Harness the power of LInkedIn for creating and growing a professional network. Use LInkedIn for managing your career.

There are different ways to look at achieving goals.  Consider trying something new to get to what you want for your career this year.  I hope I’ve inspired you to think of your goals/resolutions in a different way. 


Many times, throughout your career and life, you may be asked the question, “Can you tell me about yourself?” It can occur particularly in an interviewing context. Going through job interviews, it’s a standard first question. I am often asked this question, especially by prospective clients. It can also occur in networking situations or in meeting a new boss or co-worker.

How do you answer the question, “Tell me about yourself?”

Take the time to think about the story of your career. Now, this isn’t a way to replay your resume, rather it’s an expression of the achievements of your career, education, career branding and personal value proposition.

There are several advantages to putting together a career narrative:

Some jobs are now requiring career narratives as you apply for work. A written narrative about your past and what you’re bringing to the prospective job is important. In addition, a narrative will help you to facilitate coming up with that elevator pitch about yourself and what you bring to the table. Finally, the career narrative can also help you to update your resume and Linked In because it focuses on accomplishments and results-driven as well as branding and value proposition.

This exercise can help you to see all that you have accomplished to this point in your career and it can be illuminating.

Take some time out to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and focus on expressing this narrative, step by step:

1. Start by thinking about your education, training, certifications…all that you have learned. What influence has that had on where you are now and what you do? But what if you didn’t graduate from college? On the job training is also educational. Focus on the learnings acquired and how those have shaped you.

2. Now consider your work experience. If you’re still in school or recently graduated, consider any part-time or temporary jobs you may have held. Think in terms of what you’ve most enjoyed, what has given you the most satisfaction? What stands out as significant accomplishments? You want to focus on writing about results and outcomes, not just activity, but there is a place for this as well.

3. Consider your strengths and weaknesses and write these down. This is also useful because you will usually be asked questions about this in an interview. When addressing weaknesses, be sure to also address how you are or want to address these in the future.

4. What do you have a passion for doing? What are your short and long term career goals? What’s important or relevant about those goals to you? How do these goals align with your education and experience?

5. Think about career brand and value proposition. Career brand is best defined as your specialties, your service, what you’re known for. What are those things that others have given you positive feedback around? Value proposition defines those unique and remarkable characteristics that make you stand out from the rest. What are those things that make you the best candidate for the job you’re in or that you’re going for?

6. Review what you’ve written. How can you synthesize this into a pitch about yourself? An example might be talking about past experiences and proven successes, strengths, abilities, and current situation. Example for myself: My background has been in senior technology management for a Fortune 100 corporation, focused on results that saved expenses and leveraged innovative new processes and technologies. I loved technology and leadership, but it’s the people that have always made a difference for me. Leading, coaching, and mentoring individuals. This led to my next step as a career coach entrepreneur, where my branding is “Untangling career challenges and choices through coaching for courageous results-oriented clients who need solutions NOW.” I make a difference in coaching you through a change in your career or life.

7. Do you need to incorporate any of these changes into your resume and Linked In? If you haven’t updated these in a while, it’s a great time to work on this.


The career narrative is an important step in defining what you’re all about. Take some time to prepare this important document for your career.

I would love to hear your thoughts.


That commute home is where it hits you, or maybe it’s when you finally walk out of the office door for the evening….what did I get done today? You look at your To-Do List at the end of the day and find that it’s actually grown since the morning started out.

Some days, productivity escapes you.

Now, there could be some very good reasons for this. It may have been a day of putting out a lot of unexpected fires, or for some other reason, priorities shifted beyond your control.

What keeps you from getting as much done every day as you can? What if you set a goal that you would be more productive this week? Would you know what the barriers to your productivity are?

How do you become more productive?

Decide that you want to experiment with productivity to make this more of a daily priority. You can explore what gets in the way of a productive day. There are certain barriers to productivity that are important to understand:

Procrastination (see my article next week) – Ah yes, this is putting off those really big scary tasks and never seeming to find the time for them. Recommendation: Make a list of all of those things that you are procrastinating about then put a small plan together to address each of those NOW, today. What is the smallest you can do that will at least get you moving on this activity?

