Your Dream Job – Next Steps

In last week’s post, Your Dream Job, we had you do a quick assessment about whether or not you were satisfied in your current job.

Today, we’d like to encourage you to begin to take some small steps forward toward the career of your dreams.

Whether it’s finding a new role, a new place to work, or influencing your current workplace, what are some small steps you can take to get closer to doing work that you love in an environment where you thrive?

  1. Look over the assessment checklist from last week (click here if you haven’t done it yet).
  2. Write down any items from the list that you wish you had but didn’t check.
  3. Identify 1-2 small steps you can take this week to start creating a working world where you’ll thrive.

It’s never the wrong time to evaluate your career and to think about whether or not you’re doing work that you love in an environment where you thrive.

You matter.

This year, our commitment is to support you in mattering to yourself so that you can live a full and successful life.

If this sounds good to you in theory but you’re having a hard time
getting started, contact us today about Career Coaching.

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Your Dream Job

Are you in your Dream Career? Are you satisfied with your current role or should you consider making a move?

It’s never the wrong time to evaluate your career
and to think about whether or not you’re doing work
that you love in an environment where you thrive. 

Do a quick scan of your work life using the prompts below, and ask yourself, “Would I apply for (and be thrilled to be offered) the job I currently occupy?”

If the answer is yes: Congratulations! You’re in the right place.

  • Be sure to ask yourself this question regularly so that the job continues to be one that you enjoy and value.
  • And, at this time when you’re happy, we strongly recommend you update your resume so it reflects those things that led you to answer “yes”—those things that truly bring you joy in your work.

If the answer is no, then it’s time to consider how to move toward work that will bring a “yes.”

Which of the following statements are true for you? If you’d like to use this as a checklist, click here for a printable PDF version.

  • Work is more than a paycheck.
  • Work is bringing meaning to my life.
  • Work inspires me and offers me an opportunity to feel valued for my contributions.
  • I’m proud and satisfied when I talk about my work to others.
  • I have a resume that accurately represents who I really am.
  • I lead with the skills that I want to use in a job—the skills I want to offer the world. (Be careful not to list the skills you can do but have no desire to do; remember, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.)
  • I stay connected to people who support me in my work.
  • As part of this connection, I ask about their lives and work, honoring the relationship before talking about myself.
  • I show my energy and enthusiasm as I talk to people about my skills and passions.
  • I don’t get caught by job titles but talk instead about the ways I can be a solution to my organization.

Listen to yourself and check in regularly. No one has a perfect work life but you can move closer to work that’s engaging, inspiring, and impactful if you pause from time to time to reflect on what matters to you.

Make this year great by taking time to reflect on what your Dream Career looks like!

Feeling stuck? Not sure what steps to take to move forward with a career change? We can help! Contact us today about Career Coaching.

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Power and Humility

This year, our focus is to support you in mattering to yourself and in creating environments where people matter. Mattering to yourself is not about becoming narcissistic or thinking you matter above all others. It’s about honoring yourself so you know what matters to you and can then take action on behalf of the people and causes that you care about.

So, today, we’re sharing some excerpts from an article about Humility that spoke to us. There’s a link to the full article at the end.

The Paradoxical Power of Humility:
Why humility is under-rated and misunderstood

Karl Albrecht Ph.D.

Humility is widely under-rated in most Western cultures, it seems to me. It’s also widely misunderstood – maybe that’s why it’s under-rated.

Our popular-media culture is saturated with themes of conflict, combat, and conquest. Popular films feature cops chasing crooks; the military fighting terrorists; the lone avenger pursuing the evil-doers. We say we love peace makers, but our heroes are warriors. As a society, we like our celebrities to be cheeky, self-important, and even a bit narcissistic.

Little wonder that humble people seem a bit strange to us, as if they’re following some syncopated life rhythm that few people around them quite “get.”

Having claimed that humility is misunderstood, I suppose it’s incumbent on me to offer a definition.

What is humility? It’s a subtle concept, and I find myself having to frame it mostly in terms of what it is not. My conception of humility is what you have when you give up certain self-aggrandizing thought patterns, reflexes, and behaviors. I offer the proposition – and the value judgment – that humility is a kind of liberation, a paradoxical state of freedom from the culturally imposed norms of narcissistic “me-first” thinking.

Practitioners of many spiritual traditions, such as Buddhism, would say that attaining such a state is a necessary part of the journey toward enlightenment.

