Individual

How To Quit Your Job (Without Quitting Your Job)

How To Quit Your Job (Without Quitting Your Job)

This article was originally published on Forbes.com “Maybe I should just quit my job.” I heard this from not one, but two executive coaching clients last week. Both are high achievers. Both love some aspects of their jobs but find others almost unbearable. And...

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The Four Cs of Decision Making

The Four Cs of Decision Making

In a world of abundant data and complex organizational dynamics, many companies and organizations struggle with a proliferation of meetings in which inefficient processes lead to uneven quality in decisions. This is discouraging and annoying for participants and...

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How to Overcome Your Fear of Looking Stupid at Work

How to Overcome Your Fear of Looking Stupid at Work

This post first appeared on Forbes. How much is fear a driver for your behavior? Fear and anxiety are pervasive themes in many of my coaching engagements. Whether a client is working on communication, prioritization, delegation or other leadership challenges, fear is...

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Don’t Be So Sure: The Perils of Certainty

Don’t Be So Sure: The Perils of Certainty

This post first appeared on Forbes.com. I was certain that my flight to Chicago was at 10:30, so I aimed to leave for the airport by 9:00. But at 8:30 when I checked to verify the exact takeoff time, my chest seized up. My flight was leaving in less than an...

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How to Prepare for Critical Feedback

How to Prepare for Critical Feedback

This post first appeared on Forbes.com “I’m totally terrified,” said a colleague. Was she skydiving or going for a big job interview? Nope. She was preparing to receive feedback—in this case from an interdisciplinary group of experts who were reviewing a draft of her...

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Overworked? A People Pleaser’s Guide to Saying No

Overworked? A People Pleaser’s Guide to Saying No

This post first appeared on Forbes.com “I have more work than I can possibly do, my team is stretched to the breaking point, and the requests keep coming,” said an executive coaching client in a large tech company, her eyes welling with tears. She was not the only one...

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Scary Schedule? How to Regain Control Of Your Calendar

Scary Schedule? How to Regain Control Of Your Calendar

This post first appeared on Forbes.com. “My calendar is out of control! I have so many meetings that I can’t get my work done.” This sentiment has become increasingly common among managers and leaders. The need to work collaboratively and cross-functionally has led to...

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Choosing Delight

Choosing Delight

Ross Gay’s Book of Delights is an invitation. Starting and ending on his birthday, the poet wrote an essay a day about the things, people and events that struck his delight - a smile from the person selling him a bus ticket, a song on the radio, his garden, a turn of...

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Tell Your Story as a Novel from Different Points of View

Tell Your Story as a Novel from Different Points of View

Stories have power. We humans are narrative creatures. Our stories anchor us to our identities and help us understand ourselves. When we are in a new relationship, we dole out our stories as a way of inviting someone to know us, and if you’ve been with someone for a...

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You can’t tell by looking at me …….

You can’t tell by looking at me …….

We all wear masks. They consist of the parts of ourselves that we gladly show to others - qualities, attributes, feelings, and experiences that we choose to reveal in a given setting. We also have parts of ourselves that we don’t talk about or show. Maybe because...

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My White Fragility and What I’m Going to Do About It

My White Fragility and What I’m Going to Do About It

I am white. That is to say, the pale pinkish color of my skin that Crayola used to call "flesh" puts me in the socially constructed category of “whiteness.” But I don’t typically think of myself as having a race. If you ask me to describe myself, there are lots of...

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Approach your career like an artist

Approach your career like an artist

When you are feeling stuck, uncertain, and afraid of taking action, you would do well to remember Diebenkorn’s  “Notes to Myself on Beginning a Painting.” Number 7 is: “Mistakes can’t be erased, but they move you from your present position.” He was, of course,...

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Get Your Gratitude On – For Its Own Sake

Get Your Gratitude On – For Its Own Sake

All over the country this week bloggers are holding forth on the subject of gratitude. And I’m all for gratitude, not just in November, but daily, maybe even hourly. But too often gratitude is touted not as an end in itself but because it will help you achieve some...