Perfectionism – it has to be done perfectly….OR ELSE! Challenge that perfectionist side of you to take a break! Instead of perfection, strive for progress every day and don’t evaluate what you did wrong or not good enough, but instead what moved forward, even if slowly.

Not having clear and realistic goals. Do you know exactly what you need to accomplish each day? Take some time to set goals for yourself both personally and professionally….even if it’s at the weekly level. Set goals every week before the work week begins then cascade these goals daily, even if in bite-sized pieces…make slow but steady progress.

Not prioritizing your work and focusing on the most important things. Your To-Do List maybe 3 pages (yes that happened to me once) but prioritization is what will determine your productivity. What are the most important things that need to get addressed? You can number rank them or do the ABC method. Whichever works best for you.

Not having the right tools, or not using them correctly. It’s important to have a task and project planner. I use the Franklin Covey method. Others use Outlook, for example. This is a place where you put your calendar, priorities for the day, and allows them to all roll up to weekly and monthly tasks.

Lack of understanding around peak performance times. There are times where you do better work than others. Are you a morning person? Afternoon? Evening? Plan to tackle your most difficult and challenging work (see Procrastination list) during your peak times. Really notice when you peak in energy throughout the day and manage your work effort by those peaks.

Holding on to things you really need to let go of. Delegate, delegate, delegate. Sometimes you may have to spend money to become more productive by hiring a virtual administrative assistant or having the dry cleaners deliver and pick up at your home. At work, look for others who could benefit from your delegation of assignments.

I go to bed so late and wake up tired. Your productive day begins the day before. You can plan tasks, clean up your office space and come to a new organized area every morning where you know exactly what you need to do to hit the ground running.

Eliminate interruptions…turn your phone and notifications off for a little while. All the interruptions can wait for you to focus on what you need to get done.


Do any of these barriers resonate with you? What can you work on this coming week to increase your daily productivity? Experiment with best techniques for you.

I would love to hear your thoughts.



Up Coaching LLC.

Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a certified Career/Executive Coach. She coaches individuals and leaders to career fulfillment, transition, and advancement. She also consults for results with businesses and solopreneurs. Her background includes 12 years in senior leadership for a Fortune 100 corporation and 7 years as a coach, with a Master’s degree in Organizational Effectiveness and Executive Coaching.


For more information, please visit my website at www.upcoached.com




Does this sound familiar? Your boss gives you an important assignment. It’s not due for 3 months but will take a bit of time to research and present a solution. Days pass, weeks pass…lots of urgent work to attend to. You haven’t forgotten about the assignment, but you keep putting it off and putting it off until you realize you only have a week left and haven’t even started to look at the assignment.

Procrastination happens to all of us. Before the time of electronic returns for your taxes, US Post Offices would be flooded with people on the evening of 4/15. There would be long lines of cars and the post office having postal workers out collecting the taxes to be mailed. It was an annual ritual.

Yes, procrastination happens to all of us.

It’s the act of putting things off for another time, not addressing the “important but not urgent” items.

There are several reasons for procrastinating:

Fear – fear of failure, fear of not being perfect, fear that you don’t know what you’re doing or fear of what happens when you do it (for example, I owe on my taxes!).

Lack of knowledge – You truly don’t know how to do it and don’t feel comfortable asking someone.

Perfectionism – You just know you can’t do this perfectly, so you don’t do it at all.

Lack of organization – This is just so big and complex. Where do I start?

Complexity – You don’t know how to plan out a complex project and task it out.

Busyness – You said “yes” to something when the reality is that you are over capacity and never should have agreed to it in the first place.

Rather than the address at the moment, it gets placed on a shelf, until there is just no choice but to move forward on it. And now, it’s a rush to get something done with a lot of guilt and bad feelings for not doing something earlier!

How to break the cycle:

1. Forgive yourself! Studies actually show that individuals are very hard on themselves during a procrastination event. “I should have been working on this earlier.” “I should have asked for help.” “I should have just said “NO.” This negativity spirals and can also keep you locked in procrastination.

2. Take some time to understand your procrastination style. Understanding what makes you procrastinate can help you address the situation when it arises. What makes you procrastinate? For myself, I know that it is complexity, busyness, and sometimes downright cold fear.

