Revealing Your Inner Beauty

We were so touched by your responses to our recent post, Broken. It’s powerful to realize that we’re all broken in life in many different ways and celebrating how we’ve put ourselves back together is an important part of honoring how our brokenness has contributed to who we are now.

This week we want share with you a way to think about life’s challenges and the difference between those that get you closer to your internal beauty, and those that just beat you up.

Please don’t take this absolutely literally – we’re not gemologists after all – but as a metaphor it’s a pretty interesting way to think about your life.

When rubies and sapphires and many other precious gems come out of the ground they’re encased in rock and look pretty gnarly. To get to the gemstone, the rocks are tossed into a tumbler with other stones of equal hardness so that as they tumble, the rocky exterior and dirt get knocked off and the beauty of the stone within is revealed. 

If the gems are put into a tumbler with other stones that are too soft, the rocky exterior won’t be knocked off. And, if they’re put into the tumbler with stones that are too hard, they’ll be broken apart and crushed by the other rocks.

People are like those stones.
We all have some rocky exterior that keeps us from shining.

As we live our lives, we bump into people and things that knock some of that dirt and rock off of us. We’re all tumbling through life’s situations that are either soft on us, hard on us or just perfect, just as the tumbler is on the gems.

If we don’t challenge ourselves enough, we never get to the true essence of who we are. If we put ourselves into situations that are too challenging we can find ourselves emotionally and sometimes physically decimated.

If we’re lucky, we have a good friend or two who bump into us just hard enough to help knock off the rocky exterior as we do the same for them.

This week, we’d like you to think about the tumble that is your life. 

  • Are you playing too small and too easy to bring out the best of you?
  • Does it challenge you to sparkle and shine?
  • Are you in too many situations where you’re getting beaten up and beaten down?

Once you have a sense of this, you can seek out opportunities that will bring out the most beautiful part of your inner being without crushing the gem within.

Take care of yourself,
Your Coaches and Allies at Carpenter Smith Consulting

We’re here to help.
Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about our coaching services.

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Rules to Live By


When Linda was in graduate school in psychology, she was influenced by an amazing family therapist, Cloé Madanes, who wrote an article on parenting that Linda found life-changing.

The article talked about the fact that children deal with many rules from their parents and that those rules often change, making it extremely hard for kids to know what’s really important.

Madanes suggested that parents need to land on 3-5 rules so that kids know what is expected of them, parents know what to look for to determine compliance, and kids learn to negotiate with their parents within their rules.

So, when Linda became a parent, she came up with 3 rules for her children: 

  1. You can’t hurt yourself. 
  2. You can’t hurt others. 
  3. You can’t hurt property.  

Some families have rules about participating in family events, expectations about grades, or any of range of other priorities—but the goal with these rules is to limit them to 3-5 and have them last through childhood. The “you can’t hurt yourself” rule of Linda’s meant something quite different when her kids were little compared to when they had their driver’s licenses. Yet, the rule itself was the same. 

This clarity empowered her kids and as they got older, they learned to negotiate with her for permission to do an activity on the basis that their choice “didn’t hurt them, others, or property.”

Think about your own experience of rules. We’ve all had bosses who seemed to have a ton of rules—sometimes rules that were contradictory or changed mid-project—which left you confused and unable to be truly successful.  

As a leader or manager, sharing your 3-5 rules with your team can really increase your effectiveness. Remember, managers, like parents, are responsible for the success of others. Consider these guidelines to teach your teams your 3 – 5 rules:

1) Identify the 3-5 Rules that will set the standard for how the person you’re managing can demonstrate success. 

Here are some examples of rules that our clients have come up with:

  • My team needs to:
    • Be clear about the rationale for decisions.
    • Come to me with the problem defined and an initial idea for solving it.
    • Own success, and when it’s not happening, demonstrates a sense of urgency and clarity about getting it right.
    • Bring me in if there is a risk to the department or the organization.
    • Care as much about relationships within the organization as they do about results—and aim for excellence in both.

2) Sit down with the people you’re managing and let them know the 3-5 Rules that will guide your assessment of how things are going.

Tell them that they can count on you to let them navigate independently within the boundaries of these rules. And let them know that if they fail to work within these rules, you’ll discuss it with them since it indicates a problem.

3) Document what you’ve said in a summary to your team.

And, use them, over and over and over again.


