How do you adapt to change?

You go through so many changes in your career and life, and it should get easier as you continue to go through. Right?

Enter COVID 19, wherein a very short period of time we have all had to transition, dramatically, to staying and working from home, and possibly also supporting children through eLearning or homeschooling. We have also lost many of the privileges in our society that we took for granted in the past, and are living through tremendous uncertainty about the future.

Everything has changed, from our simple routines of shopping at the supermarket to having to wear masks and social distancing. The change is something that I don’t particularly want to embrace, but then I always think about Carl Jung’s expression, “What you resist persists.” Think about that statement, and let it inspire you to find ways to embrace the situation you are in at this time.

It starts with acknowledging this is a tremendous change for everyone. Period.

This change is global but is very personal in terms of your own adaptation. Consider a few thoughts to help you understand where you are in the change cycle and how to make that work for you:

1. Realize that you’re not alone in struggling to rapidly adapt to change. We are all in this together. It helps to talk this through with others and, with help from technology, there are so many ways to do this, other than a phone call. Keep communication going.

2. Communication at work is even more important at this time. As I mentioned in my article Suddenly Working From Home: 12 Tips to Support your Virtual Office and You, visibility and crafting your message are real priorities now. You want to ensure that leadership sees your participation and, where possible, innovation, and creativity while working from home. If you are a leader, your team needs accurate and timely communication from you.

3. Take care of yourself. If there was ever a time for self-care, this is definitely it. The trick is to figure out what that is for you. Clients, for example, have told me that they are postponing vacation time beyond the pandemic, whenever that is. But, the truth is, you could probably best use some time off right now, especially as summer has arrived in the northern hemisphere. Take a day off to relax at home, as best you can. Schedule activities throughout the day just for you.

4. Understand the models of change for yourself. There are stages of change and it can be helpful to understand where you are at. The Transition model by William Bridges presents three stages:

  • Endings/Letting Go – Realizing that you have to move away from what was. Everything is changing. Are you ready to let go of the past? In this case, the past is just a few months ago, before the pandemic began to spread.
  • The Neutral Zone – You’ve let go of the past, but are still vacillating between how it was and how it is right now. The present moment. And sometimes ready for new beginnings, only to fall back to neutral.
  • The New Beginnings – You’ve fully embraced a new routine, a new change, a new way of doing things.

5. Be patient…with yourself and others. Yes, I know many people are impatient to get out of their homes, go out and about shopping, eating at restaurants, back in the office, and maybe you are also. Consider the model above…it’s important to realize that these things have changed for now, and we in response must also change.

6. Be ready to pivot. There are great examples of this through the pandemic. A local whiskey distillery bar repurposed themselves to begin manufacturing hand sanitizer for the first responders in our community. Are there examples in your organization where you can rethink strategy and pivot? What are the priorities now in your organizations vs. what they were at the beginning of the year? What changes can and should be made?

7. Does your career need a pivot? Within all of the changes, is this a good time to think about making changes in your career? Are you in the ideal career? What’s your vision about the best career for you? Does staying in the same place move you closer to that vision?

8. Stop waiting for things to get back to normal…seize this time to create a new normal. The new normal will definitely be different than the past.

Change can be embraced

The Bridges Transition phases are about moving forward to the new beginnings. Where are you on that change curve?


How are you getting through this COVID 19 transition? What lessons are you learning? Are any of the solutions above helpful in your situation? What else can you use to help your progress? It’s also helpful to write down “What’s Working/What’s Not” during this pandemic time. This can help you to see some options and lead to greater clarity.


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



I’ve always envied tenured professors or any career that allows you to take a Sabbatical. A Sabbatical is a period of paid leave every 7 years to travel, explore, and get creative, as well as rest.

Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

Most of us have never had a Sabbatical in our school and working careers…until now, sort of. We are on a strange sort of a Sabbatical we’re not really allowed to travel, we are confined to our spaces, trying to work from home or between jobs. Hmmm…this just might not be what I had in mind!

