Lessons from Elf. Lesson #4 - Be Known for Something.

As Buddy the Elf reminds everyone, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.

And so, when some holiday hijinks involving Santa ensues, those who know Buddy start singing carols and get an entire crowd of people to join in. Wouldn’t you know, the extra cheer was exactly what was needed to save the day!

So why did people think to start singing? Because it’s one of the things Buddy was known for: his Christmas spirit.

Just like Buddy, we’re all going to be known for something (even if we’re known only by a small circle of people).

Have you thought about the legacy you want to have? 

People sometimes can recognize our strengths, but that’s not usually what we’re known for.

I spent my entire career in corporate delivering on results and doing my best work, but what most people told me when I left was that they were going to miss my… enthusiasm. Wait. What? Aren’t you going to miss the awesome software? Nope. It’s the way I could get people to care about and be excited about the software.

Today, it’s the same feedback I get from clients since I stepped away from corporate to start my coaching business. My enthusiasm helps them get excited about stuff that they ordinarily would avoid. 

I’m known for my enthusiasm and fair warning, it can be pretty contagious!!!!!!!!! (NOTE: One exclamation point simply would not do here).

Now it’s your turn to think about what you ARE known for and what you WANT to be known for.

Are they the same thing? Do you need to make small changes to align them or big changes, like Ebeneezer Scrooge on Christmas morning? Write down the legacy you want to have and ideas on how you can start sharing it with others.

Buddy wasn’t afraid to own being known for his Christmas spirit and we shouldn’t be either.

Sing your own praises loud for all to hear! Tell me, what are you known for? Or what do you want to be known for going forward? I’m excited (enthusiastic, even) to hear what you have to share!


Lessons from Elf. Lesson #3 - Design Your Ideal Day.

Once Buddy the Elf reunites with his dad and gets invited to stay in a human home, Buddy is pretty pumped to hang out. He’s got a lot of expectations for an awesome time, so he writes out a to-do list on an etch-a-sketch, naturally.

Buddy: “I planned out our whole day. First we make snow angels for two hours, and then we’ll go ice skating, and then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookie Dough as fast as we can, and then to finish, we’ll snuggle.”

Sounds pretty awesome, right? 

Unfortunately, Buddy’s dad is focused on getting to work and declines to do anything on the list. Boo!

Although it didn’t materialize right away for Buddy, there’s a lot of power in designing your ideal day and working to bring it into being.

There’s joy in the clarity of knowing what you want and setting boundaries to make sure it happens.

So here’s your question to ponder for this week: What would it look like if you were designing your work and life to be ONLY the things you were most excited for? 

Sounds pretty awesome, right? 

Think about what it would look like to not only enjoy what you’re doing daily at work (remember: make work your favorite), but in all areas of your life.  What if you could design your ideal day and, unlike Buddy, live it out?

I dare you to pass through the seven levels of the candy cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, go through the Lincoln Tunnel and share your ideal day with someone!


Photo created by me.

As a responsible human raised by elves, Buddy likes to stick to the 4 main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup. He dislikes coffee and spaghetti (when served without syrup). 

Buddy knows what fuels him and what makes him feel bad. 

That’s an important lesson. 

There’s really 2 pieces to it:

  1. Knowing what fuels you
  2. Prioritizing what fuels you

I know it can also be challenging to figure out what DOES work for you and my best advice is to experiment. Try something out and pay attention to how you feel. Do you have more energy as a result? Start with making a list of what you know fuels you and makes you feel your best. Then, keep adding on as you try new things.

And here’s step two. Once you know what fuels you, it’s critically important that you prioritize it. Not once a year or once a quarter. DAILY.

When you don’t know what fuels you, or worse, don’t prioritize what fuels you, you’re going to feel off and out of sorts. And it can be hard to put your finger on exactly what is causing it.

For example, if you know that you need some quiet prep time before your work day begins in order to operate at your best, then showing up late and heading straight into a meeting is not going to work for you. That overwhelmed feeling follows you the rest of the day.

Instead, let’s take a cue from Buddy and stick to candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup!

I challenge you to schedule one thing that fuels you THIS WEEK and then tell me about it. 


Lessons from Elf - Lesson 1. Make Work Your Favorite

Smiling’s My Favorite

Welcome to December! This time of year you’ll usually find me making recipes in the kitchen or watching certain holiday movies. I’m a sucker for the Muppet Christmas Carol, Love Actually, even Die Hard. And of course, one of my all-time favorites, Elf. 

I am endlessly entertained by Will Farrell in this holiday classic. I quote the movie year round. I also see no reason not to wear my “Smiling’s my favorite” t-shirt EVERY month of the year. 

There are a lot of lessons to be taken from Elf too, so for the rest of December, I want to share them with you. And we’ll start with the quote from my fave shirt.

Buddy the Elf: I just like to smile. Smiling’s my favorite. 

Gimbel’s Manager (aka his boss): Make work your favorite.  

Make Work Your Favorite

That conversation between Buddy and his manager makes me laugh every time I see Elf.

But here’s something I like to ask my clients: What if work really was your favorite? What if you truly enjoyed the key elements of your job while sharing your strengths with the world? 

Anyone who’s been around here for even a little while knows I talk a lot about the importance of money, meaning, and impact because those are the reasons we all go to work. And when there’s a misalignment in any one of those things, it’s impossible for work to be your favorite.

If you’re having a hard time imagining work being your favorite (trust me, I’ve been there!), here’s a collection of articles and blog posts I’ve written around money, meaning, and impact that just might help you figure out what to do next.

And since we’re in the season of making a list and checking it twice, here’s my other suggestion: Start a list of your favorite things at work.

Before we can make any changes to something, it’s important to know where we’re at. The easiest way to create your list is to pay attention to your activities for the next week and to write down any that you loved or got big energy from doing. 

When you know your favorite parts about work, you can start to intentionally incorporate more of them into your everyday.

Need help? Tell me about the ways work isn’t your favorite and I’ll get back to you. Yup. My work is my favorite and I love reading and replying to your questions and comments! 

And finally: Not familiar with Elf (*gasp*) or want to watch it for the kajillionth time like me? Check out the clip here.