Joy is a Leadership Necessity. Jump In!

“Joy; the kind of happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens.”
— David Steindl-Rast


Today, my invitation is to join me in experiencing and BE-ing joy.  No matter what is happening around you.  Yes, “even if…”  and “even when…”.

Joy isn’t like happiness which is based upon the happenings around you. It’s not dependent on whether things are going “well” or not.  In fact, joy can be present at some of our most difficult moments.  It is an emotion that comes with the anticipation and/or awareness of something that is wonderful. I learned this when I experienced joy at the hospital bedside of our son when he was in the serious throws of what would be a successful battle with brain cancer. In my client work, I teach how to gain greater clarity on joy (and thus ourselves as leaders) by identifying “peak moments” where we felt alive, at the top of our game, with a full heart in gratitude – and then through a guided process help to reveal the Evidence of ImpactTM in those very moments.

In fact, one of the amazing secrets about joy is that ultimately, it is not about US. We may seek it, but in reality, joy comes at the very moment we are living in our purpose – showing up fully and having the impact on others we are meant to have.


Here are 6 more secrets (FACTS) about Joy; learned from my own journey and now championed by my clients:

  1. JOY is not a selfish act – it is an indication that you are living in your purpose and having the impact you are meant to have on this earth.
  2. Choosing JOY does not mean we move through life ignoring feelings of sadness, loss, inconsequence, separation, frustration, stress, injustice or are pretending something negative does not exist. 
  3. JOY is both a litmus test and a compass for creating the (meaningful) success we really want.
  4. JOY is in the present moment.
  5. Moments of JOY, and thus impact, are… limitless.
  6. JOY is a choice, and a practice.


When thinking about your career and life, your next steps, your decisions, “Let joy be your compass and impact be your guide.”  Ask yourself:

  • What have been my moments of joy (specifically, the 3-second moment of “spark”?) 
  • Where in my body did I feel it – specifically?
  • Why did it feel so good?  When I felt Joy, what were the ripples of impact to others?  How do I know?
  • How often do I want to be feeling that?
  • What would it mean to others if I could feel that way?

I am often asked, “How many true moments of joy are possible to experience or to expect in a career and life?”  Understanding that when you feel joy, others also benefit… my answer is not a surprise, and for the past five years it has been true for me  “At LEAST once a day!”

To your success and JOY! 🥂 Kathryn

Next Chapter Coach
Creator of The Career (Life!) Breakthrough AcademyTM


5 Steps to Reveal Your Resistance

“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us.
Between the two stands Resistance.”

― Steven Pressfield

As leaders, while we may be getting better at recognizing when procrastination and Imposter Syndrome are inadvertently self-sabotaging our success, it is the sometimes invisible and multi-faceted specter of resistance that may be creating the most harm.

Every day I talk with extraordinary leaders actively curating lives and careers of impact and joy. People with careers and Next Chapter goals as varied as their ages and employment status and scenarios. Within this diversity, it is exhilarating (from a coach’s perspective!) to observe how many common barriers to success are self-created; thus providing an opportunity to create strategies to help.

A good reminder, too, that we are not alone in our challenges!

Resistance can show up in many forms. It can be an outcome of self-doubt, and an aspect of our limiting beliefs – what we believe (as fact) is and is not possible.

While you may be able to identify when you (or others) experience a lack of confidence, resistance can hide in plain sight.

If you are actively seeking to increase your impact as a leader, to learn, to advance, to create financial abundance in alignment with your true value, and you wonder if you may be inadvertently holding yourself back, here are 5 Steps to Reveal Your Resistance that may help:

  1. Have there been situations recently where you took yourself out of the “game”?  Declined an invitation to do something? Removed yourself from an opportunity to grow, learn, stretch new leadership muscles, advance, be seen?  Not participated fully in something? Said “no”?  Given up on the promotion/happiness/achieving your dream scenario/success/etc.?
  2. Make a list of all the reasons why you made that choice (Ideally before reading the next Step).
  3. See if any of your practical-sounding reasons appear in some of the common forms of resistance below [note: you’ll notice it’s tricky: what is true in one situation, can be resistance in another. Coaching can help reveal the “truth” for you.):
    • Best practices/norms “I need to stay in this job for another year.” “I need to get more training before I’m ready to…” “I’m not supposed to…” “No one else is doing that”
    • Blame “That person doesn’t know what they’re doing.” “They don’t know what I need.” “They don’t value me.” “They should have been more prepared.”
    • Separation “I’m not salesy.” “I’m not like that.” “I would never…” “This is just how I am.” “They don’t really believe I can do it.” “I don’t have the time.” “I don’t have the money.” “I’m an introvert.” “No one else…” “This is ridiculous.”  “This is so amateur.”
    • Disconnection “This isn’t going to change. It’s just how it is.” “I’m never going to be able to…”
    • Flight “I’m not going to waste my time on this.” “I’m leaving.” “I’m quitting.” 

