What I Did on Summer Vacation

Is this summer flying by or what?!?!?

And, it only seems to be picking up steam. I have relatives in some parts of the country that are actually starting school today!!!


With school starting for some, it reminded me of those back to school assignments many of us had when we were young. The classic “What I Did on Summer Vacation” immediately came to mind. Did you ever have to write this essay or give this speech?

And that thought, brought me here – If you did have to write this essay in September? What would you say? And, is it in alignment with what is important to you?

Now’s your chance to make sure this summer doesn’t get away from you without reviewing where you are and what you wanted to accomplish. And, there is about a month to still make progress. Because, at the end of the day, it really is about making progress.

So take a couple minutes to assess what you what to gain momentum on and how you can nudge it forward. Is it your networking? Start setting up appointments. Is it a new job? Get your resume in order. Is it a new project that you’ve been meaning to launch? Tap people that can help you move it forward.

Don’t let the lazy days of summer take you too far off track from where you head and your heart want you to go. Think about what you would want that essay to say, and then go do it.



Mind the (Pay) Gap!

In my practice, I see people for a number of reasons – a job search, a personal goal, a team issue, leadership development, etc. It is normally a pretty good spread of topics and projects.  But, interestingly enough, over the past two weeks, one topic has come up 10x more than usual – salary.

Mind the (Pay) GAP 

Quick History Lesson – Equal Pay Day was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men’s and women’s wages.

While I believe there are many factors behind the pay gap, one place where you can help manage the gap is when negotiating your salary.

A lot of people have never negotiated their salary and can feel pretty scary.​ So given this is Equal Pay Day, I thought this would be a good time to share a few tips about setting yourself up for success when it comes to salary negotiation during a job search.

Not prepared to answer “the question” during the phone screen

People are always caught off-guard when they get this question so early in the hiring process. As such, they rarely have an answer that they are ready to articulate.

Remember that at this stage the recruiter is generally trying to make sure that you are in the range of the salary budget. They don’t want to send you in front of the hiring manager, have them love you, and then find out you are too expensive. So the best way to set yourself up for success is to make sure you have done your research ahead of the phone call.

Using sites like salaryexpert.com or payscale.com can help you research the going rate for a role. That allows you to say “Based on my research, it looks like the average salary for a person with my education and years of experience  doing X (role) in our city is $??K.  I would be looking for a salary near that average.

Using (or sharing!) your previous salary

Your previous salary rarely has anything to do with the going rate for the role your are applying to. Simply put, it is like comparing apples to oranges.  Once again, if you do your research for the going rate the role you are applying to, you can anchor on the what the market is paying and not what you are currently making.

When you get your “what is your current salary?” Redirect with – My previous work, while related, is not the same. I did research to find out that with my education and years of experience, the going salary for this role in our city is $XX.  I would be looking for a salary near the average (see the pattern?!?!).

Avoiding negotiating

A lot of people would rather just avoid the salary negotiation conversation entirely. I get it.

This is where I could pull out all the stats about how not negotiating your salary has life-long financial implications! Or how men are more likely to negotiate than women by a HUGE margin. Rather than go down that path, I am simply going to say – just do it.

Yes, the answer may be no. But at least you asked. If you don’t ask, then you certainly will not get more. At least by asking, you have advocated for yourself and made the attempt (yay you!)

Making it an emotional conversation and not a fact-based conversation

While at the end of the day, your salary is, of course, a very personal matter. However, the less you make it emotional, the better off you are. Again, sticking to your research and basing the conversation in facts, is your best play.

If you get an offer lower than expected, your first response should be a question – “Can you tell me how you arrived at this number?”  Allow the HR person or hiring manager to explain the criteria they used to determine the offer and then continue the conversation in the most transparent, neutral way you can using the research you have done. Try to imagine it not as a win/lose situation but as a neutral conversation where you’re on the same side and both are trying to resolve the issue.

The equal pay gap is a real thing and it is going to take a lot of people doing a lot of things to help reach parity. In the meantime, I hope these tips have helped shine a light on where you can mind (and manage) your own gap.



Career lessons from the gym…

Most days I get up at 5:30am and go to a gym that is about 10min from my house for a class at 6:00am. The format of the gym alternates between kickboxing days and weightlifting days. It is an intense workout no matter what and I am semi-convinced the gym owner’s true goal is to try and kill us. But, I digress…

I have never been a huge fan of the weight lifting days but lately they have started growing on me. Then, last week during class, I learned a something that made me have a complete shift.

