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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Palmer

Do ALL the Things.

Do ALL the Things. Arriving at the first stop on my nomad adventure, there was a whiteboard listing a bunch of activities. Entitled ‘Whidbey Challenge’, the homeowners (lifelong friends) left me a list of things to experience and challenged me to do all of them during my 30-day stay. While they called it a challenge, I saw it as an invitation.


For the month of May, the list has served as an invitation to try new things and not make this stop ‘same life, different backdrop’. Their list has provided the compass to live like a local – enjoying the unique activities, visiting unusual points of interest, shopping at small businesses... it has been the perfect tone setting for all that lies ahead.

My lessons from the road as I prepare to leave this very happy place:

  1. Live Like a Local. A travel writer once shared that you should ask locals ‘where would YOU go’ rather than ‘where should I go’ to discover the best places to eat, drink or explore. Locals want to impress, but if you ask where they would go, you find the hidden gems in the community.

  2. Shop Small. There are plenty of big box stores that would have taken care of our needs, but when we went to the local bakery, butcher, farm stand, barber and dry cleaner – we met the owners and supported them directly.

  3. Remote Work is a Gift. Short of a technology glitch week one, work has been uninterrupted. I am fortunate to be able to work remotely and I do not take that for granted.

  4. Change of Pace Can Change Everything. I have felt calmer here. Less noise and distractions have changed my daily pace. I am more productive in less time.

  5. Connect from Anywhere. I have been intentional this month about connecting with others. Picking up the phone to speak with friends and colleagues, family and clients. I find myself with more time and less ‘shoulds’, and I am reinvesting that time to connect with others.

How do these lessons apply to professional development?

Over time, I had lost perspective on where and how to focus my time. The Do ALL the Things invitation reminded me to try new things, lean into discomfort, engage even when I wasn’t sure if I would succeed, and to focus on my community. As leaders, colleagues, and co-workers – where have you played it safe? Where have you relied on what you know rather than sample with curiosity and be open to doing ALL the things in the name of continuous improvement? What challenges could lead to new opportunities? Where is what you have been doing, no longer serving you?


For the new parents I work with, Do ALL the Things is a reminder to not lose yourself in parenting. A client recently returned from an Italian vacation with her husband and 6-month-old son. She had every reason to delay the trip, but her vision of motherhood was to do and share all the things with her child so he would experience adventure and other cultures. Do ALL the Things led them to a trip that was more challenging than if they didn’t bring an infant, but not so much so that it detracted from the memories and experiences they shared.

As we head into summer, what is one place where you can try something new – at work, with your people, a project or process? Or personally, with your family, friends or community? I invite you to Do ALL the Things this season and see where you surprise yourself.

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