Lessons here about leadership, careers and the future of work that you can use every day.

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You Need To Be A Career Contrarian

The key to attaining fulfillment and excellence is an empowered mindset that fits unique circumstances to unique interests and abilities. And there’s no such thing as one-size fits all fulfillment.

Introducing the Career Contrarian

The essence of a Career Contrarian: helping folks reframe their professional value as strategic assets rather than relying on commoditized skills that no longer fit.

The Lessons of the Moment

When you’ve experienced unexpected life/career disruptions, were you able to stay in the moment and extract the crucial lessons that guided you through them? 

On Finding Purpose in Stewardship

“In my mind, I’m in a little in the state of retirement, but to the rest of the world, this doesn’t translate…I have obligations, responsibilities, things I need to do on a regular basis that look like work.”

Not Your Father’s Retirement

One of the major characteristics of our generation has been to seek meaning in our lives. How do we find meaning in the last part of our lives? What will our legacy be?

Chill Out, Back Off A Notch

By deciding what to spend our energy on — what we’ll be great at and what we won’t — and being aware of the long-term consequences of our decisions, we’ll have more control over our destinies.

Right-Sizing Your Dharma

Knowing one’s dharma — one’s calling — is just one challenge. Focusing on the size of our calling is quite another. 

3 Words for 2023

One way I’ve looked forward is to choose three words to guide me through the coming year.

The Courage To Be Who You Were Born To Be

We cannot create anything new — a new life, a new relationship, a new career — by using only our past as a reference point for our future. We’ll just create another version of the same thing.

Who Are Your Heroes?

At 70, I’m finding it more difficult to readily identify heroes. Have I become more cynical? Have my standards changed? Why is it so difficult to identify heroes? What is a hero anyway?

Rewire or Retire

In order to remain relevant in the workplace, regardless of our age or where we are in our career continuum, we need to rewire. Failing to do that may bring an early retirement when we least expect it. 

I Did It My Way

The desire to be…part of something bigger than me. Something where I contributed to the betterment of the group I was part of.

Frameworks vs. Formulas

People need a framework to convey their value to people who matter — their boss, a hiring manager, a customer or client.

Think Again

At a time when calcified ideologies are tearing our culture apart, Grant reminds us that one of our most important cognitive skills is the ability to rethink and unlearn. 

The Bane of Strategic Thinkers

It’s not enough to be a Strategic Thinker and understand the vision. It’s not enough to be able to share the vision with others. The real challenge for Strategic Thinkers is to make sure team members understand their individual roles within that vision.


People need defined processes (algorithms) to guide them in new ways of thinking about the value they bring to an organization and in developing the stories that demonstrate that value.


How can you reframe your skills to express more value as you seek the next level in your career?

How do you go from being really smart about what you do to being wise about what you have to offer?

You Have To Align Your Value With Need

Value trumps responsibility and tenure (years of experience) when talking about your career. Value is about knowing and articulating your unique talent; that which you do better than anyone else.


Assets bring a higher level of value. Assets are wisdom-based. They are adaptive.

Chronic Uncertainty and FFTs

“FFTs” or “effing first times,” speak to the anxieties we encounter when stepping outside our comfort zones and doing something for the first time. Or, coming up against a challenge we’re facing for the first time.

What Are Your Strengths?

The upshot is that you need to convey your value as a strategic asset when responding to that interview question: “What are your strengths?”


I think character could be THE issue for 2021 — in politics, in business, in all of our relationships.

3 Words for 2021

These words will frame the work I do in 2021 as I hone the tools and programs that help you achieve your goals for the year.

Resilience: Hike Your Own Hike

To Hike Your Own Hike, we need to narrow our focus. Pay attention to the items we can control; those we can impact directly. We need to be clear about goals and not be distracted by issues that don’t directly affect them.


We need to keep in mind that “what got us here, won’t get us there.” What will differentiate us from others during this time is defining the opportunities in front of us and plotting new courses.

Competence: The Myth of Best Practices

Best practices are actually rather limiting. They imply the use of standard operating procedures. Standard implies average. Thus, best practices keep organizations and their people average — not exceptional.