That is until I met with one of my clients a few weeks ago. She is an amazingly accomplished individual. With two Master’s degrees, she has spent her career developing curriculum and educating nurses. She’s currently between assignments, so she’s busy looking for her next job during this time. I assumed I would be coaching her about frustration with the job market in the midst of a pandemic.

Pressing the pause button on life.

Instead, the first thing she said to me was how happy she was to press the Pause button at this time in her life. I was immediately struck by that word picture, of a giant red button saying “Pause.” When I asked her to tell me more, she said this was truly a time for her to hang out in sweats and enjoy the day. She felt she had never taken a pause in her job or life before. In addition to a busy and rewarding career, she has been a caretaker for several family members, but right now, she is responsible for caring only for herself and her husband, and it’s a great pause.

It really made me ask myself if I’m pausing during this pandemic

Is there any way to enjoy this time? How often do we all really get to pause?

Now I know you may have read articles or seen social media about what a great time it is to develop a new work out program, learn to bake bread or write the great American novel. None of these say pause to me, personally

Is there a hidden benefit to pressing the pause button?

My client inspired me around the ability to just take a break. I had to research this some more. I found a study on Doing Nothing and Nothing to Do: The Hidden Value of Empty Time and Boredom (Kets de Vries, 2014). The study basically proposes that introspection and reflection are not priorities for us in our day to day lives and that the balance between activity and inactivity is out of sync. The study revealed that doing nothing is a great way to bring out creativity and imagination. Think about the inspiration you may have gotten while driving in your car. While you are doing something very important, it’s one of those times that allows you to think. Similarly in the shower or first thing when you awaken, I find a lot of creative ideas then. These are times that we put the brain on the park and give it an opportunity to rest and recreate.

How can you pause effectively in your day?

In this time of the pandemic, that’s an amazing skill to master. Our brains are busy. There’s an information overload. There are worries, there are concerns. Or maybe you’re working from home and pausing just isn’t possible.

But there are times in the day when we can consciously pause. Here are a few ways to consider:

  1. Sleep a little longer
  2. Take an afternoon pause. Block your calendar out and do nothing.
  3. Think about what makes you happiest and take a pause to enjoy something about that.
  4. Just be. This means, not focusing on a big project (I know my clothing closet calls me daily) but just focusing on relaxing and doing things for you. And maybe cleaning a closet is something you would enjoy.
  5. Be grateful. If you’re working, be grateful. If you have a home, be grateful. If you have people who love you, be grateful. If you’re healthy, be grateful. Gratitude can certainly give us a pause as well as transform our thinking.
  6. Take time to laugh.
  7. Try to do absolutely nothing…come on, I dare you. What’s doing nothing all about for you?

Pressing the Pause button is a personal choice and experience, different for everyone, but so necessary.

My client really inspired me to think about taking a pause. Her story is an interesting one. Although she feels she is pausing, she has been applying to jobs, had several online interviews, and now a job offer she is considering. So while she’s pausing, there’s still a lot that gets done. This is a perfect advertisement for the power of pausing.


Can you find ways to hit the pause button this week? What could that look like for you?

I’m still offering a free coaching session with me through April, and now May. If you haven’t, please sign up at

Thanks, Stay well, Stay creative, and blessings to you all!

Up Coaching LLC.

Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a Career/Executive Coach, and Author of the Monday Morning Inspiration, published weekly on Linked-In, and to her followers. Her specialties are untangling career challenges and choices through coaching for courageous results-oriented clients who need solutions NOW.

Contact [email protected] for more information.

Nine Tips for

Effective Communication at Work

How you communicate through speaking can have a big effect on your career.  Speech is how we express ourselves, our motives, our thoughts, our intentions.  Ensure that your speaking is expressing exactly what and how you want to communicate.

Clear and concise language is the key.

You want to practice ways of expressing yourself through speaking to ensure that your message is truly being communicated in a way to be understood.  There are many ways to get off track in speaking.  Practice what you can control.

