Month: March 2023

Are you guilty of busyness?

Are you guilty of busyness?

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting a new client who joined our call in a whirlwind of frenzy. She said she might preform better if she could do more with less time, and referred to her “run on the bullet train”. Can you relate?

Busyness has hit crisis levels. Busyness, as defined by Merriam-Webster is “the state of having or being involved in many activities”. The example they give is: As with “routine work and exercise, busyness as an end in itself”.

During Covid we slowed down, now things have sped up again. Working in the office most of the time is back to pre-pandemic levels, work travel is in full swing and many of us are trying to catch up on those lost vacations, parties and weddings that did not happen during the pandemic. Even traffic is back. For me, at least, it feels more crazy now than before the pandemic. Busyness is back!


The greatest enemy of good thinking is busyness.

John Maxwell

Worth the Share

In this month’s issue of Harvard Business Review, they featured an article “Beware of the Culture of Busyness”.

Since busyness is not celebrated in other countries like Italy for example, this quote sums up the challenge that busyness creates in our culture: “Busyness has become a status symbol.

People also consider those who exert high effort to be “morally admirable,” regardless of their output.”

To solve for this chronic problem with busyness, the author Adam Waltz suggests five things:

  • Reward output not just activity: while this can be tricky, it is worth determining how you can adjust goals so that team members are compensated for what they actually deliver.
  • Assess whether your organization is generating deep work and eliminating low value work: one of my clients is focused on this at his company. It was a real shift in their culture that is paying dividends.
  • Force people off the clock: time-off is critical to living a full, healthy life. Detaching can be difficult for some but learning to take time off is good for your mental and physical health.
  • Model the right behavior: a client, who was the executive director of a non-profit, took a three-week trip to Africa last year. After the initial shock, her team warmed to the idea of running the show while she was gone. She modeled the behavior and had the trip of a lifetime.
  • Build slack into the system: this is a bold idea that sounds expensive for companies but when you invest, it can be a game changer. Seth Godin said: “systems with slack are more resilient”.

For much more detail on why we are addicted to busyness and what to do about it, read on.

And Finally...

What can you do with this information about busyness? If you have been reading my blog for a while you will know that one of my favorite words is “intentional”. How are you spending your time? What do you want more of? What do you want less of? What can you cut out?

Perhaps you will do a busyness audit on your time, and determine how to add more slack into your days. Maybe you can take time to truly disconnect from technology and take a nice long vacation or two!

Have a great week.

Mary Jo

To learn more about my 1:1 executive, communication or business growth coaching, custom virtual workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at

How can you do it?

How can you do it?

Over the years, I have heard that you can’t motivate someone else, that motivation is intrinsic to the person. Yet, one of my clients asked me to create and facilitate a workshop on topic of motivation, so I happily took on the challenge. In the process, I learned a lot.

First, a challenge. Another client recently told me about this exercise which I have used quite a bit lately, with interesting results.

Here are four words: autonomy, competition, compensation and recognition.

Think about you own personal motivation. Which of the four words most resonates with you? You can only pick one. Think about it. Which word did you choose and why? That answer will help you have more clarity around what really motivates you, and perhaps be a guiding light for you when your motivation is waning.


If you believe it’ll work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you don’t believe it’ll work out, you’ll see obstacles.

Wayne Dyer

Worth the Share

What do you do when you are not feeling motivated? Maybe it is because the crazy economic news this week is upsetting or you are just worn down by work or family issues. Whatever the reason, there is something you can do about it.

This article, written by Nora Tobin for Fast Company, focuses on shifting the neural pathways of the brain to “set a strategy for optimal outcomes”.

Here are the highlight’s of Nora’s roadmap

  • Start with the Why – this is the key. Be specific.
  • Aim for Consistency – set goals regularly. Build the habit.
  • Create an Action Plan – do the goal setting exercise. Everyday.
  • Shift Your Mindset – observe and neutralize negative thoughts.
  • Limit the Number of Goals – prioritize what really matters.
  • Be Ambitious – aim high, optimize your time. Go!

For more context around these insights, read The Brains Survival Guide to Get Motivated After a Setback.

And Finally...

Back to the workshop. There are dozens of different tactics that you can use to create a motivating environment for your team such as flexible scheduling, asking for their opinions, giving them time off, or stretch assignments.

As leaders, knowing what motivates each of your team members is critical. We are all different, and when it comes to motivation,

what motivates each of us is different. One of your team members may be motivated by recognition and for another, recognition might make them uncomfortable. Of course most of us will say that money motivates us but I will challenge you to dig deeper.

Finding out what motivates you and each of your team members will help to significantly increase engagement, a key metric for successful organizations.

Have a great week.
Mary Jo

To learn more about my 1:1 executive, communication or business growth coaching, custom virtual workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at

Are you a leader?

Are you a leader?

I often talk with clients about the difference between management and leadership, and most can clearly articulate those differences. Management is about executing or getting things done while leaders focus on motivating and inspiring people.

Of course, anyone can be a leader. You don’t need to manage people to be a leader, but true leaders are special. They are easy to spot. Maybe they have more executive presence than others, connect easily with people or communicate in a way that makes people want to follow them. Whether old or young, true leaders show up differently than other people. They exhibit what I call “power with ease”, they are comfortable leading people and comfortable with themselves.

What is your interest in elevating your leadership skills?


If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more,
do more and become more, you are a leader.

John Quincy Adams

To get more granular about the topic of leadership, this Forbes article offers some specific advice. Here are author Jennifer Cohen’s six tips:

Leaders lead: they take initiative, they jump in and lead others naturally, rather than waiting to be asked or told. They volunteer, raise their hand and move forward.

They move their body: here the author is talking about exercise, which is important. To build on that, leaders need to take good care of their whole selves and remain calm under pressure.

They make lists: I am not sure I would include this one. While lists are important, I think being a strategic thinker or having a vision for the future matters more. Leaders innovate.

They listen: This is hugely important. I have written about listening before and coach on the topic frequently. Listen to all opinions and then take time to reflect on them. Be willing to admit that you are wrong is important too.

They are open to evolving: Leaders have a growth mindset, are continuously learning, and are open to new ideas.

They enjoy life: This dovetails with self-care. Living a full life is good for the soul. Take that vacation, leave the office early to attend an event, or enjoy a hobby. As a leader, show your team that living a healthy life is encouraged.

Read on to learn more.

And Finally...

Today, I worked with a client who clearly demonstrated Inspirational Leadership as he was talking about how he would address a thorny issue with two of his department heads. Inspirational Leadership is one of the competencies of Emotional Intelligence (EI).

Daniel Goleman, the father of EI defines Inspirational Leadership as “having the ability to inspire others to align their actions towards a common goal or vision, to get the job done, and to bring out their best qualities along the way. With inspiration you can connect with something meaningful, and articulate a shared mission and/or values in a way that motivates people and offers a sense of purpose beyond day-to-day tasks.” In today’s world, Inspirational Leadership is critical if you want to build something special.

Any questions, reach out anytime.

Talk soon,
Mary Jo
To learn more about my 1:1 executive, communication or business growth coaching, custom virtual workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at