Competency in the Next Normal

What worked pre-Q2 2020, won’t necessarily work now. We need to build for a world that won’t be getting close anytime soon. The world requires upgrades, changes, and new systems to emerge better (not the same) on the other side.


Fortune favors those who can rise above the turmoil and help chart a new course.

Clarity, Values, and Value

“If we want to be values-driven, we have to operationalize our values into behaviors and skills that are teachable and observable.” ~ Brené Brown This quarter (April, May, June), I’ve assigned themes to each month. The themes have helped me focus my work. The theme for April was disruption, to focus on how the Coronavirus … Continue reading Clarity, Values, and Value


“Where your focus goes, your energy grows.” ~ Olivia Gamber, Co-founder, Career Attraction I’ve assigned themes to each month of this second quarter of 2020. The idea is that the themes will focus my work and my writing during this disruptive time. The theme for April was disruption. For May it was “What’s Next?” What’s … Continue reading Mindset

Speculation Fatigue

“The future in flux always is.” ~ Yoda At a recent monthly leadership meeting that I host here in Portland, ME, our topic was “What’s Next?” The idea was to share thoughts and ideas about what’s going to happen as we emerge from lockdowns and experience varying degrees of reopenings. What were we going to … Continue reading Speculation Fatigue


Being clear about what you do best and how you do it, gives you a competitive advantage in the world of work.

What’s Next?

The world of work will be different than it was in January. It may take a while. While we’ve gone too far to turn back, we don’t know what will be different.

Radio Silence

What does ten days mean to you?” ~ Bob (former client) My client, Bob, asked that question over eight years ago. He had just wound up an interview process where the key decision-makers told him they’d be in touch with an offer in the next ten days. Needless to say, he was excited. He was … Continue reading Radio Silence

100 Days of Summer

“Summertime and the livin’ is easy…”  ~ George Gershwin Very recently I had separate conversations with a few clients. One will be starting a new job next month; the others have decided to seek new opportunities. These folks wanted to know what they needed to do to prepare for their respective challenges. 100 Days of … Continue reading 100 Days of Summer

Level Up, Redux

“In the past, jobs were about muscles, now they’re about brains, but in the future, they’ll be about the heart.” ~ Nemat Shafik, Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science The quote above was lifted from my new favorite book, Brené Brown’s Dare To Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. It’s … Continue reading Level Up, Redux

Don’t Confuse Your Crisis of Confidence with a Crisis of Competence

“Imposter syndrome: A collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success.”  Harvard Business Review, May 2008. I’ve had three recent clients express concern about their abilities to be successful as they progress in their careers. All three have some common characteristics: They’ve either recently transitioned or looking to transition to another industry or … Continue reading Don’t Confuse Your Crisis of Confidence with a Crisis of Competence

Nobody Does It Better

If you’re a Type A personality, are you clear about your expectations and standards? If a Type B, can you get clarity on Type A’s expectations?

Build The Right Narrative

In the past, I’ve mentioned the importance of message; how it describes the essence of who you are professionally and allows you to create your own game and define your unique place in the market. When you tell stories around your message, you’re detailing the professional value you bring to an organization – your leadership … Continue reading Build The Right Narrative

Focus on How, Not Why

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”  ~ Simon Sinek Simon Sinek was wrong.  You may be familiar with his 10-year-old TEDxTalk on the Golden Circle, where he encouraged us to start with “why.” Sinek’s talk has become one of the top TEDTalks, with over 47 million views.  Over the … Continue reading Focus on How, Not Why

Three Words for 2019

“Make the words such that they influence your choice of actions, encourage you to decide in favor of your goals, and guide you towards lasting results that you want to experience throughout the year.” ~ Chris Brogan For the past five years, I’ve selected three words to guide me through the coming year. This will … Continue reading Three Words for 2019

3 Words for 2020

“Make the words such that they influence your choice of actions, encourage you to decide in favor of your goals, and guide you towards lasting results that you want to experience throughout the year.” ~ Chris Brogan This time of year is often a time for reflection as well as for looking forward.  In looking … Continue reading 3 Words for 2020

What If?