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Details, Details…..Confession of a Former Associate

Details, Details…..Confession of a Former Associate

It's really hard to excel at something that you don't like. At my first law job after my clerkship, I was one of forty lawyers to join a prestigious 450-lawyer firm. As our training ground, we newbies were distributed throughout the firm and assigned to help more...

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It’s Not All About You

It’s Not All About You

California may very well be the cradle of the "spiritual but not religious" movement, if you can call it a movement. Many of us are are more inclined to spend our weekends hiking or mountain-biking than in a church, synagogue or mosque. And we are not alone. The Pew...

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My New Hero

My New Hero

This post first appeared on the Perspectives series on KQED.  You can listen here. Rushing to change into my street clothes after a morning swim, I heard “can I help you with that?” I looked up to see a young woman reaching out to help an older lady  pull her shirt...

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Life on the Other Side of the Finish Line

Life on the Other Side of the Finish Line

Last weekend I completed the Bike MS Waves to Wine ride -- the longest cycling event of my life -- and I raised nearly $4000 for the MS Society. I feel strong and happy and proud. (I hesitate to admit that I feel proud, because my good New England upbringing taught me...

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From The Obvious Files: Get More Sleep (+ Some Tips)

From The Obvious Files: Get More Sleep (+ Some Tips)

This morning, I watched my beloved and bleary-eyed husband pour orange juice into his empty bowl. When the kids and I started howling with laughter, he realized what he was doing, grinned, and spooned his oatmeal into his glass and sat down to eat, slurping juice from...

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Can You Afford Coaching?

Can You Afford Coaching?

A friend of mine recently asked, "Do you find that the people who most need coaching can least afford it?" and it got me thinking about money and about the value of coaching. The question of what you can afford it highly subjective and value-laden. Look at any budget...

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The Secret of Goal Setting: Values Alignment

The Secret of Goal Setting: Values Alignment

One of the first things we do in a coaching relationship -- whether it is career coaching, leadership development, team coaching, or personal life coaching -- is set goals. Like most coaches, I encourage my clients to (1) be very specific about their goals, (2) make...

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What Do You Want?

What Do You Want?

One of the first questions I ask new and prospective clients is "what do you want?" More often than not, the answer is: "I don't know," or "I'm not sure." The first phase of coaching then focuses on clarifying what the client wants so that he or she can begin to move...

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Going Pro

Going Pro

If you read my last blog, you know that I am battling resistance. Today it has taken on many forms, from errands to housework to the season finale of "Smash." And now it has gelled into writer's block. I have several ideas,  each of which has some merit, but none of...

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Summer Camp is a Big Step for Parents, Too

Summer Camp is a Big Step for Parents, Too

On Sunday we delivered our nine-year-old daughter to the bus that will take her to sleep-away camp for the first time.  It was far from a tearful goodbye – she was first in line to get on and gave me a warm but brief hug before boarding. I smiled bravely and waved at...

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Re-Defining Having It All

Re-Defining Having It All

I feel the need to explain myself. My last two posts on the topic of Having It All -- both which might be interpreted as discouraging -- are probably not very good marketing for someone in my profession. After all, my job as a coach is to help people dream big and...

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Having It All Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be

Having It All Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be

What do we mean by "having it all," anyway? What ever happened to “enough”? Anne-Marie Slaughter's Atlantic Monthly article, which I already blogged about earlier this week, asserts that we are lying to young women when we tell them that they can have it all. Instead...

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Men Don’t Have It All, Either

Men Don’t Have It All, Either

Anne-Marie Slaughter’s heavily Tweeted cover story in the current issue of the Atlantic Monthly, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” publicly and very personally acknowledges what most women in the corporate trenches already know: it is incredibly difficult to climb...

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When Is It OK to Settle for Less Than Your Dream Job?

When Is It OK to Settle for Less Than Your Dream Job?

I believe in going for it, following your muse, pursuing your dreams -- not playing small or "settling." But sometimes, it's right to take a job that is not your dream job. But don't despair -- you can make such a pragmatic choice without giving up on your vision. The...

