I am so excited to start 2020 with this amazing conversation with Kelly Cheatle, Artistic Director at Airigami! We talk about living a creative life, how we’re all connected and responsible for our contributions and what that has to do with Stone Soup and my sense of wonder was reignited by the impermanence and beauty available to us within art.

Be sure to follow Kelly and the work created by Airigami:





In this episode, we’re going to talk to Genie Gratto. She is a consultant that works in the non-profit space around storytelling and communication. We get into some tactical things about how you can look at the stories you’re telling yourself, and some stories that have impacted us. 

I really love this conversation — Genie shares a piece of advice in here that was such a good reminder for me and I don’t want to bury it in the episode, so I’ll give you this now so you can put it on a post-it note. When you ask, people almost never turn you down. Why are you holding yourself back from asking?

This is a great episode, let’s get into it.

Where you can find Genie:

Website: https://www.gwrites.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/egratto

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/egratto

What if you REALLY took off around Thanksgiving?

4 days can be the reboot you need to feel more fulfilled at work and home

We’re kicking off the first full week of November and I wanted to invite you to do something with me. I want to invite you to really, truly, take off the 4 days around Thanksgiving.
“I always take it off!” you say. But I know you. You’ve checked your work email. You’ve tried to “catch-up”. You’ve gone to check the recipe from Alton Brown to be sure you’re not going to totally ruin the turkey and then 20 minutes later found yourself saying “Why can’t Phillipe in Europe just celebrate today and leave me alone!” You’re not alone in this.
What does it look like to really take those 4 days off:
  • Block your calendar TODAY including the Monday morning you get back until after lunch.
  • Reschedule anything that’s already been scheduled and decline standing meetings.
  • Update your signature the week of November 18th to let people know you’ll truly be unavailable November 28th – December 2nd at 1pm local time.
  • Write your OOO message the day before you’re off.
  • Put your work devices out of sight.
  • Remove email, your calendar, slack, asana, wrike, Monday, basecamp and all of the work demands from your phone.
  • Make a list of fun things you want to see happen in the natural flow of the days you’re taking off.
  • A new Sunday night ritual
Let’s break these things down:
Block your calendar TODAY including the Monday morning you get back until after lunch.
We all know that things come up at the last minute but the biggest source of our problems isn’t the last minute. It’s claiming what we want and need ahead of time. We need to set the boundaries.
This is a simple effort but it’s one we can easily overlook. Block your calendar the days you’ll be off. Are you considering taking Wednesday too? Go ahead and block it. You can always open it back up later.
Please note, I’m suggesting you block Monday morning too. Why? Because if your day starts off with a sprint on Monday your Sunday night just became very fraught emotionally.
You might face a bit of initial resistance to blocking the time off…what if something comes up. Trust me, people have no problem asking for what they need. It’s time for you to claim what you need too.
Reschedule anything that’s already been scheduled and decline standing meetings.
“I simply can not decline this meeting. I will just do this one meeting. The rest of the time will be all family.” I’ve said this. I’d love to pass this off on a client but this is all me.
Here’s the truth: we’re terrible a juggling the different hats we wear. If I know that I’ve got a 10 am meeting, even if it’s just 30 minutes, even if it’s not hard, I will struggle with being present with my family. It will be the thing in the way of us making pies, it will be the thing in the way of me getting out paint for Turkey art, it will be the thing in the way of me and a nap.
Decline and reschedule. Here’s a sample script:
Decline the Standing Meetings: Clearing my schedule for my planned out of office time. I’ll circle back the week of if there are any outstanding deliverables for me on this call. Thank you!
Reschedule One-Off Meetings: You’re a step ahead of me on planning November. I’m not going to be in the office November 28th – December 2nd around mid-day. I’d prefer to have this scheduled before/after (SELECT ONE) can we find another good time?
Set the Expectation
Update your email signature the week of November 18th to let people know you’ll truly be unavailable November 28th – December 2nd at 1pm local time.
This is not complicated but it does help people set their expectations correctly in the week leading up to you being out of the office.
Write your OOO message the day before you’re off.