For example, the tone of voice is very important as you speak.

Early on in my career, I had a habit of escalating my voice several pitches higher when I was under stress or upset.  This was pointed out to me by one of my managers as well as a senior leader who was to the point…“Emotions have no place in the workplace.”  While I didn’t appreciate their feedback at the time, it really gave me pause to think that the subtle cue of my voice tone escalating was communicating information about me (stressed, upset) that I should have found other ways to communicate.  From that time, I am very careful to listen to my tone of voice.

A few tips to ensure that your verbal communication always hits the mark:

1. We start with nonverbals.

Yes, this plays a critical part in communication.  Just as my tone of voice conveyed a message, you may also be conveying one by not saying a word.  I could write a whole article on this, but one of the biggest ones to watch out for is eye-rolling, or crossing your arms in front of you.  This conveys emotions and possibly not believing in what you are saying. In business, you want to show a willingness to engage and be open.

2. Get to the point.

Storytelling is fine with your friends, but normally in business, no one has time for a full story.  Get to the point quicker and more effectively.

3. Watch your expressions like “Yeah” or “Huh”

These are often learned habits and they can be unlearned when you watch them.

4. Similarly, stay away from “You know” or “Um”

These are fillers that indicate a lack of confidence and that you’re stalling for time as you’re just not sure what to say next.

5. When it comes to meetings, a little preparation goes a long way.

Have you ever been in a meeting where you wanted to interject but chose not to?    In my career, I’ve worked in groups and with bosses who were unwilling to accept input, and it was very frustrating.  But again, I realize that I didn’t take the time in advance to anticipate the direction of the meeting and find ways to put myself out there.   Taking a step out of my comfort zone, but a knowledgeable one worked so much better.  Be prepared.

6. Avoid the F-Bomb, etc.

I know there are corporate cultures where this is acceptable, and that’s fine.  I myself have “been there, done that.”  However, with clients and others outside the area, this may not be well received.  There are still fellow employees who find this offensive.  I once had a colleague who went to HR because her female boss was a constant curser. You really don’t want that kind of reputation just to let off a little steam.

7. Record yourself speaking or presenting.

Though this may be difficult to watch, it is so effective.  As a new manager, I thought my public speaking was good until I had to watch myself in a video!  Oye!  What a learning that was!

8. Consider your audience.

Always think about what they are looking for, what level you are at, and what they expect you to communicate.  As a Senior Director, I would often have to deliver difficult news to employees, but nothing matched the day I had to call employees into a conference room to announce the untimely death of our co-worker.  It was essential that I put my emotions aside temporarily and truly deliver communication in a respectful and caring way.  (I broke into tears later and alone).

9. Especially as leaders, you set the tone and your communication is critical.

Employees read things into your speaking and this necessitates an approach of honest and direct yet caring communication.

The art of communication and it truly is an art, takes awareness, practice, asking for feedback, and continuous improvement.  The results can be amazing for your career.


Try out one or more of the tips above this week, but most importantly NOTICE your communication and make changes where needed.  You can also notice how others communicate around you and see if you observe and hear some of the tips above.

Happy Communicating!


Up Coaching LLC.

Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a Career/Executive Coach, and Author of the Monday Morning Inspiration, published weekly on Linked-In, and to her followers. Her specialties are untangling career challenges and choices through coaching for courageous results-oriented clients who need solutions NOW.

Contact [email protected] for more information.


Ten Powerful Ways to Get Unstuck in Your Career or at Your Job

Have you ever felt stuck in your career or job? Stuck happens, and it happens more often than you think. Maybe you’re not happy with the path your career is on, or your job responsibilities are no longer fulfilling.

Being stuck can also be a temporary state, like a writer’s block that you just can’t seem to get around.   This was my own situation earlier this year. I struggled with the writing that I do to further my own career goals and coaching business. It was a writer’s block for sure. But this time around the block, I learned some valuable lessons.

