Gratitude: for YOU

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and my heart is singing.  When we observe and express gratitude, extraordinary things are made possible.

I am grateful for YOU! 

Thank you for reading and sharing my emails and social media posts. Thank you for reaching out to me when you are struggling, and entrusting me with your feelings as you consider the first steps in making a change. Thank you for your vulnerability as we work through these shifts, and thank you for letting me know when my words have made a difference in your life. 

When I look back at my life prior to starting my coaching business, I remember gathering around the Thanksgiving Table with my family. We would take turns giving thanks for our blessings. It was the singular time of year I would take the time stop to reflect and express my gratitude – and it always felt wonderful.

Yesterday, we came together and again expressed our love and gratitude, and I realized that now I’ve curated a life where I do this Every. Single. Day

This past year I’ve watched in awe as the practice of noticing and focusing on what I am grateful for, has become one of the foundations of the multi-faceted abundance, momentum, ease, clarity, curiosity about what is unfolding, confidence and joy I am blessed to experience. 

These past nine months I was entrusted to lead the Tucson Symphony Orchestra forward as their Interim President & CEO.  I remember letting the Board President know “I only work with people I like and who want to join me in creating impact.” (!)  Just as I do with my individual coaching clients, I’ve found joy in helping them reveal their organization’s unique strengths and purpose, and support the professional staff and volunteers create new-found momentum by focusing on their impact. Not only has a lot been “accomplished” but I am now blessed to have created new life-long friendships. I will miss my team when the permanent CEO arrives!

I’ve also come to observe how the more we focus on what we’re grateful for, the more frequently extraordinary things happen and momentum builds. This one practice (noticing and expressing gratitude) literally creates the possibility for creating the lives we may have not even known was possible.

Last year, after receiving the IAOTP’s “Top Leadership Coach” award, new things began happening “out of the blue.” (This is a known phenomenon that many of my clients also report experiencing when we work together.) I was invited to join an international group of women launching a video conversation series on compassionate leadership,  I was invited to co-author a book with Oprah Winfrey, Melinda Gates and 47 other extraordinary women, I was contacted with the news I’ll be receiving the “Empowered Woman of the Year” award in Las Vegas next month, and last week I was invited to coach and facilitate a convening of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Commission on the Arts. “Out of the blue” three extraordinary professionals reached out offering me their expertise and support in the exact areas I had been thinking about, but had not yet taken action on.  And,  have had a graduating class on the on-line self-paced “Career (Life!) Breakthrough Academy.

Every single day, I have deep, meaningful conversations with people around the globe. Friends, clients, members of the on-line self-paced “Career (Life!) Breakthrough Academy, leaders signing up for Strategy Calls – people just like you – all successful leaders who want to have impact and be of service.  People who are often feeling a pulling to a Next Chapter and have a curiosity about what may be possible. I am so grateful when amazing people have willingness to ask for help and their trust in me with their story. 

I teach, I learn, I support.  I laugh, I cry.  I love my life!

None of this would have been possible if I had not taken a step into possibility 4 years ago. 

Shifts don’t just happen, and trying to decide what to do next, or how to differentiate yourself can be quite frustrating or confusing.  I’ve developed a unique process to help you look inward, take stock, gather evidence of impact, and develop the elevated language needed to reveal and speak your uniqueness.

If you would like to take a concrete step that is likely to create new possibilities for you, I invite you to build upon the North American tradition of Thanksgiving, and every day between now and December 31stcomplete the following simple prompt:

·       Today, I am so grateful for (start with a list of at least 3 things):

Then, record and reflect on what you list.  What do you observe? What are you choosing to notice and capture? Over time, does your list shift? Over time, what do you observe is occurring in your life? And please let me know!

Thank you for all you do, thank you for who you BE.

To your success!


P.S. – You may also be interested in this BLOG:   “Gratitude is a Verb”

Kathryn R Martin,
“Next Chapter” Coach
Leadership Transition Strategist & Professional Interim CEO

Making Time For You, Helps Others

When we think of time to refuel as “self care” we often put it at the bottom of our list (sad, but so often true).  Instead, if we reframe vacation or time away from work as a means to ensure we have the capacity to ultimately help others – putting the proverbial oxygen mask on ourselves first – our motivation and way we prioritize can shift.

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Now is the perfect time.

It’s almost September?! Summer in the northern hemisphere is winding down, and anticipation of the nine months ahead is building: Opening Nights in arts organizations are being planned, new jobs are starting, new initiatives are getting ready to launch.

Before you leap into the next nine months, these next two weeks offer a perfect opportunity to reflect, take stock and envision how YOU want your upcoming year to look like.

I find myself thinking about this in my own life, and in fact have now made the end of August a part of my intention-setting practice as I envision the months to come. Interestingly, this is also a time of year when there is a wonderful surge in leaders reaching out to me for coaching around common themes of transition and being in a crossroads moment.

Do any of the following resonate with questions you may be asking yourself?