Knowing what truly matters to you as a manager, will increase your effectiveness. Sharing your 3-5 rules with others empowers them; they know what you’ll hold them accountable to and they can ask that you give them room to navigate within the boundaries of those 3-5 rules. 

This week, try to notice what really matters to you, what you actually look for to measure success, and what you need from others to feel confidence in them. Your clarity will help you and others to shine.

Until next time,
Your Coaches and Allies at Carpenter Smith Consulting

You’re smart, you’re capable, and still… you’re overwhelmed!  

We know how hard it is to rise above the overwhelm. That’s why we created an incredible 5-week online program called Overwhelmed to Outstanding for you, where you’ll learn the techniques for determining your passions and priorities and living them every day.

Because you’re a valued member of our Monday Morning Business Coach community, we’re offering this special program to you today at a VIP rate of just $9.97 when you use CODE: O2OSPECIAL at checkout! 


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Image by Haragayato, used under a CC 4.0 license. Kintsugi bowl with cracks filled in with gold.

Many of us spend a lot of time trying to hide the ways that we’re broken. We hide the wounds we have from our family of origin, we hide the ways we feel stupid or unsure, and we’re always trying to cover up the wrinkles and age marks that reveal that we’ve lived.  

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Of course we do!” And, it’s true that for many people it’s simply too scary to show the world your scars and the glue you’ve used to put yourself together.

So, here’s a little known fact: there is a whole art form focused on drawing the eye to the broken aspect of pottery, and then celebrating it.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could start doing that with our own brokenness?

Wikipedia describes this art form, Kintsugi, as “the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum…” Gold, silver, or platinum! That is so unlike what we do with our personal brokenness. 

The description goes on to say, “As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.”

What if our cracks and wounds could be made beautiful, celebrated, and even honored as one of the many things that helped us to become our current self?

As we say this, we’re not asking you to celebrate trauma, abuse, or the losses that you have experienced, but we are suggesting that the ways you’ve learned to move through those traumas and the ways you found strength through adversity are worth celebrating.

Take a few minutes this week to think about the places where you feel broken and what it would look like to you if you celebrated the ways in which you put yourself back together.  

And, if you’re able, consider how you’d show up in the world if you deeply honored and respected the ways you had repaired yourself. Imagine how much taller you would stand if you thought of yourself as heroic, brave, and tenacious! 

We’ve been doing this work for several decades and this is what we know:

We all get broken in the course of a lifetime.

Fame, wealth, status… none of those things make a difference—we all have wounds. Hiding your scars can keep you isolated and can make you think that you alone are broken.  

If you find yourself still lost in your wounds, it may be necessary to find a professional coach, therapist, or clergy member who can support you as you grieve what you lost when you were broken, and then support you in celebrating how you put yourself together.

We see your strength,
Your Coaches and Allies at Carpenter Smith Consulting

We're here to help.
Contact us today if you'd like to learn more about our coaching services.

Image by Harayagato, used under a CC 4.0 license.

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Leading When Times Are Tough

leading when times are tough

Today we’d like you to spend some time thinking about how you can lead your life and lead in your life.

Our short exercise below can help you to:

  • live in alignment with your purpose
  • have some influence and control over your day-to-day life
  • have a sense of connection and camaraderie
  • have opportunities for doing good work and believing your work is meaningful
Step into your own leadership.

The power of intentionally leading in your own life gives you a sense of control and authority—which can counter burnout.

Often leadership is thought of as a role or title. Really it’s a way of being in the world that lets you effectively lead your life and lead in your life.

Our Leader in You framework has 3 key steps to help you take back a sense of authority and control in your life and work. These are extremely important in preventing and recovering from burnout.

1. Pause

2. Reflect

  • Reflect in a way that gives you powerful information on what you are afraid of in life or in a particular situation.
  • Then think about how you typically react to fear and what you’d do if you felt safe, confident, and fueled.
  • Then do that!

3. Act with POWER

  • Consider what’s Possible in the situation.
  • Own why it matters to you to reconnect with your purpose.
  • Create some We-focused goals (goals that you can share with others in your life).
  • Enable action (movement toward what matters to you is healing and fueling).
  • Review and Refine so that you learn from what worked and didn’t work.
  • Then do it again!

You can do this! It will take practice, but your life will be forever changed if you step into your leadership and your power.

To help you remember these steps, download our helpful action guide and pocket card by clicking below.

Click to download the Leader in You pocket card.

Click here to download the Leader in You pocket card.

Please select the “Actual size” option when printing the pocket card.