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Get Out of the Box, Literally

Get Out of the Box, Literally

I confess, I have come to loathe the phrase “think outside the box.” My quibble is not with the concept, but with the overuse of the metaphor. Now it turns out that the value of thinking outside the box is not just metaphorical – it is literal. New research described...

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Marriage Confidential — Provocative but Unsatisfying

Marriage Confidential — Provocative but Unsatisfying

Pamela Haag's Marriage Confidential is a promising and provocative but ultimately disappointing exploration of modern marriage. In what she calls the “post-romantic” era of marriage the author introduces the concept of the “semi-happy” or “low-conflict” marriage – a...

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Mindfulness Lesson on Ice

Mindfulness Lesson on Ice

Today at the ice rink, the present moment collided with the past and the future. And I'm not talking about science fiction here. I received a lesson in mindfulness. For the first half hour of our family outing I skated slowly, holding hands and guiding each of my...

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Networking is Not a Dirty Word

Networking is Not a Dirty Word

Many of my career coaching clients cringe at the word “networking.” But I think networking gets a bad rap. When undertaken in the right spirit, building relationships can be fun as well as helpful. And you don’t have to be Keith Ferrazi to do it.

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No More Mister Nice Guy?

No More Mister Nice Guy?

Nice guys earn significantly lower salaries than less agreeable men (though still more than women, regardless of their agreeableness) reports a new study by Timothy A. Judge, Beth A. Livingston, and Charlice Hurst in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology....

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Launched!

Launched!

This morning, I launched my son -- my  baby -- into the world. Today he begins an academic career that I hope will foster and channel his natural curiosity, helping him chart a path of discovery that takes him ..... where? The possibilities are endless. He also will...

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Learn from Success

Learn from Success

"Learn from your mistakes." How many times have you heard this? It's good advice, as far as it goes. The lessons of our failures are valuable -- burn your finger once and you learn to steer clear of the hot stove. But how often have you conducted an autopsy of a...

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The Benefits of Over-Communicating

The Benefits of Over-Communicating

When in doubt about who's doing what, OVER-COMMUNICATE. Ask questions. Air assumptions. Clarify, clarify, clarify. Frequent, direct communication prevents you from assuming that your colleague is going to do something, only to find out when it's too late that he...

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How You Slice It

How You Slice It

What are your priorities? Are you living them? There's a group called NotMyPriorities.org that hands out postcards depicting a pie chart of the United States' budget. The Pentagon's slice is well over half the pie, with each of the other categories (education, health,...

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Reality Check Your Resolution

Reality Check Your Resolution

Whether or not you are a resolution-maker, the New Year invites you to take stock of the distance traveled over the last twelve months and set goals for the coming year. This year, many of us look back on 2010 and see a lot of hardships – whether loss of job,...

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Childcare – Who Pays?

Childcare – Who Pays?

"I'd love to work, but I'd barely make enough to pay for childcare," says my friend, a mother of three. And I've heard this explanation from many stay-at-home-moms, heck, it was my reasoning for a long time as well. But assessing the cost of childcare solely to the...

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Find Abundance Through Sharing

Find Abundance Through Sharing

These days, scarcity is everywhere. As the media tell us daily, jobs are scarce, money is tight, credit is hard to get, and hope for speedy recovery is in short supply. On top of the financial pinch, many of us feel caught in a perpetual time crunch -- there never...

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The Stop Doing List

The Stop Doing List

If you're like me, you have a To Do list -- whether the high-tech version on your smart phone or the low-tech kind written on a Post-It, or perhaps just maintained in your head. But do you have a Stop Doing list? Maybe you should. I got this idea from Jim Collin's...

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Confessions of a Mid-Life Mama

Confessions of a Mid-Life Mama

Mid-Life Crisis -- the phrase conjures up the image of a forty-something man who suddenly feels his life slipping away from him,  wonders if this is all there is, and reacts by getting himself a flashy new sportscar, or a maybe a hot young girlfriend.  There's no...

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The Four Bs of Balance

The Four Bs of Balance

When my pals and I were in our twenties, I don't remember worrying much about finding balance in our lives. We worked hard, played hard, stayed up late and damn the consequences. But now as a mid-career professionals, many of us with children, I find we are all...