Getting Unstuck

I love to write. Writing is and always has been a passion for me. My junior high school creative writing teacher, Mrs. Graham, was a true inspiration. She nurtured and grew what had been planted as a seed many years before….by my mother and her love of books.

The inspiration I have had so many times in my career and now, as a coach who loves to write, comes from that beginning. So when you get blocked, you need to find ways to re-engage the sources and memories of earlier inspirations.

Understand how blocks happen

Blocks can happen when you’re trying to solve a problem at work or perhaps you have an assignment that just looks so big, you don’t know where to begin. Or, you know you need a change in your job or career, and yet, you don’t take the action you need to. So what do you do? Here are some thoughts for breaking the block you’re in and getting unstuck:

1. Find your inspiration muse

Thinking of my mother and Mrs. Graham made me realize that they would always inspire me to write from a place of excitement rather than the pressure of having to write. Get back in touch with sources of inspiration for you throughout your life. What would those sources encourage you to do at this time?

2. Re-engage with purpose

Ask yourself some direct questions. What am I trying to do, and how does this relate to a larger purpose, such as keeping my job or demonstrating greater leadership abilities? Remember what this is really all about from a bigger perspective. Write down your answers.

3. Change environments

It gets the brain cells firing again in a new way. If there’s a problem that needs to be solved, start by taking a long walk.  Have you ever noticed how great ideas sometimes come in the shower? It’s because you have changed environments into a different space, and it frees up your brain.

4. Put a volume control on your negative self-talk

Is your inner critic telling you that you aren’t good enough to get a promotion? Or that you’ll never get a new job or don’t deserve a more interesting job than the one you have? Understand the critic and turn the volume down or off.

5. Ask for help

Recently I wrote about how asking for help can sometimes make all the difference in what you’re trying to do. A friend or coach can show you some different perspectives to get you unstuck.

6. Tap into your right brain

The left brain controls logic and thinking, while the right brain is creative and open. Engaging in anything creatively can help shift your thinking. Consider listening to music or painting or drawing. I enjoy crocheting, which I learned just a few years ago. These are ways to tap into the right brain and access greater wisdom and perspective.

7. Understand fear

What are you afraid of? Afraid? Me? Yes, you and me too. Fear can happen when you enter panic, thinking that you can’t possibly

8. Take steps forward to getting unstuck

But if I leave this job, how do I know the next one will be better? Activated fear can be a powerful way to stay stuck. Recognize the fear component you may be feeling in the situation. Fear can also be related to the next point.

9. Understand Perfectionism

When dealing with my own writer’s block, I realized that I was in a mode of writing with the expectation that I would be turning out the most inspiring message series that would turn heads and really make a difference in the world. While that is always an aspirational goal, I needed to understand that my perfectionist monster was on the job…big time. Progress, not perfection, is an excellent standard to remember.

10. You’re not alone

It’s easy to get stuck, and you may not always be aware that you are. We all go through this. It’s part of the human condition. Awareness is the key to removing the block.

11. Forgive yourself quickly

Don’t hang on to the block. Just move forward in a forgiving and loving way toward yourself.

Feeling stuck happens to all of us at times. If your career isn’t advancing the way you’d like, or if your job is making you unhappy, consider the ways you can move forward. As I tell my clients, the smallest baby steps can sometimes yield the biggest results…especially when it’s that first step.


Are you in the midst of a block right now (and you may not have even realized it)? Procrastination provides clues. Use some of the techniques above or share ones that have worked for you.
Happy Unblocking!


Up Coaching LLC.

Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a Career/Executive Coach, and Author of the Monday Morning Inspiration, published weekly on Linked-In, and to her followers. Her specialties are untangling career challenges and choices through coaching for courageous results-oriented clients who need solutions NOW.

Contact [email protected] for more information.