You’re going to be off the work grid for this time so you want to make sure you check this box. On top of this OOO get AMAZING open rates. Think about it. Someone emails you and they get an IMMEDIATE reply: They open it. So let’s put it to work:
I’ll be out of the office until Monday, December 2nd with limited access to email. If we haven’t already, let’s get connected on LinkedIn you can find me here: INSERT LINK TO YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE. 
Here’s mine – now I work in marketing and I love to write so I got a little creative:
You emailed me and I’m out of the office. I’ve done something radical: I took email off my phone. I know, I know, it gave me a bit of a panic attack at first too.
But, I intend to come back to you on Monday with a full take of renewed energy, a few notebook pages full of ideas and happy.
As I won’t be playing email tennis with you I issue you one challenge while I’m away: Make something. Pancakes, pie, a countdown to a new decade, a status update, a worksheet, a memory, a goal, a smile. I’ll be doing the same. If this is an emergency call 911.
If you need more of this energy go ahead and follow me and catch up on my blog posts on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cass-mccrory
Put your work devices out of sight.
This is true of Halloween candy, your sloppy sweatpants and your computer. If it’s out of sight it’s easier kept out of mind. Put it in a file cabinet, on the top shelf, on your treadmill (hahaha) or leave it in the office.
Remove email, your calendar, slack, asana, wrike, Monday, basecamp and all of the work demands from your phone.
Want to know something really crazy? Your thumb will reflexively go to the places those apps used to inhabit. Replace it with something that would actually help you like the Insight Timer for meditation.
Make a list of fun things you want to see happen in the natural flow of the days you’re taking off.
You could plan. You’re great at planning but that’s not generating the kind of ease and flow you’re seeking in this time away. Do this instead: Make a list (with your family) of fun things you’d like to see happen. This isn’t a comprehensive to-do list. This is not the minute-by-minute playbook that is a Turkey dinner. This is the stuff you’d like to see happen.
  • Make a delicious meal and eat it by candlelight alone
  • Fire in the fireplace
  • Finish watching Jack Ryan Season 2
  • Drop off the coats that no longer fit your family to a shelter
  • Get out the Christmas decorations
  • Make a pie from scratch
  • Read a book
  • Go through the photo albums
  • Eat an entire meal of cheese, meats, crackers and spreads
  • Read a magazine cover to cover
  • Wander around a used bookstore
  • Make a blanket fort
  • Get a pedicure
  • Have a date night
  • Get the ingredients and make a craft cocktail at home
  • Arrange fresh flowers
  • Buy someone you don’t know coffee
  • Your first annual viewing of National Lampoons Christmas Vacation
There’s only one caveat of the entire list. What doesn’t happen doesn’t matter. What the list does is creates an invitation for fun to happen! You’re bringing the possibilities into the light.
A new Sunday night ritual
It’s easy to get sucked into the work on Sunday night. Get ahead of it and all. But it’s an illusion and it’s not fair to yourself or the promise contained within this time off.
So instead I want to help create a new Sunday night ritual. It’s called: How do I want to show up this week? And it goes like this. Without planning, without dread, without expectations.
Ask yourself this question: How do I want to show up this week? And then, you’re going to do something revolutionary. You’re going to hold the space for you to answer this question. It won’t come in an instant. I find that it happens after I write I don’t know a handful of times. And then I ask myself: If you were to know, what do you think now?
How you show up is everything. Have you ever had someone slam a cup of coffee on a table and then pour the cup about 70% full and then walk away without acknowledging you? That’s a completely different experience than someone setting a cup down, smiling at you, filling up the cup, asking if you want room for cream and then saying warmly “enjoy!” That’s the how you show up.
What will this break do for you?
I suspect it will showcase what is really important in your life. Your personal relationships will improve. You’ll feel a bit refreshed. You will rest better on Friday night than you have in a really really long time. You’ll start to smile a bit easier at the observations within your day-to-day. You might miss work a little bit and it’s good to pay special attention to what specifically you miss. You might feel worried about some things at work too and that’s important to note as well.
Breaks invite awareness. Awareness is the doorway to being more intentional. And intentionality puts us on a path of greater personal and professional fulfillment.
Tell me. Are you going to REALLY take it off?