In class, we do a small set of reps of the exercise (like 8 barbell squats) as a warm up. The goal is to test the weight you should be doing for the “real” reps that come next. What I was doing (and doing wrong), was that after the warm-up I was not putting enough weight on my bar. I would add some weight, do another set of reps and if I needed more weight I would add to it.

What I learned is that you should put up the heaviest weight you can handle first because that is when you muscles are most fresh. It is better to push yourself and fail at a heavy weight then get thru all the reps without failing. Huh. When I switched and started doing heaviest weight first, I was A-MAZED at how much I could actually lift!

So why this story? I think it is a reflection of life.

Think about how many times we don’t really push ourselves to the point of failure. Yes, you can “finish” if you lift a lower weight but do you really create your maximum potential? Do you really find out what you “could” do if you pushed yourself and if you loaded up and maxed out your weight? And how much extra time does it take to get results because you are only willing to do small incremental steps rather than just going for it?

Our fear of failure and our fear of even trying the heavy weights [of life] prevents us from reaching true self-actualization. This type of playing small happens in all aspects of our life – our job, our relationships, our health.

Like, when you don’t take on a big project because it is too visible.

Or, not applying for a new job/promotion because we are not “ready.”

Maybe it is not putting the effort needed to improve communication with your team.

Or, you don’t want to give a presentation because you are afraid of speaking in front of groups.

Maybe it’s not asking for a raise or not taking the steps to leaving the job you know is making your miserable and forging a new path with something that is truly satisfying.

So quit playing small and load up! Flex those muscles (literally and figuratively) and see what you are REALLY capable of – you are stronger than you think.



Cha-cha-cha changes…


As of today, we are 92 days away from January 1, 2017.  I often think in terms of 90 day increments so to me, this means we are a couple days away from the final push for the year.  For making your mark on 2016 by making *whatever* change you have been meaning to make. I have been thinking about change for a while.  I need to change this or I want to change that.  As the saying goes, change is the only constant.  It is all around us all the time. I am fortunate that, by-in-large, I like change.

Except when I don’t.

I don’t like change when it is hard.  What do you mean I need to give up sugar?!?!?

I don’t like change when it is scary (i.e. deciding to leave the security of a corporate paycheck in 2013).

I don’t like change when it feels extremely, like, this could go really wrong, risky (starting my business).

But here’s the thing – I would rather go through the change, even if it makes me uncomfortable, rather than avoid it and live with the regret of not trying at all. In almost all cases, I usually regret NOT doing something more than going through something challenging.

In order to have real change, I think three basic things need to happen:

  • You have to decide that the PAIN of the thing that needs changing is greater than the work of the change itself.
  • Do not attempt to make too many changes at once.
  • Focusing on the process makes making a change easier

I wanted to start my own business for YEARS.  And, for a variety of real and perceived reasons, I didn’t do it.  When I finally started my business, it wasn’t because my stars were aligned and everything was in order – far from it.  It was because I couldn’t ignore the desire to be an entrepreneur any longer. It was literally nagging me on such a level that I was ready to take the steps to make the dream a reality.

Another way to recognize the PAIN is to make a list of off the negative things that this PAIN is causing you.  For example, want to lose weight?  List all the negatives things – big and small – being overweight is causing you.  List the emotional, mental and physical toll of it.  List the monetary consequences.  List everything you can think of that is negatively impacting you from not changing.  When you look at the list, it makes is far easier to begin the change then stay in the same spot. This technique works for any thing you want to change –  In debt?  Not leading your team effectively? Struggling with a relationship (personal or professional)?

We all lead busy lives and have multiple priorities and hats that we wear.  There is research all over the place that says success in change is when you focus your energy on a specific, measurable, actionable goal, you have a far better chance of achieving it.  Too many goals not only makes it difficult to achieve said goals but also is an invitation for a frustrating, miserable experience. Better to hone in on one or two things at a time and master them before moving on to the next thing. As that change becomes a habit, you can incorporate the next logical step. Then the next, and the next.

Socrates had it right when he said  “the secret to change is focusing on your energy on not fighting the old but building the new.”   Real change doesn’t happen overnight. Focusing on the process keeps you looking forward rather than lamenting about the past.  Also, focusing on the process is something you can control where as the past is the past.

So, with a couple days left until we get into the final stretch of 2016, think about that one thing that you want to do different, identify the cost the PAIN is causing you from not changing, and map out your how you are going to tackle that one thing, once and for all.