Seven Ways to Find a Sponsor and Boost Your Career

As a corporate leader, I was privileged to mentor many individuals. At times, these mentees would ask if I would also be their sponsor. Now, mentors and sponsors can be very different roles, with similar attributes. It’s important to understand the distinction.

What is a mentor?

A mentor is someone who can be assigned by the company or just someone whom you seek out for guidance and coaching. Mentors are the senior advisors. They’ve usually been down the road you’re on, and they want to help you avoid the pitfalls, and maximize the experience. You can use a mentor to discuss situations, bounce ideas off of, or practice a solution. (Coaching is different from mentoring, by the way. In coaching, we are all about working with our clients using a structured method to find solutions and drive results).

What can a sponsor do to help you?

Now sponsors are those individuals who are in a position to “take you under their wing.” They are seasoned professionals who can open doors, “move mountains” on your behalf, talk to the right people about you, and groom you for more responsibility in the future. The sponsor invests in you and your career. They aren’t “assigned” to you in most situations, but you can seek them out and find them. Sponsorship is helpful beyond the corporate setting as well. Entrepreneurs can find sponsors very useful to help boost and grow their businesses. Really, any endeavor you may be involved in…be it for a salary or volunteering, can benefit by guidance from a sponsor. If you need doors opened of some sort (maybe high-end contributors to your nonprofit, for example), then a sponsor can help make this happen.

How can a sponsor find you?

I was very fortunate to have had two sponsors (each at different times) in my corporate career. These ladies were amazing. Each started out as my boss, and I was able to deliver results on some very high impact projects for each of them. As a result, they became sponsors. One was responsible for my initial promotion to management; the other for my promotions to senior management.
Generally, sponsors find you based on your work results and potential. This is very much a reciprocal relationship based on your potential and your sponsor’s interest. However, there are still things that you can do to maximize your selection as someone to be sponsored.

So where do you find a sponsor? Here are seven ways to become sponsored:

Start with results.

Notice that I had delivered for each of my sponsors. This is an excellent place to start. If you are consistently producing results or have delivered a huge project or initiative successfully, look around to see if you can cultivate a sponsor from the experience. Meet with this individual and discuss your career to see if there’s any interest. Sponsors are the ones who make the decision to move forward with you.

Determine who has the potential to be a sponsor.

Take some time to strategize this. Can your boss be a potential sponsor? Can you go around your boss to the next level up successfully (a tricky but “do-able” maneuver)? Are you talking to the right people? Who can sponsor you to your future goal destination?

Network with potential sponsors.

Find ways to get in front of potential sponsors and get to know each other. The more, the better! You can also discuss your need for sponsorship without coming out and asking directly, just to gauge interest.

Look for instances where sponsors are working with others already.

Network to get a better understanding of how sponsorship works in your organization.

Get a mentor or two or more!

Yes, you can ask to be mentored, and this is a great way to gain greater clarity and knowledge. Several mentors on your team can help to broaden your experience. Mentors can sometimes also become sponsors based on the situation, and a mentor is ALWAYS a good thing to have.

Find ways to volunteer or participate in activities outside of the office.

Believe it or not, I was “discovered” by one of my sponsors on the golf course when we were assigned to the same foursome. It was a golf game that forever changed my career and life.

Mentor and potentially sponsor others yourself.

It’s good to give back, even if it’s in anticipation! I was a mentor and sponsor in my organization because of the kindness that had been shown to me. Many sponsors are people who want to give back.

In most organizations, sponsorship is the key to climbing the ladder and getting things done effectively. Exploring sponsorship can be a start to a new and exciting path for your career.


Take some time to think about how a sponsor can help take your career, business, nonprofit, or activity to the next level. Reach out to grow your career through a mentor, sponsor, or career coach.


Up Coaching LLC.

Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a Career/Executive Coach, and Author of the Monday Morning Inspiration, published weekly on Linked-In, and to her followers. Her specialties are untangling career challenges and choices through coaching for courageous results-oriented clients who need solutions NOW.

Contact [email protected] for more information.