If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else. ~ Yogi Berra In their book, The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks Than Others Do in 12 Months, Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington contend that we should abandon annual 12 month planning in favor of developing new plans … Continue reading What If?

Career Storming

“The evolving you is not a moving target, but pursues a moving target.” ~ Alan Weiss & Marshall Goldsmith In their book, Lifestorming: Creating Meaning and Achievement in Your Career and Life, Alan Weiss and Marshall Goldsmith explore what it takes to make significant changes in our lives in order to achieve our goals – … Continue reading Career Storming

Nine Lies About Work

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure, that just ain’t so.”  Mark Twain (or so we think) Work today overflows with systems, processes, tools, and assumptions that are deeply flawed, that push directly against our ability to express what is unique about each of us … Continue reading Nine Lies About Work

Level Up

Would you prefer to be the smartest person in the room or the least informed?

Leadership Is A Verb

Leadership is a way of thinking, a way of acting and, most importantly, a way of communicating. ~ Simon Sinek   “I almost didn’t reach out to you,” she said. “If Sally hadn’t recommended you, I would have looked elsewhere.” This was a new client. We were wrapping up our initial meeting and talking about … Continue reading Leadership Is A Verb

Find the Fire

“…you really need only about twenty seconds of courage at a time.” Scott Mautz, in his book, Find the Fire: Ignite Your Inspiration and Make Work Exciting Again, argues that inspiration is the “most powerful programming we have on our internal hard drive.” It’s more powerful than motivation. With motivation, we take an idea and … Continue reading Find the Fire

Embrace the Suck

“Let thee embrace me, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course” ~ William Shakespeare My pal, Bill Pusey, and I convene the Ascending Leaders’ Network, a monthly gathering of leaders in southern Maine seeking to have a more strategic impact on their organizations. Last fall, our discussion topic was “Embrace the … Continue reading Embrace the Suck


We are approaching the final quarter of 2017. How is the year going for you so far? I’m hoping it’s productive, both personally and professionally. I also wish you courage in tackling the challenges that lie ahead in the remainder of the year. We’re all facing challenges. Some will be easy to address, others not … Continue reading Courage

Own Your Future

We’re all works in progress; we’re never complete. We need to think of our careers as growing startup ventures constantly adapting to the professional challenges that come our way.

You’re Not the Hero

People don’t care about your story, they care about their own. Donald Miller’s Building A StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen has had a significant impact on my thinking and work with clients. Miller is president of StoryBrand, a marketing firm that helps clients clarify their messaging. I picked up the book after … Continue reading You’re Not the Hero

Career Pivot: The New Normal

“Virtually everything about jobs and work and careers has changed.” ~ Scott Uhrig I’ve just finished reading Jenny Blake’s Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One. Because careers are no longer straightforward, linear and predictable; pivoting within our roles and throughout our careers is the new normal. A Pivot Mindset Careers have … Continue reading Career Pivot: The New Normal


“The future in flux always is.” ~ Yoda Alert: This is a longer than usual post. Last June I wrote about my son Dave’s thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail – 2,200 miles from Springer Mountain, GA to Mount Katahdin, ME. At the time, he was just about a third of the way into his trek. … Continue reading Re-entry


  “It’s not as bad as the Smokies.” ~ Dave Woodard My son, Dave, is hiking the Appalachian Trail. He’s attempting a through hike – the entire 2,200 miles at one time. He began in mid-March at Springer Mountain, GA and will finish up at the trail’s northern terminus, Mount Katahdin, ME in early October. … Continue reading Resilience

Throw Off the Bowlines

I collect quotes…sayings and aphorisms that impart wisdom. The best do so with humor. One of my favorite resources for these is Mark Twain, who just had a knack for pithy sayings that makes one pay attention and sometimes laugh out loud, often at ourselves. Here’s a Mark Twain quote that I recently stumbled onto: … Continue reading Throw Off the Bowlines

Making Time

Here in southern Maine, a number of us gather each month for SMBME (Social Media Breakfast – Maine). We get together to share experiences and learn from each other on a variety of different topics in and around the social media sphere. A recent program was entitled “Making Time for Your Marketing and Growing Your … Continue reading Making Time

Circle of Influence

Recently my client, “Rich,” and I had a conversation about networking. Rich is a senior-level engineer trying to decide what’s next in his career. Like a number of us, Rich is an introvert. He’s not terribly comfortable talking with people he barely knows and asking them for advice. In fact, the idea is abhorrent to … Continue reading Circle of Influence

What Do You Do?