3. Write it all down. Capture all of those things that may not be written down, but keep you up at night. For example, I know there are a lot of house tasks we need to address in our home, but none of these are written down… reseal the deck, have a roofer out, blacktop the driveway. These things can gnaw on you until you address them and step one can be simply making a list.

4. Ask for help! There are so many ways to address what needs to be done…virtual assistants, handymen, your co-workers, someone you trust. Understand that the task won’t go away…hire someone to help or delegate it.

5. Ask yourself, what’s bothering me…what’s uncomfortable about this task? Is it something I don’t know how to handle or something so visible that if I make a mistake it will be huge? What is making you avoid this task? Doing this analysis can help you to decide on what you need to do to make this happen.

6. Plan it out. I like to keep lists on my Franklin Covey planner so that these kinds of efforts don’t fall to the wayside. Plan the smallest amount of work you can do each week.

7. Let someone hold you accountable. Share with a trusted friend, advisor, coach. Have them keep you accountable to keep moving forward, no matter what.

I laugh at the expression of getting “a round tuit”. There are a lot of “round tuits” out there. Decide that you will instead go for getting motivated…motivated to tackle those things that you have been procrastinating about.


Do you know your procrastination style? Take some time this week to break the cycle of procrastination and move forward.



Up Coaching LLC.

Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a certified Career/Executive Coach. She coaches individuals and leaders to career fulfillment, transition, and advancement. She also consults for results with businesses and solopreneurs. Her background includes 12 years in senior leadership for a Fortune 100 corporation and 7 years as a coach, with a Master’s degree in Organizational Effectiveness and Executive Coaching.


For more information, please visit my website at www.upcoached.com




“Um, NO, I think not, well, maybe not, um, OK, not right now, that is of course….unless you really need me to.”

How good are you at saying “No?”

The word “no” is truly a hard word to remember and to use effectively. Need more control over your time and your day? There are so many time management tools out there including prioritized lists, calendars, daytimers, Franklin Covey Timers, Outlook, etc. etc.…all in an attempt to get more done every day.

Yet sometimes, you can free things up considerably by just saying the magic word, “No.”

Consider this quote by Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of England: “The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.”

Where do you draw your boundaries?

Boundaries can disappear in our lives for several reasons:

1. I can’t possibly say no to _______________. There are certain people or situations in our lives that are especially difficult to say no to. It could be your boss, your parents, your children, your friends.

2. You may have people around you who are skilled at getting you to do what they want you to. They don’t mean any harm…they just want to take up your time with their needs and requests and know exactly which of your buttons to push.

3. You want to please people.

4. You feel validated or needed through requests of your time.

5. You would feel so guilty (similar to number 1) if you said no.

6. You think it’s a part of your job to never say no.

7. As Tony Blair stated above…it’s just easier to say yes and let your boundaries be crossed than to say no and deal with the fallout from that…negative reactions from others or yourself.

If you recognized yourself in any of these statements, then your boundaries may need a little tune-up to understand where they are and how to effectively protect them.

Many times you don’t even realize your boundaries are being crossed, but a sure-fire indication is if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, or resenting what you’re doing, or both.

I served on the board of directors for a non-profit. It was a gratifying yet very time-consuming commitment. I was finally forced, with commitments around growing my coaching business to bow out and resign. A few months later, I was asked if I could help with something. I had already said I was done, but they were asking me so persuasively. It took a lot of conviction, but I said I was so sorry and no. Then a few weeks later, I received a beautifully engraved crystal bowl as a thank you for my years of service, with a note asking for my help. This was a huge test. They really needed me!

One of the things I did was to stop and think before I said yes. I realized that there were other capable board members who could step up to the plate as well. It was so difficult, and guilt provoking, but yet again, I had to say no.

I was saying no to protect the prioritization in my work and life. But it takes effort to determine, ahead of time, what is most important in your life. An examination of boundaries can begin there…by prioritizing where and how you want to spend your precious time, guilt-free.

Saying no can mean overcoming guilt. It’s about really examining what your motives are, and deciding the best option for yourself at this time. Saying no means building up security within you that says “I don’t need this acknowledgment; I can do this for myself.” Saying no takes practice, but like all things, it helps to reconsider your goals and priorities before launching into the yes.

