What’s your 2020 word?

Kathryn Crawford Saxer A Little Kindness

As 2019 comes to a close, have you decided on your Word of the Year for 2020? Instead of a New Year’s resolution (which is generally a setup for failure), I like to ask my career coaching clients to think about a single word that will guide the upcoming year. My 2019 word was “relax.” In 2018, it was “rest.” See? Much nicer than a New Year’s resolution to lose 20 pounds. For 2020, I choose “learn.” I stumbled across …

The wisdom of jealousy

Kathryn Crawford Saxer A Little Kindness, Career Transition

I was jealous of my son and it changed my life. That sounds worrying, but let me explain. As a career coach, I often ask my clients whom they’re jealous of. Jealousy can be a useful emotion: It can be a signpost pointing toward what you actually want, cutting through the noise of what you’ve been telling yourself — or what other people may be telling you — that you should want in your career. I like the emotional honesty of the …

You’re not old!

Kathryn Crawford Saxer A Little Kindness, Career Management

A coaching client told me she was old. “Some young up-and-comer got the job,” said this 44-year-old marketing professional with 20 years’ experience in her field. I paused, trying to figure out where to start. “Hang on,” I said. “I have to yell at you.” She wasn’t actually even a client yet. We were on an initial call to talk about whether coaching might be helpful to her and here I was, going off on the poor woman. (Interesting business …

Puppy kindness

Kathryn Crawford Saxer A Little Kindness

“I rescued a lost dachshund!” an executive coaching client told me, her face alight. As she told the story of finding the frightened dog in her neighborhood, and the joy and relief of all parties once owner and dog were reunited, I thought about the power of small kindnesses. As I may have mentioned once or twice in this column, I have started fostering puppies rescued from two-day kill shelters in Texas. The latest batch of puppies was four large, energetic, lab/hound mixes that …

The art of the apology

Kathryn Crawford Saxer A Little Kindness, Career Management

“I owe you an apology,” I told my coaching client. I’ve been apologizing a lot lately. Not because I’ve screwed up more than usual, but because I read a book that taught me how to apologize better. Dr. Harriet Lerner’s 2017 “Why Won’t You Apologize? Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts“ is one of those handy guidebooks to life that teaches you how to do things that you’re supposed to know how to do, but don’t. Not really. “The courage to …

Impostor Syndrome strikes again

Kathryn Crawford Saxer A Little Kindness, Career Management

A CNN reporter emailed asking whether she could interview me about impostor syndrome. My first thought was: “I don’t know anything about impostor syndrome!” Which is, of course, a great example of impostor syndrome — that panicky feeling that you’re a fraud, that you’re faking it (and that CNN is going to find out!). In my executive coaching practice, I’ve found that, paradoxically, impostor syndrome tends to intensify as you become more senior and expert in your work. “I call it …

How to say no

Kathryn Crawford Saxer A Little Kindness, Career Management

As I wrote last week, I’ve started fostering puppies. A potential new owner of one of my foster puppies recently asked me whether I could keep the puppy for an additional two weeks while she went to a wedding. “No! I’m not your dog sitter!” I yelled. On the inside. Saying no can be tough for us conflict-averse folks, both at work and in the rest of our lives. Fortunately, there’s a blueprint for delivering a gracious, relationship-building “No!” Dr. William Ury’s …

A meaningful life

Kathryn Crawford Saxer A Little Kindness

“I have discovered my purpose in life,” I wrote on my social media. “Fostering puppies!” I was joking, of course. Well, mostly. I began my puppy fostering career just a week before sitting down to write this column. The two small, shivering little creatures arrived from Texas and my house — and heart — will never be the same. Within 10 minutes of arriving in our lives, the 8-week-old puppies were romping about. They had just endured a 48-hour road …

Ducking loneliness

Kathryn Crawford Saxer A Little Kindness

“I’m lonely,” my career coaching client told me. “I feel like I’ve been working so hard and raising kids, and now I’m looking around and wondering where everyone is.” I know the feeling. For the first time in some 15 years, I can go do — something! anything! — without planning around child care. But what to do and with whom? “Finding new friends, and reviving old friendships, is a lot like networking for a new job — or dating, …

Break Your Phone!

Kathryn Crawford Saxer A Little Kindness

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. I watched my phone slip through my fingers, flip in the air and land face down on the concrete. I knew it was going to be bad. The screen was shattered. A shard of glass stabbed my finger when I tried to swipe the screen. My phone spent a week in the shop. This is what I learned in its absence: I read more. I finished one of the nonfiction, work-related books that …