Humility is about emotional neutrality. It involves an experience of growth in which you no longer need to put yourself above others, but you don’t put yourself below them, either. Everyone is your peer – from the most “important” person to the least. You’re just as valuable as every other human being on the planet, no more and no less. It’s about behaving and reacting from purpose, not emotions. You learn to simply disconnect or de-program the competitive reflex in situations where it’s not productive.

Humility is less a matter of self-restraint and more a matter of self-esteem. The greater your sense of self-worth, the easier it is to appreciate others, to praise them, and to encourage them

Does this mean that it’s wrong to try to win at bridge, or improve your tennis game, or compete to get ahead in your work place? Of course not – those are parts of a separate dimension of life. Your talents and abilities will speak for themselves. What we’re dealing with here is a matter of social intelligence, which involves inviting people to move with and toward you, instead of away and against you.

A well-developed sense of humility shines through in your behavior toward others. They feel affirmed, appreciated, encouraged, validated, and psychically nourished. Most of us are powerfully drawn to people who treat us that way, like bees to flowers.

This full article, posted in Psychology Today on January 8, can be found here.

In Carpenter Smith Consulting language, the deepest longing of all human beings is to matter.

When we matter to ourselves,
and we treat others like they matter,
amazing things happen.

If you’d like support in showing your team
that they matter, our Executive Coaching could
be for you. Contact us today to learn more.

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Live 2019 with Grace

During some personally difficult times, clients and colleagues will often ask us, “Why do you do this work?”

They are puzzled that we would choose to put ourselves in the middle of the messiness and pain that people experience in their lives and work.

We do this work because we know that
when people matter to themselves and believe that
others matter, too, success is ensured.

This is true in organizations, on teams, and with individual contributors. Success increases when people matter.

Often in life, and especially at work, we can start to believe that things matter; results matter, money matters, but people…they are in the way.

Yet, the most powerful leaders we know understand that it’s the people that create the success and that when those people are treated with respect for their contributions, with interest in their wisdom and perspective, and honored for the challenges they must deal with every day, everyone thrives.

A few days ago, our Administrative Assistant, Chris Karis, sent us an article by Peter Wehner in the New York Times called, The Uncommon Power of Grace: A revolutionary idea lies at its core: radical equality.

In it there was a paragraph that described how we treat ourselves and one another when we believe people matter – the author used the term grace.

When I recently asked . . .  how, as a nonbeliever, he understood grace and why it inspires us when we see it in others, he told me that grace is “some combination of generosity and magnanimity, kindness and forgiveness, and empathy — all above the ordinary call of duty, and bestowed even (or especially?) when not particularly earned.” We see it demonstrated in heroic ways and in small, everyday contexts, he said. “But I guess, regardless of the context, it’s always at least a little unexpected and out of the ordinary.” 

When we matter to ourselves and when we believe others matter, we bring a combination of generosity, magnanimity, kindness, forgiveness, and empathy to ourselves and to others in the face of our humanity and the messiness it brings.

This year, our commitment to you is to support you in mattering to yourself and to creating environments where others matter, because this is the combination that creates unexpected and out of the ordinary success.

We’re in this together!

If you’d like support in showing your team
that they matter, our Executive Coaching could
be for you. Contact us today to learn more.

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This week in honor of Martin Luther King Jr, we’d like you to consider a change of language that can have a profound effect on you and on others.

You see, language is the fundamental way in which we come to understand and relate to the world around us. When you change your language, you influence your ability to relate to others and to build powerful connections.

This week, we’d like you to play with your language. Every time you start to say “them” consider that they are also “us” instead.

As coaches and consultants, our area of expertise is working with and understanding people, and what we see over and over is that:

Everyone wants to be seen and heard.

People want to know that their experience is respected and understood by others.

With everything that’s coming at us daily, it can be difficult to pause long enough to really understand what life is like for others—to have empathy for their experience—especially when their experience is vastly different from our own.

Without that empathy, people move to US versus THEM.

As Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us,
we don’t need to look too far back into history
to see the perils of US vs. THEM.

Remember that below the areas of disagreement, there are far more things we have in common with one another as humans.

Before party, before state, and before country, we are simply human: we love our children; we have the need for food, shelter, safety, and the opportunity to pursue meaningful work; we all laugh, and we all grieve.

Both US and THEM.

It’s critical as we move forward individually, in our work environments, and in our country, that we take a breath, pause, and remember that we’re all trying to claim our place in a world that is changing fast because belonging is a human need. For US and for THEM.

It no longer serves any of us to parse individuals into separate groups as if we don’t share more in common than we have in differences.