Your Coaches and Allies at Carpenter Smith Consulting

If you find that you’d like an ally and partner to help you put all of this into action, contact us today to learn more about our coaching services. We’re here to help.

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Beating Burnout

light through the tunnel - beating burnout

Last week we talked about the fact that chronic overwhelm can lead to burnout. Today we want to share some thoughts with you about what to do if you notice yourself getting burned out.

It’s helpful to remember that burnout is in many ways a response to depletion.

Think about it: you wouldn’t sit in your car and expect it to work without gas, or sit in front of a wood-burning stove waiting for the warmth without putting in wood! Yet, we often ask ourselves to keep going without the fuel we need to actually keep going.

Telling yourself to “get it together” will work from time to time, but it won’t work over the long haul. You must do the things that fuel you even when everything in your being says there isn’t enough time or that there are other more important things to do.

The research is clear that you’re less likely to get burned out when you do things throughout your day that:

  • are aligned with your purpose
  • have some influence and control over your day-to-day life
  • have a sense of connection and camaraderie
  • give you opportunities to do good things and feel that those things are meaningful

This week, we’d like you to explore some Key Ways to Beat Burnout and Refuel Yourself.

Key Ways to Beat Burnout and Refuel Yourself

  1. Reconnect with your personal purpose.

    Ask yourself what matters to you in your life and what you hope your impact will be.

    If you have been charging ahead, doing, doing, doing and haven’t looked up to articulate your sense of purpose and the goals and priorities that matter in your life, take time now to write them down.

    And if you haven’t yet written to Heather for a simple, powerful exercise that will help you identify what really matters to you, do it now. It will help.

  2. Build resilience.

    If you’re not taking care of yourself, you can experience a profound loss of control, and it’s erosive to your energy. Think about resilience in the following 3 areas and then start working with one area where you can make a dent.

    • Physical: sleeping, eating, moving
    • Emotional: connection, engagement with like-minded others, meditation, mindfulness, coaching, therapy, take time to grieve losses or setbacks
    • Cognitive: read a book, participate in discussions, take a class (in person or online), attend a conference that reminds you of how smart and talented you are

  3. Build connection and camaraderie.

    Nurture relationships that matter to you. If you don’t have the relationships that you’d like in your life, considering joining a group or an effort that interests you. Whether it’s work relationships, a church community, a hiking group, or a volunteer day, when you find ways to meet people that have shared interests you’ll likely find new friendships.

    Knowing that you’re contributing positively in the world adds personal meaning to your life. The connection and camaraderie that comes from collaborating with others can make a significant difference in preventing and beating burnout.

It’s really important to only start with 1 or 2 things. Don’t try to tackle this entire list or you’ll get burned out beating your burnout! Remember, small consistent steps on your behalf will take you far.

You’ve got this,
Your Coaches and Allies at Carpenter Smith Consulting

If you’d benefit from an ally standing shoulder to shoulder with you to support you in beating burnout in your life, contact us about our coaching services.

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Chronic Overwhelm will Burn You Out

Depressed burned out woman.

This year we’re focusing on how to help our clients move from Overwhelmed to Outstanding. Today we want to talk with you about a very serious topic: how chronic overwhelm will cause you to burn out.

What is Burnout?

Burnout is a very real set of physical symptoms, cognitive challenges, and emotional reactions that can be quite debilitating—in some cases even lead to depression and suicide. And the tricky part about it is that it can come and go, making it hard to believe you need to pay attention to it, especially when you’re feeling “better” about things.

Trickier yet is that it often manifests as the experience of personal failure versus a response to chronic stressors and depletion. This makes it hard for those of us who pride ourselves on being strong, determined, and passionate to acknowledge that we’re starting to burn out.

Symptoms of Burnout

Generally, burnout has three main components:

1. Lack of Energy

People feel exhausted and drained—exhausted to the point where they find they struggle doing the normal activities of life.

2. Cynicism/Objectifying Self and Others

People find that they start treating themselves and others more as objects or tasks on a to-do list rather than people and connections.

3. Sense of Failure

People start to believe that they’re ineffective, haven’t and can’t accomplish what matters to them, and that things will never get better.

Being Burned Out

Any one of these things can be challenging, but the three together can leave people feeling trapped in circumstances that they can believe are insurmountable.

If left unmanaged, burnout can lead to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, addiction, and in the most extreme cases, suicide.