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Cultivating Gratitude

Cultivating Gratitude

"Truly grateful people don't make lists of things to be grateful for any more than happy people make lists of things to be happy about." says Hank Deveraux in the epilogue to Richard  Russo's hilarious and poignant novel, Straight Man.  And there's a certain...

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I’m a Triathlete (who’da thunk it? not me!)

I’m a Triathlete (who’da thunk it? not me!)

Well, I did it! On Sunday I completed the Olympic distance Marin Triathlon. It was the culmination of weeks of training, and I felt great. I am still basking in the glow of accomplishment and I am already thinking about doing another triathlon and bettering my times....

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Tapping Into Your Inner Board of Directors

Tapping Into Your Inner Board of Directors

Have you ever been stuck at a decision point, paralyzed by inner conflict, pulled in multiple directions by different needs, desires, and fears? Instead of trying to choose among these warring factions of yourself, perhaps it is time to get them to work together. Cast...

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Thanks, Moms!

Thanks, Moms!

Here's a shout out to all the stay-at-home moms (and dads) out there – thank you for all you do, not just for your own kids but for my kids too. I am writing this from my hotel room in Pt. Reyes, California where I am staying for a client off-site retreat that Leigh...

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Happiness vs. Pleasure

Happiness vs. Pleasure

I have a confession to make: I didn't actually feel very good at the gym on Saturday. My triathlon training session  -- especially my somewhat labored running -- was not pleasant. It didn't actually hurt, but it was hard work for me. I thought of the blog I had posted...

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How Much is Enough?

How Much is Enough?

Money. We all need it, and daily we make decisions large and small about how to use it. We are constantly bombarded with news of the economy, and many of us have definite opinions about the local, national, and world economies. But when it comes to personal finances,...

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Five Tips for When the Parenting Honeymoon is Over

Five Tips for When the Parenting Honeymoon is Over

What do we do when the first bloom of parenthood wears off and reality sets in? In marriage, it is called the "seven year itch," when many a husband or wife tires of the reality of life with their spouse. But this experience is not limited to marital partners, says ...

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Take a Day Off From Tech

Take a Day Off From Tech

I hereby declare my first No-Tech Sunday a success! After hemming and hawing, resisting and justifying … I did it. Saturday night I sent my last email and made a Facebook post (about going offline, of course!), and turned off the laptop. So that I wouldn't forget, I...

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What’s Behind the Compulsion to Check Email

What’s Behind the Compulsion to Check Email

Do you feel annoyed and burdened by email and yet feel a perverse desire to check it throughout the day, even when you don't really need to? As if maybe something really interesting or important is waiting in the Inbox? (This hope is usually disappointed, of course.)...

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In Pursuit of Happiness

In Pursuit of Happiness

The United States' Declaration of Independence holds that all people possess the unalienable right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” I learned this in school, and then somewhere along the line I got the idea that to pursue happiness was somehow selfish...

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Drudgery Transformed

Drudgery Transformed

How can you stay motivated when you are overwhelmed by a To Do list as long as your arm? Or when everything feels like drudgery and you just can't make yourself get started? One way I help my clients get into action is to connect them to the purpose underlying what...

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Stigma-Busting (or How I Dealt With Lice)

Stigma-Busting (or How I Dealt With Lice)

As my children and I boarded the plane at SFO bound for Lake Michigan, the pilot invited the kids into the cockpit for a look. One by one they sat in the pilot's seat while I took photos with my phone-cam. It was cramped but jolly, and then Matty informed the pilot,...

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Breaking Up (With Your Job) is Hard To Do

Breaking Up (With Your Job) is Hard To Do

I have a client who is completely fed up with her job. She is spread too thin, underpaid, under-resourced, isolated, and dissatisfied. She has tried hard to make the job work better, but it has now become clear that the fundamental problems with this job are not going...

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Walking My Talk

Walking My Talk

A good friend of mine recently asked me if being a coach makes me feel like I have to do everything perfectly. I told her that I don't feel that way, but that I do feel an obligation to “walk my talk.” But what does that really mean? For me, it means that I need to do...