What do you do? How do you answer this question? Do you provide your job title or occupation: Car sales, plumber, housewife, career coach? Or do you respond with WHAT YOU DO? Do you give what you do meaning and value? I can’t recall where I read this, but it had an impact on me. … Continue reading What Do You Do?

Your Resume Is Not Enough

An interesting phenomenon has occurred in the last few weeks. I’ve been seeing a number of clients who are coming in solely to have a new resume. Either they haven’t looked for a job in a long time and don’t have a current resume, or have determined that their current resume isn’t working as they’ve … Continue reading Your Resume Is Not Enough

Disrupt Yourself

If you’ve reached a plateau or you’re not happy on your current career ladder, then you should disrupt yourself just as innovative companies do.

Are You Laying Bricks or Building a Cathedral?

Clients often express frustration that they’re not finding meaning in their work. They may have at one time, but no longer. They may feel they have plateaued in their current role and there’s no place for them to go. They may have mastered their work and are no longer challenged. Their workplace may be disruptive or toxic and … Continue reading Are You Laying Bricks or Building a Cathedral?

Are You Remarkable?

Are you a fan of TED Talks, the videos that showcase “Ideas Worth Spreading”? I love them. In under 20 minutes you can watch some really smart people talk about key ideas. One of my favorite TED Talks is by marketing guru, Seth Godin speaking about “Sliced Bread and Other Marketing Delights.” In this video, … Continue reading Are You Remarkable?

Begin With The End In Mind

The beginning of the year is a great time for self assessment and the setting of new goals. Often these goals center around improving current jobs and careers or obtaining new jobs and new careers. Many clients struggle at this time of year with these challenges. They’ve taken stock of where they are and have decided … Continue reading Begin With The End In Mind

Are You an Agent of Change?

Just over a week ago, I attended the annual Agents of Change Digital Marketing conference, here in Portland, Maine and organized by Rich Brooks of Flyte Media. This was my second time attending the conference, and like last year, I was struck how digital marketing strategies closely resemble success in one’s career. Key takeaways for … Continue reading Are You an Agent of Change?

Developing Your Professional Brand: Strategy & Execution

Your professional brand “is about figuring out who you really are and what you do best, and then living that brand out. It’s the essence of authenticity.” ~ Dorie Clark Over the past few weeks, I’ve written about the cornerstones of your professional brand. So far I’ve addressed Purpose, Clarity and Focus. Today, I’ll address the final cornerstone: Strategy. You will recall that Purpose … Continue reading Developing Your Professional Brand: Strategy & Execution

Focus: What’s the story you tell about your value?

One cornerstone of your professional brand is Focus – telling stories that convey your value. In his book, The Power of Story: Change Your Story, Change Your Destiny in Business and in Life,” Jim Loehr notes that we tell stories to help us navigate through life because they provide structure and direction. The stories we tell give … Continue reading Focus: What’s the story you tell about your value?

Bringing Clarity to Your Professional Brand

In an earlier post on “Developing Your Professional Brand”, I mentioned Dorie Clark’s quote that your professional brand “is about figuring out who you really are and what you do best, and then living that brand out. It’s the essence of authenticity;” and that there are four cornerstones to be addressed when developing your professional brand: Purpose, Clarity, Focus and Strategy. This … Continue reading Bringing Clarity to Your Professional Brand

Purpose, Meaning and Work

In my post, “Developing Your Professional Brand”, I noted Dorie Clark’s comment that your professional brand “is about figuring out who you really are and what you do best, and then living that brand out. It’s the essence of authenticity.” I mentioned that four cornerstones need to be addressed when developing your professional brand: Purpose, … Continue reading Purpose, Meaning and Work

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