I walk regularly through my neighborhood. Not daily. Not at exactly the same time. Not the same route every time, but regularly enough where I find I need to shake up my routine.

Walking is one of those things that our bodies have made so automatic that we don’t usually have to think about it. Since I don’t have to use my brain for walking (hooray!), I typically use my walking time to think or listen to music or a podcast. But I also make it a point to change it up sometimes. 

I’m a naturally fast walker, so sometimes I purposely try to walk slowly. I intentionally notice and appreciate new things on my slow strolls. Sometimes, I try to walk faster than normal, which gets me more focused on how I’m moving and using my muscles. Sometimes I focus on my posture and I am usually surprised to discover that I’ve been spending my day a bit slouchy (I blame it on my abs-of-less-than-steel! Probably not a best seller in the fitness video genre… Moving on!).

All the different approaches to the same task of walking help me learn new things about myself. I can appreciate that my natural style (fast, efficient walking) sometimes needs to be adjusted, like when I walk with my 94-year-old uncle. He’s actually pretty spry for his age and I’ll admit I had a higher than average step count the last time he visited us! I also need to change up my natural style when I walk with my kids because they are infinitely curious and constantly stopping to investigate things. Just as I change it up when I’m chatting with a friend on a walk, where the discussion is more the point than the physical activity.

The same is true in our work. Each of us completes many tasks each day without thinking too hard about them. What routine tasks do you need to try with a new approach? If you normally spend hours crafting the perfect email, try setting a timer on your phone for 10 minutes and click send when it goes off. If you normally lead discussion or are the largest contributor in meetings, try listening for an hour (which will feel roughly like eternity!) instead and see what you learn.

The first time you shake up your routine, it’s going to feel strange and challenging and possibly uncomfortable. Pay attention to those feelings and then reflect on why that might be the case.

There are so many dimensions that make up our authentic selves and many of them we don’t think about because they are innate. Deliberately doing something differently can help you understand yourself more, learn a better approach, gain empathy for other’s perspectives, and open your eyes to a world around you that you’ve been missing.

You may not choose to keep the change long-term and that’s OK. It’s about learning and growing while expanding the edges of your comfort zone. What routine thing can you shake up this week?

Image by Chiemsee2016 from Pixabay

Are you feeling bored at work? Stuck doing the same tasks over and over without feeling like you’re making progress? Mindlessly following the same dull routines? It’s time to try something new. 

I’m not saying you need to start looking for a new job – there’s a lot of factors that go into that decision – but you absolutely need to get out of the rut you’re in. And here’s the great news if you’re not enjoying your job: the something new should be something completely unrelated to your day job.

In fact, the more unrelated it is to something you already know, the better!

That’s because our brains are infinitely complex. Science has only started to scratch the surface on understanding that complexity, but here’s the rationale: the new thing you try wakes your brain up by creating new neural pathways. So learning something new literally creates new connections in your brain, activating it in a way it hasn’t been before. Regardless of age, humans have the capacity to grow more pathways. How fantastic is that? New and improved go hand in hand!

In my own life, I work to keep learning a priority. This year, I made a commitment to try one new thing a month. It doesn’t take a ton of time, but it does take a little planning to make sure that a month doesn’t go by without scheduling something! I know that everyone is already overscheduled and overworked, which is why it’s especially important to have something on the calendar you actually WANT to do vs. all those have-to-do items.

Try to pick something that sounds interesting to you, or is on your bucket list of things to try “someday”. I don’t typically have a plan before the month starts on what type of activity I’m going to try. It depends on what’s being offered, what my schedule looks like, and how much time I can carve out. Sometimes, it’s an excursion to a museum sans my interrupting cows… aka alone. Sometimes it’s a free or low cost class. 

This month I tried a painting class at a library where the supplies were provided so all I had to do was show up. One month I watched a documentary and participated in a group discussion afterwards. Another month I went on a naturalist-led hike. There are endless possibilities to choose from, but know that you can’t choose incorrectly. Anything new will work. You don’t have to fall in love with a new hobby in order to reap the benefits from creating new neural pathways in your brain.