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Mommy Needs a Time Out

Mommy Needs a Time Out

I am test-driving Jane Nelsen's  "Positive Discipline." As I read the book, I am trying the techniques, and I will share my experience with you. Here's the scene: I have just busted my daughter for some infraction, and she is defensive and angry. I begin to explain...

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Conscious Eating Tips for Moms

Conscious Eating Tips for Moms

Moms --  do you find your weight creeping up? Maybe you never lost the baby weight, or maybe it was a couple of pounds last year and another couple this year. But if you do the math ..... well, before you know it you'll be deep in mom-jeans territory. Now's the time...

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The Measure of a Mother

The Measure of a Mother

I'm about to do something very un-coach-like. I'm going to suggest that you lower your standards. As a coach, I always encourage my clients to dream big, to set ambitious goals and not be bounded by what seems reasonably achievable. Succeed or fail, you're usually...

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What’s on Your Nightstand?

What’s on Your Nightstand?

  Further confirmation that I have found the right profession -- my bedside reading. Lately, my reading habits have changed. I have always been an avid reader of fiction. From Narnia and Tolkien in grade school, to romance novels in my teens, to literary fiction...

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Four Steps to Avoiding Terminal Vagueness

Four Steps to Avoiding Terminal Vagueness

  According to debtor's anonymous, many people who repeatedly incur unsecured debt experience so-called “terminal vagueness” – a lack of awareness or monitoring of their finances. But you don't have to be ready for a Twelve-Step program to be prone to this...

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Coaching & Therapy

Coaching & Therapy

  People often ask me what is the difference between coaching and therapy. Much is made of the differences, usually by one side seeking to disparage the other side. Therapists claim that coaching – which is three decades old and largely unregulated – lacks the...

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Showing Up

Showing Up

  Woody Allen famously said that “eighty percent of success is showing up.” But sometimes showing up is more than eighty percent – it's the whole ball game. This past week tragedy struck my husband's family when his younger cousin James died suddenly, devastating...

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My Headset Was in the Fruit Bowl

My Headset Was in the Fruit Bowl

  My timing was flawless. I returned from dropping my son off at school just before my first client of the day. But when the phone rang promptly at 9:30 I couldn't find my wireless headset (perhaps the most important piece of technology for a coach). It was ......

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From Lawyer to Coach (NFL Coach, That Is)

From Lawyer to Coach (NFL Coach, That Is)

  The story of lawyer-turned-football-coach Daron Roberts offers some great lessons on career change. Roberts turned his back on a Harvard Law School education to start from scratch and become an NFL coach. While your transition may be less dramatic, you can...

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Express Your Own Fun

Express Your Own Fun

  You can choose what you do, but you can't choose what you like to do. And since leisure time is limited, beware of forcing yourself to do something because you think you SHOULD enjoy it. Much as I am embarrassed to admit it, I really like Madonna. I admire...

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Law School Grads — Where Did Our Drive Go?

Law School Grads — Where Did Our Drive Go?

  "I don't expect to love my job. There's a reason they call it 'work.' That's why they pay me for it," my friend said to me at lunch yesterday. She is a senior associate at a big San Francisco law firm, and like many in her position, she is overworked and...

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Ten Tips for Business Development

Ten Tips for Business Development

  Here are ten tips to help you grow your business and develop strong client relationships: 1. Know your value. What do you offer? What are your core strengths? 2. Know your edge. Be able to articulate what sets you apart from competitors. If you are a small...

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This is Only a Test

This is Only a Test

  Today I spoke with Gretchen Rubin, best-selling author of The Happiness Project, about her book, happiness, and coaching. Our conversation touched on the importance of taking action. Gretchen's project was all about test-driving a wide range happiness theories...

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Work from the Outside-In

Work from the Outside-In

  Sometimes, when all else fails, you need to fake it. I'm not talking about Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally." I'm talking about creating an exterior that represents how you want to feel rather than how you actually feel, looking good when you feel not-so-good,...