4. Now, pause for a minute to think about your overall goals. 

5. In looking back at the situations where you chose not to lean in fully, what might the benefit be (to you and to others) if you said “yes”?  How can you reword your list of reasons to make it “make sense” for you to say yes? (This often means letting go of some big assumptions and beliefs – which of course then creates the possibility of Big Shifts!).

If this is resonating with you, here’s a little extra motivation:  When we let our resistance prevent us from doing something… it is often an indication that we are thinking more of ourselves than those we aim to serve. Yikes!  Learning this from one of my mentors literally stopped me in my tracks. And it’s guided me ever since. 

I remember the first time I became aware of my resistance hiding as “being a good leader.”  It was before a performance at the University of California San Diego where I was serving as Interim Executive Director of Artpower.  I’d always sought to empower and celebrate my team, with a very behind the scenes approach to leadership, and had asked my staff to do the curtain speech.  I told myself it was my production and operations background, that I didn’t want to be “that person who sounds like a salesman,” that I wanted others to shine – and I had many other “good” reasons to not go on stage to speak.

You can see the story I was creating in my head – and I believed it rather than being self-aware that I am an introvert, I used to get really nervous, I was afraid of making mistakes – I’m not good at memorizing words (music I can!), and getting up on stage was terrifying.

That night, a donor asked me if I was going to do the curtain speech.  I said no, a staff member was.  She said “Kathryn. You are boldly leading us forward, and I am grateful for that. But we need to see all 6 feet of you on stage, visibly embodying that we remain an organization that is thriving and moving forward during our leadership transition.  The donors, the community members, we all NEED you to do and be this for us.” 

Guess who went on stage?

From that moment on, I began asking myself “What do those around me need, in order for them to do and be their best. How can I show up fully to create that possibility?” Over time, while every organization is different, I’ve learned how to stay open to stretching new muscles. I am becoming quite fearless – or at least I feel that way until a new, sneaky form of resistance appears! My coaches say that I am very “coachable” which I believe reflects my commitment in curating a life of joy and impact, and my understanding that the way to do that is to (only) choose the thoughts, feelings, language and actions that create that possibility.

“Rise to the challenge of bringing your dreams to life! Do not be discouraged by resistance, be nourished by it. Success is the experience of rising to the level of your true greatness.”
― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

To your success,


Kathryn R Martin,
“Next Chapter” Coach
Creator of The Career (Life!) Breakthrough Academy

Leadership Transition Strategist & Professional Interim CEO

You DO Belong at the Table – So Show Up Fully

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” “Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” ― Brené Brown


Okay folks. I’ve just uncovered one of the top reasons leaders (people!) don’t have the meaningful success, relationships, income, and impact they want. And it’s crazy frustrating.

Here’s what it’s NOT:

It’s not because you may not have the same level of education as others have, or aren’t as skilled or experienced as others in your field are, or don’t have the job title you feel you “should” have by now, or are older/younger/something other than you see as being valued by your industry. 

Don’t get me wrong – of course education, skills and experience are important. And ageism and glass ceilings DO exist.  However, after talking with and coaching hundreds of leaders at crossroad moments, these “factual” barriers are not what holds people back.

What does?

For many, it’s what happens as a result of thinking they are somehow different, separate or “less than” those who are “successful.”  It’s the voices in your head, your Imposter Syndrome, your limiting beliefs and your assumptions about what is and is not possible for you that take up a lot of space, and literally prevent opportunities from being seen let alone seized.

Don’t think this applies to you?  Great! 

