Guest contributions:

04.22.13  Uncommon Leadership 

04.02.15  Switch and Shift  

05.13.15  Better Practice Team Performance

05.29.15  Better Practice Team Performance

07.08.15  Switch and Shift 

07.14.15  Better Practice Team Performance

10.05.15  Switch and Shift 

Stacey's Reading List...


"Tribe of Mentors" by Timothy Ferriss

"Shortcut" by John Pollack 

"Seeing What Others Don't" by Gary Klein

"Several Short Sentences About Writing" by Verlyn Klinkenborg

"The Birkman Method - Your Personality at Work" by Sharon Birkman Fink and Stephanie Capparell

"Creative Intelligence" by Bruce Nussbaum 

"Improv Wisdom" by Patricia Ryan Madson

"Training To Imagine" by Kat Koppett

"Quiet" by Susan Cain

"Where Good Ideas Come From" by Steven Johnson

"A Whole New Mind" by Daniel H. Pink

"Emotional Intelligence" by Daniel Goleman 

"Rework" by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson  

"The Leadership Pipeline" by Ram Charan, Stephen Drotter, James Noel  

"Life:  Selected Quotations" by Paulo Coelho 

"Deep Change" by Robert Quinn

"The Power of Full Engagement" by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz  

"The Way of the Shepherd" by Dr. Kevin Leman and William Pentak  

"Developing the Leader Within You" by John Maxwell  

"Mr. Peabody's Apples" by Madonna

"Orbiting the Giant Hairball" by Gordon MacKenzie




blog archive

Repacking Your Bags...

Originally published as Guest Commentary in the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal (August 19, 2013)

Author and executive coach Marshall Goldsmith writes “what got you here won’t get you there”.  I translate that to mean that different stages of our careers require different skill sets.  What has served us well in the past may not be the force multiplier for the next leg of our journey.  And if life is the proverbial road trip, then it might serve us well to stop every now and then to check what we’ve packed in our bags.  

The following exercise is for all of us who are moving into a different phase. 

Unpack your bags:

Take inventory of all that you have accumulated thus far:  skills, talents, behaviors, beliefs, assumptions and expectations.  Ask yourself the hard questions:

  • What has worked well for me (what has been useful)…?
  • What has the potential to limit me or hold me back (what is not-useful)…?
  • What takes up precious cargo space (noise)…?

This is an exercise that requires intense self-examination.  A taking stock of where you’ve been while also anticipating what’s ahead.  If there ever was a time to lighten the load, this is it.  The ultimate question simply becomes "what do I really need to carry…?" as I move into the next phase of my life.  

Repack your bags:

Pack your bags by intentionally selecting what goes in.  It’s very likely that the examination process shifted your perspective a bit, giving you more to consider yet less to carry.  And by lightening the load, you’ve created room for new “stuff” – new experiences, new discoveries, new thought processes resulting in new growth spurts. 

With any luck this process of unpacking and repacking your bags won’t be too painful, because we’re apt to do it many times over throughout our lives.  Our paths are not linear.  Careers change, lives change, we change geographically and metaphorically.  Change really is the only constant. 

Not too long ago I had the chance to examine the contents of my own bags. As a bit of self-disclosure, I will admit that I am structured.  Very structured.  My world operates on routine, discipline, and order.  These are fine qualities in and of themselves, but just like anything else, too much of a good thing is still TOO MUCH!  So in terms of unpacking, it was about setting down some of this rigidness, and repacking was about adding more fluidity to my world.  This is where improvisational comedy came into my life.  Nearly everything about improv is counter to who I am at the core of my being.  Allowing myself the opportunity to experience true spontaneity – to give up control – has been euphoric.  And even though I’m still somewhat rigid, I’m embracing far more unscripted life moments, which has given me a level of freedom I never had before.    

My example of repacking is behavior-based, an examination of my mindset between two dichotomies, structure and spontaneity.  But repacking is a mindset that can be applied to just about any type of change or transition:  careers, finances, family, relationships, responsibilities, hobbies and interests, health and wellness, even what type of pet to adopt or what kind of car to drive.  You’re posing new questions to yourself, looking at things from a new point of view, and deciding what you really need to carry in your bags.  Everyone is unique and every journey is personal.  Repack accordingly.

A good rule of thumb might be, when the landscape changes, it’s time to repack your bags.  

Congratulations to the newest inductees into the Forty under 40.  I wish you perspective and perseverance as you continually unpack and repack your bags.  Safe travels. 

Still, I am learning (and repacking my bags)

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