Afraid To Leave Your Job?

Is fear stopping you from leaving your job? For some people, leaving a job is easy to talk about but not so easy to do. Even if you know it’s time to leave, fear may get in the way. Kathi and Katherine explore the challenge of leaving a job and discuss tactics for managing the fears that come with making this kind of change.

The Importance of Being Present

With all of the upheaval and uncertainty we are facing, it can be more challenging than ever to be in the present moment. With the threat of another wave of COVID-19, with the death and losses already endured from the virus, with the pain and outrage over police brutality and the many forms of institutional racism that plague our communities, our emotions are running at a high pitch. Our minds either race forward to predict outcomes or look back to assign blame. 

No matter how angry or sad or anxious you are, coming into the present moment can help.

Being in the present moment gives us the chance to take a break from projecting forward with catastrophic images, from obsessing about what is coming. Being present creates the space to feel our feelings, breathe into our bodies, and slow down the racing mind. 

Being present is not a solution to the many challenges that lie ahead, but it is a tool for managing our feelings and projections more effectively, so that we can take constructive actions in the short term. 

If, for example, you find yourself constantly worried about the future of your industry or concerned about losing your job, being present can give you the headspace to examine the reality of your current situation – exactly what is happening – and generate a list of small actions that you can take to protect yourself right now.  

How do we bring ourselves into the present moment?

  • Breathe – Check your breath right now. Is it shallow or deep? Is it fast or slow? Are your chest and shoulders tight or loose? Can you feel your stomach going in and out? Breathing slowly, deeply, consciously for 5 – 10 breaths will do more than anything to take you out of your head and put you into your body. Regular deep breathing will take your mind out of obsessing about tomorrow and into dealing with today. 
  • Exercise— We’ve said it before and will say it again, exercise is a great way to move the emotional and mental energy in your body, to release tension and stress, and to ground you in the present moment. The more wound up you feel, the more you will need to exercise. Run, walk, do video workouts, try yoga, play a sport – if any of these options work for you, make sure to do them.
  • Take an inventory – This tried and true technique for getting out of your head and coming into the present moment involves answering five questions that examine your current reality and clarify your options: What’s happening here (what is the story that has you emotionally wound up)? What are the facts? What is beyond my control? What is in my control? What are my options?
  • Meditate – Meditation is not about rising above what’s happening, it’s about learning to sit with whatever feelings and thoughts you have so that they aren’t just surging through your body creating discomfort. You can try meditating on your own or enlist the help of an app like Headspace, Calm, or 10% Happier. Whatever form of meditation you attempt will help usher in the present moment.

As we venture back to work, as we contend with the many public health, economic and societal challenges ahead, it is worthwhile to make a concerted effort to stay in the present moment as often as possible. By grounding ourselves in the present moment, and making short term plans, we can turn sadness into compassion, anger into activism, and anxiety into constructive planning.

Katherine Crowley – Career Therapist and co-owner of K Squared Enterprises.

Contact us at for any further help around this topic.

Tough Conversations Require Executive Presence

You are probably facing some difficult conversations at work regarding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). If not, you should be. Now is the time.  

Entering these uncomfortable discussions requires the first rule of executive presence, Know Your Audience. Knowing your audience means that you are able to communicate the necessary messages without ruffling feathers. You know the audience well enough that you can speak to their fears with compassion and speak into their biases with no judgment. Not knowing your audience brings the risk of not being heard, which results in not helping yourself or others.

Listen up – before you walk in or phone or zoom into any of these conversations consider the following:

1 – Think about the receptivity of those in attendance. 

  • Are they old school and close minded?
  • Are they defensive?
  • Are they kind but very sensitive?
  • Do they think they are colorblind but they aren’t?
  • Is there someone who will back you?

2 – Check in with yourself.  

  • Are you feeling too angry to speak?
  • Are you too emotional and need time to retreat?
  • Are you feeling rushed and pressured into this?
  • Do you fear telling your truth at work?

3 – Get to a higher place  – above your initial feelings and into your wisdom.

  • You may need to exercise -take a run or engage in any form of exercise that helps to cool your system down.
  • Meditation can also help.
  • Try journaling, writing your thoughts out.
  • Talking to a professional or an experienced facilitator can help. 

4 – Communicate from a place of clear, refined messaging.

  • Think about what people can hear, not what you want them to hear.
  • Carefully choose your words to move the conversation forward, instead of using words that generate conflict.
  • Listen and watch for reactions; if your tone or words are not working, change your tactic.
  • Don’t blame, don’t accuse and don’t point fingers. 
  • Listen with compassion. 

As you embark on difficult conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion, you may be experiencing all kinds of emotions like anger, fear, dread, and exhaustion. But, as long as you are willing to tackle these issues, you can bring about necessary, long-awaited change. Let us know how you are doing, and if we can help.

Kathi Elster – Executive Coach and co-owner of K Squared Enterprises.

Contact us at for any further help around this topic.