In this episode, we meet Tess Wicks, a wealth and mindset coach and founder of Wander Wealthy. We talk about our beliefs around money, how being of service should be our primary goal in business and what it means to live a multifaceted life. Tess shares with us what it’s like to transition to a new chapter of her life in Italy, while still maintaining some home bases in the US. We come away from this conversation with some very tactical tools and great questions to help increase financial acumen and cultivate a broader definition of wealth.

Where you can find Tess:

Website: http://www.wanderwealthy.com

Instagram: @tess_wicks

References mentioned:

 Tapping into Wealth: How Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) Can Help You Clear the Path to Making More Money by Margaret Lynch

In today’s episode, we meet Hazel Gale. Hazel is an author, speaker, cognitive hypnotherapist and ex-world champion in full-contact kickboxing. I love a good pun so I’ll share this: While Hazel stepped out of the ring professionally she still can knock people out and this episode does this.

We start our conversation with the work she’s called to do today and the journey to getting there which took her through so many different places and types of work and we revel in the beauty of the journey.  Hazel provided the best definition of cognitive hypnotherapy I have ever heard:

Cognitive Hypnotherapy convinces the mind to release the problem to accept a solution instead. 

To that end, Hazel shared some incredible questions that we’ve pulled together as a download for you.  Simply put in your email address in the form below and you’ll get instant access to these questions in a print-ready PDF.

Where you can follow Hazel:

Website: http://www.hazelgale.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hazel.gale.therapy

Medium: https://www.medium.com/@hazelgale

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/hazelgale

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hazelgalehypnotherapy


References mentioned:

Book: SuperBetter: The power of living gamefully by Jane McGunigal


In this episode, we meet Suzi Russell, a nurse, mother, educator, and nurturer. A lifelong nurse, Suzi is also a local producer and director of community theatre. She talks about the different seasons of her career and the space that it took to create it, and shares powerful magic and medicine around what we do with our lives. We cover the convergence of motherhood and professional development, the journey to feeling “enough,” and the power of opening oneself up to learning from others.

Based in New South Wales, Australia, Suzi knew she wanted to become a nurse since she was four years old. She found her place within the professional space within the healthcare field and most recently transitioned to becoming a nurse educator at the local university. “How can I make a difference? How can I make a difference with my colleagues? For my patients? And the answer for me has been to move into education,” she shares. Suzi reflects on the power of asking “what if” questions, the importance of putting yourself first, and how to live a meaningful life.

In this episode, we meet Jennifer Racioppi, a coach and astrologer who works with women on how to maximize their lives, from living in sync with who they really are to maximizing productivity that doesn’t lead to burnout. She works with an astrological lens and calls these important lifestyle shifts the rhythm of success. We talk about the definition of rhythm, the benefits that come with syncing to the moon’s phases, and the two reactions we have to anything we get into.

Formerly involved within the consulting space, Jenn shifted to entrepreneurship in order to create a workflow that works for her and her health. After a personal health crisis in her late teenage years, Jenn embarked on a healing journey that introduced her to working with the lunar cycle. Jenn shares the importance of positive psychology and integrated wellness in her life, what it means to be a velvet hammer and how it can transform your approach to efficiency, and how the “two percent idea” can enact meaningful change in your life.
Connect with Jenn on Instagram @jennracioppi, visit her blog at www.jenniferracioppi.com, and join her for her free 28 Day Moon Cycle Manifestation and Embodiment Challenge beginning in August, a practice designed to amplify your health by harnessing the power of the moon. Register on her website at www.jenniferracioppi.com/challenge. If you’re curious about an influential book in Jenn’s life, check out Your Heart’s Desire: Instructions for Creating the Life You Really Want by Sonia Choquette at a bookseller near you.

In this episode we chat with Kerri Mulqueen, an Assistant Professor of Education at Manhattan College in the Bronx, New York. She’s had a robust career in education, working as a high school teacher and administrator before shifting towards educating future teachers in her work at an institute of higher education. Kerri shares some amazing insight on the ins and outs of being an educator who teaches future educators and the empowerment that comes from being open to learning throughout your career.

Kerri also reflects on the challenges that she’s faced as a mother with a child with severe food allergies, how she advocates for her son (and models advocacy to others), and the importance of asking for help. She shares the meaning that comes from approaching your career as a process and finding value in being vulnerable.

If you’re curious about Kerri’s book recommendations, check out The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron, and Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom by Lisa Delpit at a bookseller near you.