Let’s make a pledge this Martin Luther King Jr. Day to speak about humans as one.

We found a great example of an annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day tradition in a Massachusetts kindergarten class where young students are learning about tolerance, fairness, and equality.

You can check out the video here: Kindergarten class keeps MLK Jr’s dream alive.

Be well!

If we can help you individually, as a team, or with your business,
let us know. Making this shift can be challenging
but also rich with possibility!

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Why 2018 Was the Best Year in History!

With some regularity, our clients share with us that they’re more distressed by the state of the world than they can ever remember.

We can sometimes feel the same, so imagine our surprise when on January 6, 2019 we came upon a New York Times column by Nicholas Kristof titled: “Why 2018 Was the Best Year in Human History!”

We found it very powerful to hear some of the amazing things that happened in 2018 – most of which didn’t make it to the news.

Take a look and let us know what you think:

Why 2018 Was the Best Year in Human History!

Here’s to moving forward in ways that highlight the fact that each of us matter and all of us matter!

~ Linda, Stephanie, and Heather

If you’d like support in finding ways to matter in your own life,
contact us today about our coaching services. 

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PAUSE and HALT: A Powerful Combination

One of the things we love about the PAUSE is that you can use it to interrupt your reactivity to external actions, and you can use it to provide support for how you respond to your internal thoughts and feelings.

When people are under stress, they often work harder, run faster, spend less time sleeping, exercising, and eating. They feel overwhelmed and have no clue how to get clear about what they need.

Pausing is a powerful way to help yourself figure out what you need, and when you combine it with the use of HALT, it can be a game-changer.

The acronym HALT gives you a simple framework that can help you determine if your basic needs are being met so that you can get your footing and move forward.

HALT typically stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. When you’re overwhelmed and aren’t sure what you’re feeling, ask yourself:





As you think about these questions, consider the following:

    • Hunger can be used to consider if you’re physically hungry, but it can also be a way to explore if you’re experiencing an emotional longing that needs filling for you to feel satisfied.
    • Anger is a common and normal emotion that often needs some exploration. Are you angry with a situation, a person, a group, or yourself? Are you angry in response to a single event or an ongoing pattern?
    • Loneliness can occur when you’re alone or when you’re surrounded by lots of people. If you find you’re lonely, ask yourself what you need and who you can reach out to for connection and support.
    • Tiredness can be more debilitating than we ever imagine. Explore what’s causing the tiredness and consider how you can provide yourself some rest. It may be that you need more sleep, but it could also mean you need time by yourself, movement out in nature, or a break from work.
Combining the PAUSE with HALT can serve to remind you to care for your needs – today and always.

You matter to us!


If you’ve been stressed at work and would like support in identifying and managing your needs, contact us today about our coaching services.


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Your New Year

We are not big proponents of resolutions, since most of us don’t get much beyond January with this laundry list of big ideas.

We believe that you matter.

And because you matter, you need to know what your priorities are in life so that you can take steps to move toward them throughout the year.

On this last day of 2018, we encourage you to spend a few minutes thinking about what you want to focus on in 2019.

Identifying your priorities can help you create ”your” new year rather than just rolling into “the” new year.

Click on the link to get a copy of our Life Priorities exercise. This is a simple, but powerful, activity to help you clarify what needs your attention if you are going to matter in your own life.

Once you have completed the exercise, ask yourself the following questions for each of your life priorities:

  • What do I need to do in my personal life to maximize the chance of achieving this life priority?
  • What do I need to do in my relationships to maximize the chance of achieving this life priority?
  • What do I need to do in my work life to maximize the chance of achieving this life priority?

Make this year your new year by creating a life
that honors you and your life priorities!

To your life!

~ Linda, Stephanie, and Heather

If you would like support in developing your leadership skills,
contact us today about our coaching services.

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Interrupt Reactivity

Last week in our post, Holidazed?, we talked about 4 things you can do to position yourself for a fun, hectic, connecting, tiring holiday—one that leaves you proud of how you showed up and how you managed your priorities.
We started with PAUSE, which many of you know is the first step in our Leader in You framework.

The PAUSE can look like taking a small sip of water, a shuffling of papers, or a full out break from the action; but during that moment you’re asking yourself, “Is what I’m doing or what I’m about to do or say in alignment with my goals?” 

The PAUSE supports you in decreasing your reactivity and increasing your ability to reflect on what you’re doing so you can choose how to respond. We’ve done a lot of leadership training and coaching, and truly, this simple nugget can change your life. 

