Healthy stress

Kathryn Crawford Saxer Uncategorized

I wanted to kick the printer. OFFLINE. The printer always just works. Why was it offline on the one afternoon when I really needed it? I was leaving the house in 15 minutes to give a talk in Bellevue, and I needed to print my slides. I could feel my heart beating faster, and a rush of intense irritation. I wanted to take a hammer to the printer. “Of course the printer decides not to work today, right now, when I …

Stop goldplating!

Kathryn Crawford Saxer Uncategorized

“I need to stop gold plating,” my coaching client told me. I looked at her quizzically. “You know, when you go above and beyond, over and over?” said my client, a senior account manager at an international organization who is responsible for a global brand. “I always make sure my work is beyond excellent, even when it doesn’t really matter.” Not surprisingly, this client reached out to me because she felt tired, burned out and is thinking about doing something …

Not in charge!

Kathryn Crawford Saxer Uncategorized

“I was talking about you today,” the stranger said as I walked into class. It was only our second improv class, so my heart sank as I imagined what ghastly memorable thing I might have done in the first class. “You said you were taking this class because it was the scariest thing you could think to do,” she reminded me. “You said you took an advanced ski class this winter and afterward resolved to always do scary things.” “I want to always …

Using amplification

Kathryn Crawford Saxer Uncategorized

Everyone on the drive down from Snoqualmie Pass was angry. Well, everyone except me. My husband was angry at my daughter for a risky skiing decision. My daughter was angry at my husband for shouting at her. My son was angry at my husband for shouting at my daughter. Fun family ski day. I listened to the tumult. While I had been enjoying a quiet beer in the lodge, my kids raced each other down the mountain. My daughter fell …

Base rates of a nightmare city

Kathryn Crawford Saxer Uncategorized

An executive coaching client was recently offered her dream job: exciting work, inspiring executive management, blue sky growth and development. But there was a problem. “It’s in the Bay Area,” she told me, her voice flat and resigned. “I hate the Bay Area.” This client, a young woman in a technical field, is a rising star in her organization. She is thriving in her current role; it’s just that, well, this new opportunity would be a leap upward. “If this …

The top right quadrant

Kathryn Crawford Saxer Uncategorized

One of my executive coaching clients is at the top of her field and looking to do something … else? More? “How can I choose between these orthogonal options?” she asked me. “It’s not like I’m choosing between two houses and can just rank attributes. These are apples-to-oranges choices.” I nodded wisely, making a mental note to look up “orthogonal” when I got back to my desk. As she updated me on the the leads she was following, I listened …

Who are your allies?

Kathryn Crawford Saxer Uncategorized

“The men are outperforming the women,” my executive-coaching client told me in frustration. “We’re all white men in leadership, but I’m not going to be able to promote a woman to director level.” My client is an executive with an international organization, living and leading a team on the other side of the world. (We were video conferencing.) His organization has stated goals of promoting women into leadership. “Do you have any women in mind whom you want to promote?” …

Weak ties

Kathryn Crawford Saxer Uncategorized

“I don’t know anyone,” the young woman in my office said forlornly. She was a participant in my monthly class on career and job transition. I was wrapping up the evening and asked the lovely people in my office what was worrying them. “I want to move into sustainable food production and operations, but I don’t know a single person in that world,” she said. She looked tired. Depleted. She was working long hours on an opposite shift from her …

Locking the dog

Kathryn Crawford Saxer Uncategorized

I looked at my office door in disbelief. I’d just pulled it shut and heard the lock click. Phone, wallet, car keys and dog were locked on the other side of the impenetrable door. It was late on a Friday afternoon. Panic time. I could feel the adrenaline surging through my system, my heart pounding, my breath rapid, as I stared wide-eyed at the locked door. This is what McGonigal, a Ph.D. psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University, describes as …

A contract with yourself

Kathryn Crawford Saxer Uncategorized

My coaching client had a big, hairy project ahead of her. She’s a freelancer, and she needed to pull together a portfolio to show off her work. She kept putting it off. “I’ll sit down to work on my portfolio, and then I’ll look around my messy house and spend the time doing dishes and vacuuming instead,” said my client, a capable and experienced creative professional. “I never miss a deadline or work I’ve contracted to do, but I can’t …