If saying no is just too difficult, try this response I once learned from a very wise woman, “My answer is no at this time but if I can, I’ll get back to you.”


What do you need to say NO to, today? How can you constructively look at keeping your boundaries and making informed decisions on what to take on?



Up Coaching LLC.

Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a certified Career/Executive Coach. She coaches individuals and leaders to career fulfillment, transition, and advancement. She also consults for results with businesses and solopreneurs. Her background includes 12 years in senior leadership for a Fortune 100 corporation and 7 years as a coach, with a Master’s degree in Organizational Effectiveness and Executive Coaching.


For more information, please visit my website at www.upcoached.com




Networking is an essential skill to master.

A strong network can enhance your career progression as well as support you in your current role. This doesn’t just include networking outside of your organization with other professionals. It can also mean networking within your company, getting to know leaders, peers, and others. Personally and professionally, networks can support what you’re doing and help you to do it better. This is basically a group of people with whom you can connect and share professional experiences and common interests. A strong network can give you a huge advantage. For myself as an entrepreneur, a network is critical. For those of you in nonprofit/volunteer situations, networks can help you as well. A network is truly a valuable tool.

In addition, 85 to 90% of jobs are acquired through networking…not job boards. That’s an amazing statistic and another huge reason why networking works.

It’s surprising to learn that many people do not have networks. Great networks take time, strategy, and care. Networks are NOT just about getting as many contacts on Linked In as possible, but that is a way to start to build a base.

There are basically two components to networking…Building it, and Working it!

Building It

Look for networking opportunities everywhere. Start with Linked In. This is such a great tool for networking. Linked In is very helpful in connecting you with others. The “My Network” tab will show “People you may know.” You will see individuals on Linked In who have some connection to you (mutual connections). Start by Linking into these. As I say to my clients…”What’s the worst that can happen?“ So, they don’t respond, no big deal. Always send a little note letting them know that you would like to connect.

Never refuse a Linked In connection to you. Understandably, there are always worries about identity theft, etc. If you don’t know the person at all and see nothing in common, perhaps not best to allow them to connect, but otherwise, connect away. Especially if Recruiters want to connect…there’s only so much they can do on Linked In (or you would report them), and they may prove a valuable resource at some point.

Commit to spending just 10 minutes a day building your network through Linked In.

Conferences are outstanding networking opportunities. I met a fellow coach at the last conference I went to, and all I did was sit next to her at a lunch counter and introduce myself. She has become an amazing inspiration for me as a coach. If you aren’t making new professional contacts at conferences, you’re missing a great opportunity.

The cafeteria at work is a great place to network, presuming that people do eat at the cafeteria, or maybe it’s a break room. In my corporate experience, the former Chairman of the Board/CEO used to take time at lunch to randomly sit with individuals at the cafeteria. I saw him do this several times. If you’re a leader, consider networking this way to get a pulse on the organization. Never eat lunch alone.

Notice that I didn’t mention “networking events.” My experience (and those of most clients) just hasn’t been very valuable in these types of groups; however, with a group that has common interests, there are some possibilities here…similar to Conferences.

The key here is to build your “network” team with as many people as possible.

Working It

Linked In again offers a great and simple way to work your network. Linked In will inform you on a daily basis of birthdays, promotions, new assignments or new jobs for your contacts. This is a great way to reach out, congratulate, and start up a conversation.
You can also reach out to contacts on Linked In to say hello and ask how things are going. This gives you the connection to start a dialogue. You want your contacts to remember you! This can become a part of your 10 minutes a day on Linked In.

At work, keep track of birthdays and anniversaries there as well. Great way to stay in touch.

Set up a time for coffee or lunch with others. We all need a little caffeine in the morning or to eat lunch. Why not combine this with an opportunity to meet with your network? Find out how they’re doing and share your current situation.
Similarly, a little dinner or drinks after work as appropriate can also be an option. The goal here is to keep in touch with your contacts and always get to know them better. The important point is that these aren’t just social events…these are targeted opportunities to build alliances, discuss opportunities, etc.