Here’s what I love about trying something new. When my brain wakes up, all of me wakes up. I end up living life more fully and authentically because I’m not on autopilot. It also helps jumpstart my creativity. Taking a break to try the unrelated new things often leads to breakthrough ideas of how to solve some of my tough work problems. Most importantly, trying something new is fun (once you get past the fear getting outside your comfort zone). I’ve met cool people, learned fascinating things, and said yes to a wide variety of activities as a result. And if we’re being honest, most of us need a little more fun in our lives!

If you’re looking for a way to make your current job more interesting and exciting, trying something new is a great way to get unstuck. Pick one thing and get started!


There’s always the latest thing that you have to try, buy, wear, or be. Frankly, it can be exhausting to try to keep up. Here’s the good news: you don’t have to!

It turns out that the harder you try to imitate someone else’s style, work patterns, or speech, the less authentic it appears. You can probably think of someone you’ve met that seems like they’re trying too hard. At its worst, they go beyond seeming insincere and move into unbelievable. 

Most of us have been there at some point in life where we edit our personality and approach to try to fit in. Maybe it was to impress the cool kids in high school. Or maybe it’s at your current job because you don’t feel like you can be yourself there. 

It becomes a vicious cycle where you try hard to act the way you think you need to, but no one buys it because it’s not really you, so you dig deeper and try even harder. That’s a game no one can win.

So why do we put ourselves through the agony then? It often stems from the fact that we overvalue what others bring to the table, while selling our own strengths short. Because your strengths are inherently easy for you, you assume that they must be easy for everyone (which is not the case at all, btw!).

The first step toward authenticity, then, is to identify and understand your strengths. Some people have a clear idea of what these are, and some people, like myself, take years to discover and acknowledge them. Once you have that piece, you need to merge it with your personal brand (all the pieces of you that create the total experience of working with you). 

Think about someone you’ve worked with that seems to be doing exactly what they were designed to do. In addition to being great at it, they also are truly enjoying themselves, even (and especially!) when the work is challenging. That’s what you want to target for yourself: doing the work you were designed to do, in only the way you can, using all your unique strengths.

It turns out that when you Work Authentically, the next big thing will be YOU! 

Do you need help with identifying your strengths or building your personal brand? I’d love to chat with you!


Image by Ulrike Mai from Pixabay

Last week, we talked about making progress and assessing if you’re getting closer or further from where you want to be. Today, let’s look at one of the ways you can make progress happen faster. It relies on at least one other person. 

Some of you are going to say, “Wait a minute, Ally! If I’m relying on another person, won’t it slow me down and keep me from making great progress on my own?” But here’s the thing, it actually helps you speed up and stay on track. That’s the beauty of having an accountability partner.

An accountability partner is a simple concept: it’s someone that you tell about a change you want to make and they help hold you accountable for making those changes. Basically, they are a checkpoint, a cheerleader, and sometimes a source of tough love as you go through your journey. 

Since change is hard, especially on your own, the more systems you can put in place to help you be successful, the better off you’ll be. This is one of those systems. It’s an achievement hack. I use it for generating progress on big dreams as well as small tasks, because it’s so effective. And if I’m being honest, it’s pretty fun too!

Here’s how it looks in real life.

As an entrepreneur, I have the freedom to decide how to spend my time, which is wonderful! But it also means I need to make sure I’m spending time on the most important things and not chasing after every squirrel-idea that crosses my path (which by the way is a LOT!). Enter my accountability partners! I meet with a group of entrepreneurs monthly to check in and hold each other accountable for making progress on those things that are most important to our respective businesses. None of us wants to show up to that meeting saying we made no progress, so we are each taking action over the course of the month to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Another example: as a career coach, I recommend to my clients that they update their career story (resume, LinkedIn, portfolio, etc.) every quarter. But let’s be honest, when left to our own devices, most of us aren’t going to do that. Unless you’re into the desperate place where your job has become soul-sucking and you are doing everything in your power to get out of there, in which case, I know a great career coach that can help! 

So instead of dreading making updates to your career story, schedule drinks or dinner (or both!) with a friend. Start out the gathering by taking 10 minutes to update your respective stories and reminding each other of the great accomplishments you’ve had over the quarter. Then kick back and enjoy dinner, knowing that you and your accountability partner have completed that task and that should your dream job open up next week, you’re completely ready for it!

Most people have tasks they dread, but love dinner and hanging out with friends, so feel free to employ this strategy for the variety of things you have a tendency to avoid. It’s an amazingly effective (and fun!) way to make progress.