Dealing with Uncertainty

Without question, these are uncertain times. Daily routines, work lives, economic conditions and social lives have been uprooted and disrupted. Homes now serve as offices, school rooms, infirmaries, and personal gyms. We don’t know when we will get our normal lives back again.
Because there is so much we can’t control at this time, it’s important to notice and act on the things that we can. The following are things you can do to calm your nervous system, take control of your environment, and deal with these uncertain times in a constructive manner:
• Create order in small areas that you can control
Uncertainty can feel chaotic. To manage the chaos, it’s important to take small actions that provide order to your life: Get up at a regular hour, make your bed, dress for work, continue your workout routine (even if you have to modify it), plan meals, coordinate with family members when scheduling your day.
• Do things to calm your nervous system
Think of your emotions as energy-in-motion. To release anxiety, you want to do things that let the energy of anxiety move through your body. Physical activity or home workouts can really help here. Meditation, yoga, and relaxation exercises are also good. Activities like cooking, singing, playing music, playing games, making art or building things can help your brain relax.
• Stay informed but don’t drown in information
Uncertainty makes us crave control. One way you may strive for control is by tracking every piece of news that comes out about CoVid-19 on social media, online news, or TV. Information overload will make you more anxious, not less. Limits on news consumption (checking in the morning, mid-day, and at end of day) will help your brain rest – which it needs to come up with clever solutions to uncertain times.
• Look for ways to be of service
Helping, assisting, caring for others is a very concrete tool for calming your mind and lifting your spirits during times of uncertainty. With social distancing and self-quarantining, the kind of help you can offer may not be “hands on” but it still counts. Phone calls to people living alone or elderly friends/family can make a difference. Video chats with friends who need to connect. Cooking meals for others that can be dropped at their homes. Reach out in some way, and offer to help. It will give you a sense of purpose and control.
• Work at being present
Being present means you are not running forward trying to predict the worst-case scenario nor are you glancing backward focusing on what you, your business, or your government should have done differently. Being present means you look at where you are today, appreciate what you have, and take small, concrete actions to live your life as well as you can. Being present can be very challenging during uncertain times, but it allows you to deal with the current reality from a non-hysterical place.
• Practice gratitude for simple things

Practicing gratitude is one of the most powerful tools you can use during uncertain times. Gratitude allows you to see what you have and what’s working rather than focusing on what you may lose and what isn’t working. You can be grateful for your food, your morning cup of coffee, your smart phone, your bed. List three things you are grateful at the beginning of every day and share that list with a friend.

Katherine Crowley – Career Therapist and co-owner of K Squared Enterprises.

Contact us at with any questions or for further help around this topic.

Morning Routine

What’s your morning routine? Do you fall out of bed after hitting the snooze button a dozen times, jump in the shower, and rush off to work? Or do you take a few moments to wake up, drink tea or coffee, read or write, exercise, and prepare for your day?

I find that my morning routine really matters. If I start out rushed, frazzled, or running behind, so goes the day. If I give myself time to check in and get centered, then my day unfolds in a similar fashion.

In a world where we’re constantly asked to react and respond, where the work day can start any time and end whenever, giving yourself just a little time to wake up and re-enter the world could make a BIG difference.

Try giving yourself time to wake up, check in, and decide what matters today. Your mind and body will thank you later.

A Breath of Fresh Air can go a long way

If there is one way to improve your mood immediately at work, it’s through the breath. This exercise comes from my yoga teacher, Charlotte Stone. Try it, you’ll like it:

Stressed? Tired? Having trouble adjusting to the change of season? Take a Breathing Break with Wave Breath, Viniyoga style.

What? Now? Yes, right now! Just do it!

Here we go.

Turn off your phone. Have a comfortable seat. Take a deep breath in, and sigh it away.

Now, inhale and expand at your collarbones … ribcage … and abdomen. Enjoy the brief pause at the top of the inhalation. Exhale and release the breath slowly from the abdomen … ribcage … collarbones. Enjoy the pause between exhale and inhale. Repeat a few more times, taking your time.

Don’t strain, and don’t try to hold your breath; just let the breath come and go easefully, in an oceanic, wavelike motion.

Try Wave Breath for one minute. Yes, just one minute can make such a difference! When you feel complete with the breath, return to your natural breathing rhythm. Notice how you feel …


Hitting the Pause Button

If you are like most people, the people and devices around you at work require constant interaction. Emails demand a reply. Meetings fill your calendar and require participation. Social media portals buzz, click, tweet and ping – insisting that you respond in kind. It’s easy to spend an entire day reacting and responding, without actually accomplishing anything.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed; if it seems like you never get any traction on the projects that you truly care about, try hitting the pause button. The next time someone insists that you take on a new task, ask for a moment to think about it. If you’re at your desk feeling pulled in ten directions, close all your files (paper and digital) for a minute. Hit the pause button, allow your brain to re-boot and discover its priorities. Pause long enough to evaluate what efforts are worth your time and what can simply wait.

Sometimes, you may discover that you need to say, “no,” to the latest demand for your attention, or “not now.” Sometimes, you may decide to put down whatever you’re doing and address a more pressing issue. Pause, recalibrate, and move forward with your day. Take a few moments to decide what matters most.

Letting nature help

Mother nature is a powerful tonic for whatever ails you. When it comes to work and the people, places and things that upset us, nature can pull us out of obsession, worry or frustration in a minute. You may not have the time or the inclination to walk along a sandy beach or hike up a rocky mountain trail. Still, you can soothe your mind and refresh your energy by taking just a few moments in your busy day to observe and absorb some aspect of nature.

Even urban settings provide blue skies, racing clouds, bright sun and shimmering moon. Perhaps you catch a flock of birds soaring overhead. You may notice the hearty smell of the earth as you walk to your bus or car or train.

Try it. Just a moment of ingesting the air, trees, grass, reeds, birds, squirrels, water, sky, or whatever form of nature thrives in your environment.

Take it in. Feel your feet on the ground. Become aware of your place in the bigger picture. Exhale and move forward with your day.