Back to School, Back to You



I know that some kids have been back at school for a week or two (or more!). But, here in Minnesota, the vast majority of kids go back to school the day after Labor Day. There is even a state law about it! So I have spent the last week to ten days squeezing in every last bit of summer I could – time with friends, BBQs, splashing in the lake.

There are a few times of year that have that “fresh start” feeling – New Years, springtime, perhaps your birthday, and back-to-school all come to mind. I don’t know if it is the new box of crayons or clean tennis shoes or what. But, going back to school was filled with so much potential. Who was my teacher? What would I learn this year? What would I discover? The possibilities were endless!!

And even though many of us are not in school anymore, this time of year still seems to mark a passage from the carefree time of summer, to the let’s get down to business fall. The limited time between the relaxed pace of summer and the sometimes hectic holiday season. Maybe you have been thinking the same thing…

There are roughly 4 months left in the year. What goals do you still hope to tackle? What changes do you still want to make? What leader do you aspire to be? Or flip it, and think about how you will feel on December 31 if you are in in the same spot you are today. Are you ready to move forward on your dreams and plans?

So after you enjoy this last weekend of summer, if you are in Minnesota or not, on Tuesday kiss your Lovies (or fur babies) and put them on the bus to get back to school. And then, get back to you.



Reflections at the halfway point…

drink and limes - blog 2

It’s the last day of June and I am trying to get this post out before *everyone* heads out for the 4th. I decided late last night to create this post because I was reflecting with a friend yesterday about the first six months of this year. For me, it has been “crazy busy” which is to say I was even more busy than my usual “comfortably busy” pace. There were a lot of reasons for that level of busy but that would make for a much too long post. Anyhooo,there were some really tough days that I wanted to throw in the towel. I am glad I didn’t because in addition to regular life, here is just a short list about what I accomplished during this intense time:

  • Built this website (and learned the technology to do it)
  • Hired staff (contractors) to help support my coaching practice
  • Taught a Leadership class to 25 amazing undergrads
  • Had 5 speaking gigs – both public and corporate
  • Began monthly webinars (and learned that technology to do it)
  • Built a new online course for job seekers – Savvy Job Search Group Coaching (coming Aug 3!)
  • Worked with a ton of new people and helped them:
    • Start new work
    • Begin a dream project
    • Change jobs (and have one get a 23K signing bonus!)
    • Make decisions for their “next steps”
    • Become an entrepreneur
    • Start their new job with a “bang”

So, all this to say, A LOT can happen in 6 months. Let’s face it, January feels like a lifetime ago. I would bet that you probably have some things out there that you keep meaning to do or meant to do this year. But guess what?? You still have SIX WHOLE MONTHS to still accomplish them! SIX MONTHS!! So take a moment and just ask yourself, what has been holding you back? – and don’t just answer “busy” or “kids” or “money” because frankly those things are surface answers and will always be the easy out. So ask yourself, what is it that you REALLY want to do and what is REALLY holding you back from what you want to do?

Since we are coming into a long weekend, I wish you lots of rest, relaxation, and fun with friends and family. And, I encourage you to think about what this next six months is going to look like for you and how you are going to get there. Then, renew your commitment to making it happen.



Career Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning


Here in Minnesota, it won’t be long now before the tulips and other early flowers start to bloom.  We have had a remarkably mild winter but even so, tons of dirt and dust builds up in the house.  So, as winter comes to a close and the tulips start to poke their green tips, a good spring cleaning always feels great.  Brushing things out, opening the windows – it all feels so refreshing.

But there are other things that need spring cleaning too.  This year, in addition to your house, it is a good time of year to freshen elements of your career too.  Having elements of your career reviewed, updated, and ready to go ensures you can be ready at a moments notice should an opportunity present itself. Jump into spring with a fresh start and check out these tips for spring cleaning your career.


Gather your important career documents into one place.  This “place” can be physical or electronic,  which ever your prefer. For basic organizing, you need three folders:

  • Folder 1 – All your year-end reviews.  BTW – if you haven’t started a 2016 list of wins for this year’s year-end, start it now.  it is a whole lot easier to capture them now as they happen then to try to recall them at the end of the year.
  • Folder 2 – Any and all assessments you have taken.  Think Meyers Briggs, Strengths Finder 2.0, DiSC, and others.  You can also include any personal reflection, articles or tidbits you have collected that are meaningful to you.
  • Folder 3 – Various copies of your résumé and cover letters.  I like to keep my old versions just in case I want to refer back to them, or <heaven forbid!>, you lose the copy you are working on and have to start from scratch.  Another, alternate tip is to create a master résumé with every bullet you can think of for each role.  Then, when you go to apply for a job, you just delete what doesn’t apply.

