiety or angst? What do you dread? What drags you down or is tedious for you?

Although life isn’t always a bed of roses, it doesn’t have to be something you simply endure. Life is too short for that. It’s too short to be caught up in a job you hate. It’s too short to put up with people who do not lift you up or support you. It’s too short to be miserable.

Take the time to reflect on your life at this moment and how things, as a whole, are going for you. Are you mostly satisfied, but could stand to tweak some aspects of your life? Do you know you should make some changes to truly find your joy? Or, are you downright miserable and need to completely overhaul one or more aspects of your life?

If you simply need to tweak a few things to get yourself back on track, start THIS WEEK. Maybe you’d like to spend more time with family. Maybe you’re disappointed you let go of a beloved hobby and want to get back into it. Or maybe you need to improve your communication with others and want to start being more honest and transparent. Whatever the case, I encourage you to start making changes now. Why wait? They say the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago…and the second best time is today.

But what if you feel that you need a complete overhaul?

If things are truly not going well, it may be uncomfortable to be honest with yourself and your situation. It can be downright terrifying to think about changing career paths or exiting a harmful relationship. But in the end, it’s worth it to take a leap and make the necessary changes. Keep in mind, you don’t have to do it alone. Make an appointment with a therapist or career coach. Talk to a trusted friend who has also made major life changes or who is simply a good listener.

If you’re not fully happy with your trajectory CHANGE IT. Don’t wait until you’re faced with a life or death situation to finally gain perspective and course correct. You deserve to live your fullest, happiest life.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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If you’re among the many people who have been working from home for over a year, it may be time to spruce things up and clean your space. Papers tend to get shuffled into stacks, odds and ends tend to get crammed into drawers. It’s a good idea to take some time to pay attention to your work space.

Why tidy your home office?

For one, it will make things easier to find and keep track of. Though you may have to invest a few hours to clean your space now, you’ll save time in the future.

Secondly, having a clean work area can help put you in the right mindset. Decluttering your space can help to declutter you mind, reduce stress, and increase self-esteem. You’ll likely find yourself breathing easier once you’ve tidied up your space.

Where to begin cleaning?

Start by taking a good look at your work space and thinking about what needs to be improved. Are you in need of a new filing system? Could you benefit from a “to do” box? Would a large whiteboard calendar be useful for organizing? Are you thinking about swapping out your current desk for a standing desk? Identify your big-picture needs before getting to work.

Quick Tips for Home Office Cleaning:

  • Remove the clutter. It can be helpful to take everything out of your office before putting anything back in. That way, you can thoroughly clean the space and start afresh with your organization.
  • Sort papers efficiently! Create a recycling pile, a shred pile, and a filing pile. Once you have your filing pile, turn on some background music and get to work! Make sure your file folders are logical and well-labeled.
  • Make sure everything has a home. Even your paperclips and sticky notes deserve a place in your office.
  • Group similar items. For instance, you might create a letter station filled with envelopes, paper, stamps, mailers, and return address labels.
  • Buy drawer organizers. It’s easy to cram everything into a drawer and forget about it. Instead, shell out a few dollars for small, plastic drawer divers, like these by Madesmart.
  • Be logical. Keep the things you use the most (pens, notebooks, sticky notes, etc.) handy and within reach.
  • Commit to tidiness. Once you’ve revamped your space and reworked your filling and organizing systems, be sure to stick to them! Once per week, set aside time to take care of any filing or other organizational tasks that need to be done. If you keep up on the work, it won’t feel nearly as daunting.

Happy spring! Have fun reorganizing your space.


MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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Who are you? This can be both a simple and a daunting question at the same time. To make things even more complicated, you might change in small ways from moment to moment, and in larger ways from year to year. You are not (nor should you be!) stagnant, and it’s natural to grow and evolve as you move forward in life.

That’s what being human is all about.

This past year (a year that seemed about a decade long at times!), you might have shifted more than usual. Many of us had to reinvent ourselves and adapt to new life situations as we worked from home, attended video conferences, tutored our children at home, and were less able to enjoy public spaces. Shaking up your basic lifestyle might have forced you to discover new sides of yourself or lean into underdeveloped sides. Maybe you realized you’re more extroverted and social than you thought you were. Maybe you found that you actually enjoy working at home and setting your own schedule. 

Whether or not this past year brought substantial change for you, the fact remains that you are a complex, multi-faceted person and it’s difficult to thrive if you’re not embracing your whole self. Yes, that means acknowledging your trouble spots, too. You can’t work on changing those trouble areas if you ignore their existence.

To me, owning who you are means…

…Sticking closely to your values

Though you may change slightly from day to day, your core values should not. Unless you’ve had a major change of heart and have had to re-examine some fundamental areas in your life, your values should be one of the consistent features of your personality. Embrace them; live by them. Don’t compromise your values for a promotion or to fit in with others.

…Recognizing your strengths and the areas where you struggle

Whether you recognize it or not, I know you are multi-talented with an array of valuable skills. Perhaps you’re an excellent listener or someone who is good at analyzing data. Perhaps you’re highly organized. Or, maybe you’re creative in certain areas or are an innovative thinker. Don’t be afraid to recognize your skills (or interests) and lean into them. Capitalizing on your abilities will not only benefit you, but also your co-workers and anyone else around you. Your skills are a gift—use them!

On the other side of the coin, it’s valuable to understand and face your shortcomings. You could take two approaches: 1) Think of them as “areas of opportunity” and do your best to learn or improve or 2) Recognize that certain tasks/methods/activities/etc. are not for you and stick to what you know. If, for example, you are well-aware that you are much more of a creative person than an analytical one, it’s better to entrust others with data analysis and data-driven strategy. You’ll be doing everyone (including yourself!) a favor if you focus on what you do best.

…Consistently being yourself

Have you ever met someone who acted completely different around different groups of people? They seemed to be one person, then another—changing personalities like shoes.

Behaving in such a way can be off-putting and can leave people wondering who the real you is. That isn’t to say you can’t modify your behavior in certain situations with certain people. Of course you’ll act differently if you’re grabbing a casual cup of coffee with friends than you would at a company meeting. However, your core self can (and should!) remain consistent. Think of yourself like an M&M that comes in a variety of different colors—you’re still chocolate in the middle! And you’re not morphing from an M&M to a Twix bar to a Gummy Bear.

In sum: it’s fine to present the many shades of your personality. It gets problematic when you’re willing to compromise your values or completely change your thoughts, opinions, or beliefs when you’re around certain people.

Own who you are.


MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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