This is the Too Many Trees newsletter, where I share what I’ve been writing and reading in the realm of leadership and personal development. My executive coaching practice is centered around the idea that we are more effective in moving towards our goals when we become more conscious and intentional in focusing our time and attention, and learn how our unconscious patterns are holding us back. If you know somebody that could benefit from my perspective, please forward this to them or let them know they can set up a free intro chat with me.

Mid-year check-in

June 24, 2023

It's the end of June! Somehow, we're already halfway through 2023, so I thought I would use this newsletter to reflect on the year to date, with a focus on celebrating what's going well (to reinforce those behaviors), rather than dwell on the infinite list of things I'm not doing.

My intention for 2023 was to connect with courage and vulnerability. I've been thinking of that intention as applying across a number of life domains, from connecting to myself, to family, to friends, to my clients, and to my community.

Physical health (connection to my body): I've been running more (28 times this year) despite never previously considering myself a runner. I've fallen out of the habit for a few weeks a couple times, but keep restarting, and am delighted to be able to cover 13 miles on foot without hurting myself. I also walk 30 minutes most days, which doubles as my podcast listening time.

Mental health (self-compassion): It's been a rough spring, as my family was sick for a month with a brutal cold, and my two-year-old is still regularly waking up screaming at night. Rather than beating myself up for not being as "productive" as "normal", I've been lowering my expectations for myself on those days, and even giving myself days off to recharge. These challenges have been a chance to practice my ability to accept what is happening and face it with equanimity.

Learning (connection to knowledge): I've read 19 books so far in 2023, as I shift more of my time to reading books rather than social media. I also listen to podcasts, primarily The Knowledge Project, the Reboot podcast, and Coaches Rising, occasionally Tim Ferriss when he has a guest I want to hear, and my guilty pleasure, the Lowe Post on NBA basketball. Favorite book so far this year was Us: Getting Past You and Me by Terrence Real, and favorite podcast episode was this Jim Dethmer discussion of the Pillars of Integrity to build energetic wholeness.

Family: Highlights include a spring break trip to Baja California, my son getting more confident at the climbing gym and on the ski slopes, and my daughter talking up a storm.

Friends: I've been seeking out opportunities to connect with new and old friends, and that's been great. In-person get-togethers after three years of pandemic seclusion have been a particular joy.

Coaching: My business has been a little slow this year due to the tech layoffs and macro uncertainty. But that's meant more time to work on the book, and to consider how to expand my personal brand e.g. pitching myself for speaking engagements and podcast appearances. And I continue to be delighted by helping my clients get unstuck and transform themselves into more impactful leaders.

Community: I've joined the citizen oversight board for my local library, which meets monthly, and have been participating in SV2, a nonprofit that focuses on connecting Silicon Valley people like me with their communities. I've particularly enjoyed a couple events with Redwood City Together.

Despite a few challenges, I'm satisfied with how this year has been going. For the second half, my intentions remain the same: to connect by building memories with family and friends, practice equanimity, and publish the book, while maintaining my health. Stretch goal will be to build my brand via speaking and podcast appearances.

How has your year been going? What do you intend for the rest of the year?

And now for the normal personal development content…
LinkedIn: These are ideas that have helped my clients (or myself), and that I share via LinkedIn to help a wider audience.
What I've recently found to be thought-provoking:
  • A visual illustration of how we create our reality. Six photographers were asked to take a picture to summarize a man. What they didn't know is that they were each told a different story about the man. They each framed their picture differently as a result, bringing out different aspects of the man, such that the six pictures barely looked like the same person. The conclusion: “A photograph is shaped more by the person behind the camera than by what's in front of it.”
  • I appreciate Arwa Mahdawi's weekly Guardian column, This Week In Patriarchy. Last week's edition summed up why trans rights are human rights, after a nine-year-old girl was harassed for not looking feminine enough. "The war on trans people isn’t just a trans issue. Ultimately, it’s a war on anyone who doesn’t conform to narrow gender norms. ... Unless you fit the very narrow specifications of what conservatives think a woman looks and acts like, they are going to come for you too."
  • After hearing Annahid Dashtgard on the Reboot podcast, I read her book The Bones of Belonging, a collection of personal and touching essays on the experience of being an immigrant woman of color, constantly questioning whether her experience would be different as a native with different skin. She shares how she internalized the mainstream narrative in which she was immersed, and rejected herself and her cultural heritage, before learning to step into her own power and embrace her uniqueness by creating her own belonging.
Thanks for reading! See you in a couple weeks!
Selfie from a recent trail run to Black Mountain, one of my favorite destinations.
Email Marketing Powered by MailPoet