When you’re stressed, exhausted, and numb, it makes sense that you may feel like a failure… not because you are, but because your body, mind, and spirit have hit a wall with the stressors in your life.

Preventing burnout, catching it early, or treating it when it’s full blown is really important.

Please, please, please, if you are worried about yourself as you read this, reach out to someone for support, call a therapist, or talk to a coach. If you feel suicidal, get to an emergency room, call a suicide hotline, or ask someone to stay with you until you can get support.

It’s important that you don’t ignore your pain.

Next week we’re going to focus on Beating Burnout so you can intervene in ways that bring you back to life.

Hugs to you,
Your Coaches and Allies at Carpenter Smith Consulting

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Make A Small Change in How You Talk to Yourself

change your self-talk

We want you to matter in your own life. Period.

If you can create a purpose-filled, rich, and satisfying life then everyone and everything you touch will be better for it.

Your energy, mood, creativity, and openness are enhanced when you see yourself as valuable and worthwhile. That same energy, mood, creativity, and openness matter to the people you live with, work with, or even bump into on the street.

These are challenging times in our world and our country. You need as much of yourself as you can get to lead your life with dignity, integrity, and pride.

You have a lot to offer and we want you to shine.

We’ve got a great nugget for you this week that while small, will help you move toward the things that matter to you: self talk. 

How you talk to yourself directly impacts your ability to shine.

This week we’re focusing on the realization that we all have a long list of things we must get done. And while they fall into the MUST category of things to do, you have more choice over what you get done, when you get it done, and how you get it done than you can imagine.

The next time you think to yourself I must or I have to, try instead to shift your self talk to words that remind you that you’re making a choice:

I have to get this project done tonight.
Try: I choose to get this done tonight and free up my time for later.

I have to become a better Mom.
Try: It matters to me to become a better Mom.

I have to get in shape and lose weight.
Try: I’ll feel better and prouder when I get in better shape.


You get the idea.

There are truly things we don’t have much choice in doing, but within those things we have a choice about how we talk about them and how we tackle them. Awareness of your ability to choose matters to your sense of personal authority and power.

Choose to live from the center of your life
and talk about it in ways that respect yourself.

We’re here with you,
Your Coaches and Allies at Carpenter Smith Consulting

If you’re interested in an exercise that will help you choose the priorities at the center of your life, drop Heather, our queen of productivity, a note and she’ll send it your way.

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Time Management or You Management?

image of calendar for managing your time

Linda was at a conference a couple of years ago with a speaker who was talking about time management. Unfortunately, she can’t recall his name but she was totally caught by his message.

In a room with 500 professionals, he said, “Raise your hand if you have ever read an article or a book about time management.” The entire room raised their hands.

Then he said, “Raise your hand if you have ever taken a course on time management.” About 90% of the room raised their hand.

Then he said, “Raise your hand if you believe you have mastered time management.” Five people raised their hands.

Now, this was a group of smart, capable people but only 1% of the room felt some mastery over time management even though between 90 and 100% of them had done some training or reading on time management.

His introduction clearly caught the attention of the room. He went on to say that time management is mostly a myth. You can’t really manage time (it being time and all).

In fact, time is not something you can manage or influence. But what you can manage is what you do with your time.

You can get more clear about:

  • what really matters to you.
  • what brings you a sense of pride and satisfaction.
  • what you can do to engage in more of the things that make you proud of your behavior—even when in the moment you are tempted to fall back into patterns that are not as good for you.

Since that lecture, we’ve stopped worrying about time management and focused instead on helping people know, articulate, and claim with respect the things that really matter in their lives. This helps as they set priorities and work to create successes that matter to them.

Managing yourself will get you closer to a life of meaning, satisfaction, and success.

If you’re interested in an exercise that will help you identify the priorities in your life so that you manage yourself based on what truly matters to you, drop Heather, our queen of productivity, a note and she’ll send it your way.

Here’s to your success in 2017!

Your Coaches and Allies at Carpenter Smith Consulting

If you’d like personal coaching on ‘you management’ and prioritization, check out our Productivity Coaching services.

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Grieve… to Grow

lost future

Most of us understand the importance of grieving the loss of a person or a pet that we loved and were attached to.

What’s harder for many of us to understand is the importance of grieving the loss of a desired or imagined future. You see, when you’re planning a future and it doesn’t materialize, there’s grief in that too. Before you can grow from it, you must grieve it.

Let us explain.