And… are you really sure?  I’ve watched respected leaders be confident and able to excel and advance in many areas, and simultaneously have blind spots in certain situations or with certain people/positions; somehow believing they don’t belong. It’s Imposter Syndrome, it’s not understanding one’s true value (the impact we have on others when we’re showing up fully), sometimes its cultural, and it’s sneaky.

I’ve had some recent experiences where I was again reminded how a lack of belonging can make leaders inadvertently self-sabotage their progress and success – their impact:

Every time I hold the first convening of my group coaching and leadership cohorts- either in the group or afterwards privately – my clients will express some version of “thank you for accepting me – even though I KNOW that I’m not as _(fill in the blank)_ compared to all the other leaders.” Or, “Everyone else has similar backgrounds. I’m the only one who is facing _(fill in the blank)_ .”  Or, “I’m not like that, I don’t/can’t/won’t do that.” 

This happens 100% of the time.  

Once, every single group participant let me know privately after the first meeting that they felt like an outlier.  Think about that – every extraordinary leader was looking around the room thinking they weren’t as “good” as all the other participants!  It was a great teaching moment, because it was so obvious that they couldn’t all be right.

Sometimes the separation is done with self-depreciating humor, beautiful complements to others, or subtle, quiet, even kind, self-editing, and sometimes it is revealed in dramatic fight or flight resistance. 

I was recently facilitating a meeting of diverse leaders; all contributing to the conversation with depth, breadth and artistry. Because the group had been working together for some months, there was reflection that it was now easier to feel comfortable bringing more of themselves to the table.

Instead of wasting time choosing words carefully to not inadvertently offend, or spending brain power holding back trying to put their non-conforming ideas into what they thought others in the group might view as more “acceptable-sounding” frameworks, creative ideas flowed, tears flowed, connections occurred and a new outcome appeared that would not have been possible with people holding back out of fear of judgement and being seen.

Luckily in coaching we can reveal and breakthrough these limiting beliefs, but its easy to imagine how feeling separate can shut us down, create a sense of victimhood or hopelessness, and stop us from contributing, participating, impacting, growing, expanding, even loving. 

And, it takes up A LOT of time and space to think this negative way about ourselves!

So! What can we do to make a shift into connectedness and belonging? Here’s some Guiding Questions that may help:


  • What situations do you feel Imposter Syndrome kicking in? Why do you feel less than, compared to others?
  • When do you find yourself self-editing?  Why? 
  • What do you believe about yourself and/or others that is informing your thoughts, feelings and actions?  How do you (really) know this is true?
  • How are these limiting beliefs and decisions holding you back?   
  • What situations are you avoiding? Or not pursuing? Why?
  • What would it look like if your limiting beliefs and assumptions were not true or relevant?  How would it feel?  What would it make possible?


  • “Just DO it!”  Starting today, assume that you DO belong, “even if” you’re not as _(fill in the blank)_ as others. Lean in and say “yes!”
  • Commit to being fully present, listening, observing, BE-ing you – with curiosity in seeing what occurs.   
  • Respect that whoever invited you, sees a reason for that decision.
  • Know that likely there are others in the room who may be battling their own feelings of lack.


  • You get to decide how to BE, and to value what that will make possible. Of course, be prepared, but don’t hide behind data or powerpoints, don’t set about to prove your worth, expertise, belonging.  Set an intention for BEing that helps you show up fully, and thus creates the possibility for helping others.  [for more on intention-setting in meetings, check out this BLOG]


  • What were the tangible and non-tangible ways your presence elevated, supported, guided, helped? How do you know?
  • What was the hardest part for you? Why?


Showing up fully, knowing we belong, is a practice. As you experience your true value, and start seeing your impact on others, clarity and confidence increases. You’ll have more time to think about important things! You’ll be doing things that will help you create the success you envision, rather than inadvertently avoiding the very things and people that will help make it possible.    

To your success,


Kathryn R Martin 
“Next Chapter” Coach
Creator of The Career (Life!) Breakthrough Academy
Leadership Transition Strategist & Professional Interim CEO 

****NEWS – 1. The February 2020 Leadership Cohort is being formed NOW.  2. If you or someone you know is ready to take a leap into a Next Chapter, JOIN me LIVE on  <<Thursday, January 30th at 6:00pm PST>>  for a FREE Online Training: Monetize Your Superpower!