So, you may be thinking, how do I find time for all of this in my busy day? My recommendation is to set goals, (how many contacts you want to get in touch with per week, how much time can you spend (like 10 minutes per day) building your network. Challenge yourself to include this important work within your day. It really can build your career, your current job skills, allow you to assist others, and create a team of strong relationships.


This week, work your network by either growing it or working it. Use this week to shore up your Linked IN profile to All-Star status (Linked IN gives you that status when you’ve completed your profile plus). If you have a great network, then take some time this week to reach out to some of your contacts you haven’t seen/heard from in a while and touch base.

Make a plan for networking in the future.

Would love to hear of your journey to becoming a great networker!

Taking a couple of weeks off…my next posting with is 6/11/18!



Up Coaching LLC.

Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a certified Career/Executive Coach. She coaches individuals and leaders to career fulfillment, transition, and advancement. She also consults for results with businesses and solopreneurs. Her background includes 12 years in senior leadership for a Fortune 100 corporation and 7 years as a coach, with a Master’s degree in Organizational Effectiveness and Executive Coaching.


For more information, please visit my website at www.upcoached.com




Are you thinking about changing jobs or careers? Well, you’re in good company. The average employee tenure at a job in 2018 in 4.2 years, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics.

Back in the day, there was a stigma attached to “job jumping” on your resume, and companies looked for stability in your background. After all, the expectation was that you would be at their company for a long time in the future.

This is definitely no longer the case.

How do you know when it’s time to leave your current job? Are there some signs and signals that a new job should be in your future consideration?

1. The work becomes so boring. You no longer find the work meaningful or fulfilling. “It’s just a paycheck, after all.” is your attitude. Or perhaps you’re not getting the kind of assignments you find challenging. It’s also possible that you’ve done the work for so long that it no longer interests you.

2. Steady complaining about your job…all of the time. Everything is wrong from the time you hit the door until you close your laptop at night. You have a bad attitude about everything and your family and friends are beginning to notice. Although this is sometimes hard to see, it’s important to understand when this is happening.

3. There’s a sinking, visceral feeling when you come into the office. This has happened to me working for a boss who was very challenging. When I parked my car in the morning and saw the building ahead of me, I got this unmistakable feeling of dread and upset.

4. You know you’re unhappy but you just don’t know why. There’s a certain unsettled feeling about your work. You aren’t sure what it could be…is it the job?

5. It’s time for a change…you’ve been at your career/job/location for so long. Or possibly, you dream about a location with better weather or you would love to see the changing seasons. Sometimes it’s just a longing for something different.

6. Dreaming about a different career or going into business for yourself is another possibility. This is a great opportunity to explore, but you keep putting it off. What if it doesn’t pay the same salary? What if I can’t get any business going?

7. There are hints…subtle and more direct from your current employer. These may be poor reviews, rumors of layoffs, challenging relationships with management, no promotion or salary increases in a while, or perhaps the company is in turmoil…stock price down, constant management changes.

If any of these ring true for you, is it time to consider alternatives to your current job? That’s really the place to start…what are the alternatives for your situation?

One of my clients found themselves in a situation where the rumors of downsizing were growing louder and louder in their company. This client hadn’t changed jobs in 20 years and there was a good bit of concern about what to do next.

We started with the basics…setting a vision for the future…..defining the new job/career from scratch to see and understand what is possible. I start with the future vision with all of my clients. It’s such an important picture to define clearly and comprehend as it sets a road map forward, and helps to define what the next steps are.

This client decided that they really didn’t want to work in such a negative atmosphere, just waiting for the next step to happen to them. By defining the vision for the future, the client was able to explore that they were ready for a new change in career…something less stressful and more meaningful. They made a decision to focus on working within non-profit organizations. As it happened, while we were working on the basics (Resume, Linked In, Career Brand, etc.), the company did eliminate the client’s position. They were able to collect severance to support the work that had already begun. It was a relief to my client that this work was already underway and they weren’t starting from scratch while out of work suddenly.

Similarly, a decision can also be made to stay in the current job, especially if there’s a need to mitigate risk in the job search. In that case, I always recommend applying for and interviewing for a new job once a year, just to see what your value is in the marketplace. It keeps your job hunting skills fresh and allows you to see the possibilities for yourself, which can be very eye-opening. It’s a great way to reduce your risk and keep you ready for any changes in the future.