An executive coaching client of ours had a good job and worked with us to get a promotion. She was very successful in her new role and after several years she was recruited to a firm in another part of the country.

After 8 months in her new firm, she called us to say that she wasn’t pleased with the company and was ready to look for her next opportunity, but felt stuck.

We talked about what was missing at the job she’d taken, how her skills weren’t being utilized, how the culture wasn’t as promised—and then we talked about her lost future.

Her “lost future” was that she had planned her life and saw her future with Company X, but it turned out that Company X was not all it had been promised to be. Much like a death, she was in the process of letting go of an image of how she wanted to be in the world and she needed to grieve.

Once she felt the pain of not being valued, the sorrow that came from promises broken, and the reality that what she’d thought was going to be her future wasn’t going to happen, she could move on.

Humans see their future and start to live as if it’s true.

Despite all of our creative endeavors, we actually don’t like change very much. So when we’ve based our thinking on one future, it’s difficult to switch gears—especially when we haven’t taken the time to grieve “what should have been” so that we can then grab hold of “what will be.”

Grieving isn’t wallowing.

When you grieve a lost future, you look at what you’d expected life to look like in order to recognize that it won't be your life. When you grieve, you face the truth of your situation so you can learn from it and move forward toward a new future standing in the reality of what is. 

Once you're standing in the reality, you’re able to ask yourself: Are you different as a result of this experience? Could you have done something differently? Were you too starry eyed, causing you to overlook pieces of data? 

Grieving positions you to learn from loss so that going forward you make better decisions and show up fully and confidently.

This week, we encourage you to reflect on any lost futures that you may have experienced in your life. Let yourself grieve, learn from them, and move on.

Your new future awaits as long as you don’t keep one foot in the past.

Let us know how we can help.

Take care of yourself,
Your Coaches and Allies at Carpenter Smith Consulting

If you’re feeling stuck and need help moving forward in your career, coaching could be a great solution for you. Click here to contact us today.

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Just This Week: Start Small to Go Big in 2017

2017 goals

The last couple of weeks we’ve been focused on some simple steps you can take to create a 2017 that can move you from Overwhelmed to Outstanding. If you haven’t read those posts, we’d really encourage you to do so by clicking here.

Shifting from running as fast as you can to taking thoughtful, intentional steps to create a life that matters to you is important because YOU MATTER.

This week we’re going to talk about how to get traction on some of the goals you’ve identified. The key is to only focus on the upcoming week. Don’t worry about the whole year—just think about this week.

Remember, true change occurs when you take small steps consistently over time.

If you set huge goals and try to take action on them all at once you’ll likely feel defeated and set them aside. If you set no goals and wait to see what comes your way, you’ll likely look back and be disappointed with your year.

So, this week we want you to do 3 things to get yourself started with an approach that, over time, can change your life.

  1. Take a few minutes to think about what you learned from looking back on 2016 and what you identified as important for 2017, using the wheel exercise from last week.

    Now, looking at your upcoming week, identify 2-3 small things you can do this week to move toward one or two of your 2017 goals.

    Small things that fit into your week but move you, even a bit, toward your goal.
  2. Each morning this week, take 2-3 minutes to look over your goals and to remind yourself of the 2-3 things you are going to do this week.
  3. At the end of each day, spend 2-3 minutes making notes about what you’re proud of from the day, what you’re grateful for, and the people in your life that you appreciate.

    Then, on the days you had planned to take a small step toward your goal, note if you did so and if you did, give yourself some credit. If you didn’t, look at when you can do what you had planned to do.

That’s it. Small steps. Just for this week.

Then, do it again next week. One week at a time. If you do what we’ve suggested in this list, you’ll likely need a place to note your efforts. You can do this digitally, in a notebook, or on a scrap of paper you leave someplace where you’ll notice it.

Don’t make it hard! When you’re identifying the 2-3 small things you can do each week, you’ll likely need to spend 10 minutes on that activity—but no more. Then spend 2-3 minutes each morning and 2-3 minutes each night reviewing your efforts.

It’s simple but it’s not always easy. Trust us.

We try to work with our own recommendations and sometimes we forget, feel too tired, or believe it’s too much—and likely you will too. That’s okay; just come back to this list and start again.

We’re committed to helping you have your best year yet by helping you move from living a life that is Overwhelmed to living a life that is Outstanding! Let’s get this year started…

Hugs, Your Coaches and Allies at Carpenter Smith Consulting

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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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