So, what do we mean by reactivity?

When we talk about reactivity,
we’re talking about the very human tendency
to do what we’ve always done in the past

In some ways, we humans are a bit like a light switch, hit the switch and the light goes on; there is an Action – Reaction relationship. As you think about this time of year it might look like this:

Your boss asks you to get something done and you hear urgency in her voice. You drop everything to do that work.
Your colleague is mad that a report is late. You apologize (and sweat) profusely.
Your kids want to go look at Christmas lights NOW! You feel annoyed but grab the car keys.
Your partner asks you to do something that you have no time to do. You say yes outside and feel angry inside.

While you may believe you have no other choice, unlike light switches, we humans can PAUSE to grab that moment between hitting the switch and the light going on, to choosing how to respond.  

Your boss asks you to get something done and you hear urgency in her voice. You ask for more information and explore the flexibility in due date.
Your colleague is mad that a report is late. You listen closely and ask for details to assess what you need to do for damage control.
Your kids want to go look at Christmas lights NOW! You offer to look at lights after you spend an hour getting some high priority work done.
Your partner asks you to do something that you have no time to do. You suggest that the two of you sit down and prioritize what needs to be done during this time.

The PAUSE is a powerful, yet simple, step that can help you be a better leader in your work, your life, and your joy.

Pausing allows you to respond
with your best thinking

and understanding of your current goals.

Next time you find yourself reacting, ask yourself, “Is what I am about to say or do in alignment with my goals?” If it’s not, consider how you can respond to be in alignment with your goals.
Try it out and let us know how it goes!

~ Linda, Stephanie, and Heather

If you would like support in developing your leadership skills, 
contact us today about our Executive Coaching.

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In the movies, the holidays are perfect, happy, loving, spontaneous, and connecting, or they are disastrous explosions of personal misery. Both images are stressful, and neither has to be yours!

We’ve heard from many of you that you’re feeling pretty tired, worn down, and not quite in the holiday spirit this year.

In fact, many of you report a love-hate relationship with the holidays. On one hand, you love much of the connection and celebration but on the other hand, you’re busy, overworked, and stressed.

This year, as you’re navigating through the holidays, we encourage you to think of yourself as a leader in your life as you approach each day. As a leader, your role is to influence your world and be influenced by your world.

The following four steps will help:

  1. PAUSE Always take a moment before you react to incoming stressors and ask yourself, “Is what I’m about to say (or do) aligned with my goals?”
    • Your goals don’t have to be large, they might be to stay connected with yourself, to listen without judgement, or to let go of the notion of a perfect holiday.
  2. Focus – Identify the 2 – 3 things (no more) that are most important for you to accomplish over the next couple of weeks.
    • This could include completing a key report to a client or purchasing the special chocolate your kids love. It doesn’t particularly matter what they are, it only matters that you know what they are and make time in your schedule to get them done.
    • Identify times when you can do these priorities and put them on the calendar.
  3. Own it and share it - Sit down with the people who are most important to you and discuss the opportunities for connection, the demands on all of you, and the schedule for the upcoming few weeks.
    • With your partner and children, talk about what needs to get done and who can contribute. If you have young children, consider who can keep an eye on them from time to time to give you and your partner some space to think and get things done.
    • With your boss, colleagues, or direct reports, review the goals of the upcoming weeks. Be certain you all know and agree to the priorities and then identify what will get in the way of achieving those priorities. Together, create a plan for moving forward.
    • Let your extended family know what you’re thinking about for the upcoming weeks and come to an agreement on what is an absolute must do and what you consider optional.
  4. Review - Set your alarm clock 5 – 10 minutes early, roll out of bed, and quickly review your day.
    • Make sure you know what your priorities are—work efforts, time for self, kids, shopping, etc.
    • Identify the people you’ll need to meet with that day.
    • Identify 5 things you are grateful for (this is an inspiring way to start your day year-round, and it’s particularly helpful at this time of year.)

Take some time this week to position yourself for a fun, hectic, connecting, tiring holiday—one that leaves you proud of how you showed up and how you managed your priorities.

You matter!

~ Linda, Stephanie, and Heather

If you would like support in developing your leadership skills,  contact us today about our Executive Coaching.

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  • About the Authors

    Carpenter Smith Consulting

    Linda Carpenter and Stephanie Smith started Carpenter Smith Consulting in Portland to support individuals and teams who dream about having the power, impact and influence to create success and meaning in ... Read full profile
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