It may be time for a change and all it takes is that first step forward.


Are you ready for a new job/career? Consider exploring the options with a trusted advisor, family member, or Career Coach. Change is possible and waiting for your very next move.



Up Coaching LLC.

Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a certified Career/Executive Coach. She coaches individuals and leaders to career fulfillment, transition, and advancement. She also consults for results with businesses and solopreneurs. Her background includes 12 years in senior leadership for a Fortune 100 corporation and 7 years as a coach, with a Master’s degree in Organizational Effectiveness and Executive Coaching.


For more information, please visit my website at www.upcoached.com




Every year it begins the same way. I have a grove of tall trees in the backyard and usually in mid-August, sometimes later, I see it. There it is. There is an unmistakable yellow gold leaf amongst the bright and dark green hues of the trees. It’s my first golden tree leaf; the first sign of the beginning of autumn and the end of summer.

The promise of leisurely days and vacations has come to an end as the new season begins and we look to a more structured schedule.

At this time of the year, students return to school to begin the new year. The school experience always allowed you to forget the past and focus on the promise of a new year ahead. How do you extend this to starting a new season of your life?

Every September, as the new school year would begin for me, I always thought of it as an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start anew. There is a transformative power in the beginning of something, and each new grade, or year at college/grad school, was no exception for me. The structure of the school is an interesting one. You really do “start over again” each year.

What rituals would you use to mark the new school year in the fall, as you were growing up? For me, it meant new pens and (pin-point sharpened) pencils, and a curious item called the Pee-Chee folder. In Southern California, a fresh, peach-yellow Pee-Chee to carry your homework was an essential way to start the new school year.

All of these preparations marked the beginning of a new season…a year of learning, a year of challenges and experiences, a year of setting and achieving goals, toward the ultimate milestone of graduating to the new grade/year in the spring. And it all started with a sharpened pencil in the fall!

A season change can be a focus change, just as most of us experienced through the structure of the school. What are some things you can do to embrace the new season ahead?

1. Take an assessment of where your career and life is at, especially against your goals for the year. Are you where you truly want to be? You have 4 more months in this year. What can you do to finish the year strong?

2. Set new goals. Consider the slate wiped clean. What new goals would you like to pursue starting now?

3. What is possible in your role at work? What new rituals would work for you? Do you need to come in an hour earlier to focus on time alone? Do you need an effective time management system? Think of adding a few new rituals this season to your work routine. A new season can also trigger a new focus on what you’re doing and where you’re going. Rituals are important. They help us to symbolize the milestones of our transitions.

4. Be kind to yourself. Always practice self-forgiveness. That was me then, but this is me now. Sometimes we refuse to forgive others or the past. This time, be kind to yourself and understand that you really are always trying to do the best thing and you can start over.

5. Adopt the school ritual of “wiping that slate clean” and starting over again. How do you “wipe the slate clean” if that would help? What are some things you need to let go of and plan to move forward on? In junior high school, I actually struggled with my Spanish Language grade (believe it or not!). Every year, I was determined to do better and the start of the new school year was a huge motivator for me.

6. Now is the time to plan for the holidays ahead. Rather than let the holidays come upon you, put together a plan for where you will go (or host), any gifts you may want to think about buying (great sales in the fall), and generally how you want to handle these sometimes stress filled but wonderful times.

7. What’s on your bucket list? Don’t have one? Whatever age you are, this is a good time to put one together. A bucket list has all of those experiences and activities you want to have during your lifetime. Always great as a focus area.

The lesson of the fall season can be a sense of renewal. What does renewal mean for you at this time?


With this change of season, from summer into fall, what change or renewal do you want to pursue?

What are the “sharpened pencils” and “new Pee Chee’s” in your quest to pursue your work and life goals? Take some time during this transition time to find a new focus and wipe slates clean.



Up Coaching LLC.

Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a certified Career/Executive Coach. She coaches individuals and leaders to career fulfillment, transition, and advancement. She also consults for results with businesses and solopreneurs. Her background includes 12 years in senior leadership for a Fortune 100 corporation and 7 years as a coach, with a Master’s degree in Organizational Effectiveness and Executive Coaching.


For more information, please visit my website at www.upcoached.com