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Interviewing Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Interviewing Beyond Your Comfort Zone

  I recently coached two people who were preparing for job interviews that were a stretch from their current position. Several themes emerged that lead me to provide the following guidance to job-seekers. When interviewing for a job takes you another rung up on...

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The 69%

The 69%

  It turns out that 69% of marital conflicts are perpetual. Yup. Sixty. Nine. Percent. This is true for even the most successful, happy marriages. The first time I heard this statistic, I found it utterly discouraging to think that the vast majority of areas of...

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Getting to 50/50

Getting to 50/50

  How many women and men in their 30s and 40s thought they were going to have an "equal partnership" marriage and then found that it was not as easy as they thought, especially once kids entered the picture? Finding balance in your marriage can be tricky,...

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Mother-in Law Advice:  Just Say Yes

Mother-in Law Advice: Just Say Yes

  I have written a number of times about the power of saying "No." Today, I want to say something about saying "Yes." If you are are a parent like me, you say "no" to a lot. No to chocolate at bedtime. No to hitting your sister. No to wearing flip-flops for...

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Special Time on Your Own Doorstep

Special Time on Your Own Doorstep

  What makes an occasion special is not so much about what you do or where you go (or how much you spend) but instead about the quality of attention you bring. I already knew this truth, but I was reminded of it this weekend. After our second or third goodnight...

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C’mon, Get Happy!

C’mon, Get Happy!

  I just finished The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, and I'm feeling inspired. The author spent a year test-driving prescriptions for and theories about happiness in an attempt to see if she could become happier. I love this project for several reasons....

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Money in the Bank

Money in the Bank

  For any relationship to thrive, the positive must outweigh the negative. Sounds pretty obvious, even commonplace, doesn't it? But what follows from it is not always recognized. Most people who want to improve a relationship focus on trying to fix the negative...

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Awareness — Wake Up and Smell the Goldfish!

Awareness — Wake Up and Smell the Goldfish!

  Awareness is the beginning of change. Case in point: I never realized how much I was eating between meals until I decided to quit snacking. It turns out that I had been consuming a steady stream of totally unworthy calories: a handful of dry cereal, cashews,...

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Get Experimental

Get Experimental

  Here's the deal: you don't change your life by thinking really hard about it, or by dreaming, or talking about it. You change it by taking action. I just watched a talk on youtube given by my fellow coach and former co-worker, Michael Melcher. It's a great...

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And so to bed …..*

And so to bed …..*

  I just drew a limit, and it felt great. I just got a phone call from a wonderful parent at the preschool where I am president of the board. She is leading a long-term strategic planning initiative, and she called with some questions. But it was just after 9:00,...

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Where is Your Outrage?

Where is Your Outrage?

  I know I'm late to the party, but I just finished reading Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, a provocative and fun to read economic analysis of many social phenomena that turned many of my assumptions on their heads. I like that. But it also...

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Make Your New Year’s Resolution SMART

Make Your New Year’s Resolution SMART

  Several years ago I swore off New Year's Resolutions. (Yes, I see the irony of that.) The annual hopeful energy and inevitable late-winter decline was a cliché, and I was too cool for all that. So I steadfastly ignored Auld Lang Syne and set personal goals...

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What Do You Want from 2010?

What Do You Want from 2010?

  Time Magazine's cover last week dubbed the 2000's “The Decade From Hell,” and many are saying “good riddance.” But what lessons have you learned, and how do you want to enter the coming year, the coming decade? With a New Year's resolution that will be stale by...

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Taking a Stand for a Mother’s Right to Choose

Taking a Stand for a Mother’s Right to Choose

  Are stay-at-home-moms damaging their long-term career prospects, putting themselves and their families at financial risk, and wasting their potential? Diana Kapp, author of a recent article in San Francisco Magazine, thinks so....

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Taking Your Game to a Bigger Arena

Taking Your Game to a Bigger Arena

  I am just back from a trip to New York to pitch my old law firm, Davis Polk & Wardwell, on the value of coaching and try to persuade them to include coaching in their associate development and retention program. I'll cut to the chase: I was unsuccessful. My...

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