How do I shift my leadership style? I have a client who had spent the past three years successfully leading a turnaround as CEO. She had exceeded her goals, was acknowledged and honored by all, but she knew that the way in which she achieved organizational success was not sustainable – for her. She wanted to continue to have big impact, but not at the expense of personal relationships, health, sanity, sleep, etc.. Leaving the organization she loved was definitely on the table. After taking time to reflect, she created a new framework for being a successful leader. She identified the “causes and conditions” she needed in both her personal and professional life to have the most impact and thus the most joy. She stayed, and is providing the strong leadership her organization and community need.

How do I position myself and prioritize my time in the first 90-days of a new job? A couple of months ago I was coaching two very different leaders, both about to begin a new job – one was a first-time Executive Director and one was a veteran Executive Director. In both cases, for them to have the organizational impact they were seeking, they needed a way to quickly (like, by week one!) and effectively engage and empower their board and staff. Instead of jumping into a To Do list, they invested in looking inward first to create clarity in their authentic voice and purpose. The resulting actions, internal and external communications, prioritization, and plans flowed effortless from this foundational knowledge – ultimately helping their teams move forward on the same page.

I’ve had it. How can I find a better job, without all this disfunction so I can be more effective, be valued, be happy, have more balance, be paid better, etc., etc.? By the time many leaders reach out to me, they’re often ready to resign. They’re done. I get it. I’ve been there! I’ve learned that when you’re at that point, it’s a great opportunity to think about how you will be different in a new job. And then, make that shift now. “Even if…” you believe there are external forces outside of your control (a challenging board, boss, etc.) that are making it impossible for you to be your best. The results can be powerful when you shift your limiting beliefs and leadership strategies.

I was working with a Development Director who came to realize that in every job he held, he reached a point where he believed people were holding him back, and thus he resigned and moved to the next job. That pattern kept repeating itself. He was successful but was tired of moving. Through a process, he identified ways he was contributing to this dynamic, learned two new strategies and “magically” people around him began to react differently. He felt valued, empowered, and with a voice at the table. In his case, he still ended up leaving, but it was no longer out of frustration – it was so that he could have greater impact.

How do I get my current organization to see me as a viable candidate for an elevated role? Repositioning yourself within your organization can be one of the most challenging (and most rewarding) opportunities. A couple years back, I was coaching an extraordinary artistic director through a search process, with the intention for him to move from an assistant role into the top leadership position. We used a process both to develop and then communicate his “elevated” impact messaging, and then created strategies to overcome the Search Committee’s assumptions that they already knew everything about him. He got the job.

• How do I know when it’s time to make a change? Your situation is not terrible, you may even believe that it’s “just how it is” in the field you’re in. You may have limiting beliefs substantiated by industry best practices and traditions. I have a lot to say about this subject, and if this question is resonating with you, I invite you to scroll through some of my past Blog Posts. 

The bottom line: trust how you feel. If you don’t have a spring in your step, if you keep feeling a pulling… take some time to imagine what it would be like to feel your “peak moment” feeling, every day. Dig in to why you may not be feeling that right now. Dig in to what’s holding you back. I am proud and honored to now have over 200 leaders who were in this place, and who are now in their dream career/life after taking a big breath and taking a leap into themselves. We need you BEing your best. People are counting on you!

• How do I find/get offered the job I want? Well, that’s a longer discussion! I’ll share something that I know for sure (and this is where I start waving my arms around): if you don’t yet have foundational “intel” and clarity on yourself (your true value, your impact, what brings you joy, and the unique causes and conditions you need to consistently BE that) – it’s all a crap shoot! If you DO have clarity, but don’t have the elevated impact language to effectively communicate it to others – the outcomes can be confusing and frustrating. I’ve seen candidates that were PERFECT for a role, not get the offer and then carry that rejection forward. I’ve seen Search candidates get the job they want and six months later, not be happy.

Have you been asking yourself questions like these?

As a rule, my initial answers to these questions often begin with: “It depends. What do you (really) want, and why? What is the impact you are meant to have (no matter what your role)? And, therefore what do you need to create the possibility for achieving that?”

If we don’t go deep and identify what’s at your core, you might as well just “google” these “How do I…” questions.

Go on, try it! You’ll get lots of great information about how to define your leadership style, how to write a great cover letter, learn about interview strategies, time management tools, self-help ways to bolster your confidence, and more.

And, if you are at a crossroads moment, NONE of those will create the breakthrough awareness and results that you are (really) seeking.


Now, this is usually the part of the article where I offer something like “3 Steps to Getting What You Want.” In fact, I do have some past Blogs that offer specific Guiding Questions to help you begin. And of course, my Career (Life!) Breakthrough Academy guides leaders through this entire process.

But today, my invitation is to simply carve out the time to think about yourself.

Take some time before September is upon us to reflect on the remaining months of 2019, your life, your career. Take stock of what is bringing you joy, and how you are making a difference in the lives of others in those moments. You are. See what percolates up, and where those thoughts take you.

Join me in putting your feet up – by a lake, river, beach, on a couch or desk – and envision how YOU will create the impact you are meant to have, and the dream career/life you (really) want!

To your success,


P.S. – did you see my goofy video on FB and LinkedIn as I opened the boxes with my book with Oprah, Melinda Gates and 47 other women leaders?! I’m so honored to be a part of this inspirational project – and am excited to be signing and personalizing copies for the first 40 people that CLICK HERE and place an order.