Finally, this may also be a good time to organize your calendar for a number of career building activities.  Such as making time for a set number of networking opportunities each month or a training you would like to take later this year.


There is good reason for pitching things periodically. Like fashion, résumé trends come and go. And, you don’t want to be using a résumé that screams “out of touch.” The following items are “off-trend” and should be purged from your résumé:

  • Your address – city and state are fine but even then, not necessary.  The most you need is your email and the phone number where you want to be reached (make sure it is only ONE phone number, not all the numbers associated with you).
  • Objective statement
  • References available upon request
  • Interests/activities section (unless it directly relates to the job you are applying for OR you are a recent college grad)
  • These words and phrases: Duties include, responsible for, Microsoft Office, experienced (as in “experienced professional…”)

In addition to the list above, take a good, hard look at the length of your résumé. The general rule is one page per 8-10 years.  And remember, anything more than 10 years ago, does not hold much weight.  So, the further back you go, the fewer bullets you should have for each role. These days, it is a rare résumé that should be greater than 2 pages long.  I have no doubt that you have plenty of work history to share, especially if you are a tenured professional. However, chances are slim that what you did in 1998 will be relevant for the role you are applying to today.


LinkedIn is a wonderful tool with many excellent functions for highlighting your best professional self. However, it can easily get out of hand.  Just because you can put your entire work history, all your amazing project files, videos, and referrals, doesn’t mean you should.  In fact, I would argue that a cluttered LinkedIn profile is just as bad a no profile at all.  Take five or ten minutes to clean out the clutter.  This can include excessive amounts of narrative in your work history bullets, too many referrals, the college courses you took five (or more!) years ago.


It is a good practice to review and refresh your personal brand and elevator pitch.  The personal brand does evolve over time based on many different factors. So, reviewing and updating it periodically ensures that you are managing your brand the way you want it managed.  Once you have reviewed your brand, you can also review if your brand statement, or elevator pitch, is fresh as well. Having this in order will ensure you are ready for any networking opportunity that presents itself.

This is also a good time to freshen up your skills.  This can be accomplished via a new project at work, a training you want to attend or even volunteer work.  There are tons of options if you are open to trying something new.

Last Thought – This spring, do something that refreshes YOU.  Don’t stay stuck doing the same old thing. This is the season of rebirth! If you want to do something different, then do something different! If you are you going through a transition, I encourage you to use the metaphor of spring and renewal for yourself. There is so much potential with spring. If you have been thinking about making a change and looking for a reason to do it, the energy of springtime may be just the thing you need. The next three months will pass either way so, take some time to think about what you want to be different and decide how are you going to get there.

Here’s to getting your career “house” in order. Happy Spring!

xo, Kelly

Sometimes Ya Just Gotta Take a Leap!

So it’s Leap Day. I’ve been thinking about this day for a couple of weeks and reflecting on the many leaps I have taken in the past few years. The first big leap was leaving the corporate world behind in 2013. The second leap was to stay home with the kiddos. The next leap was to decide to return to work. And, the most recent leap to become a entrepreneur. All of them pretty big leaps, some may say.

When I look at the list, I think some of the leaps were definitely easier than others. My most recent leap as a business owner probably seemed the scariest at the time, but upon reflection, it probably wasn’t as scary as leaving the corporate world. That still probably tops the list. Staying home with the kiddos was a leap of a different kind… so much of mainstream identity is what you “do” and I felt like my identity was as a working mom. So a leap to stay-at-home mom felt like a huge shift.

BUT, were they the huge leaps that I thought they would be? Nope, not exactly. Sure, each leap all had an element of gains and trade-offs. But were they great big jumps across a gorge of uncertainty that I thought they would be?? In many ways, no, they weren’t. I still got up. I still went thru my day. I just did it slightly differently. In all the cases above, once I chose to take a leap, it was more like a small step. Then another. Then another. And another. Think of it more like a staircase. Each step building toward whatever it was that I was “leaping” to.

So what does this all mean? Turns out, there is NO leap! What feels like a chasm a mile wide is really just a bunch of small steps that you put together. And that’s a good thing. It means that you can create a plan to get you from one side to the other. It means that you don’t have to risk it all to begin creating that “thing” that you always wanted. It means that whatever it is that you want to do or want to be is totally achievable. I am going to say that again – Whatever it is that you want to do or want to be is totally achievable. It means that you don’t have to leap, you just have to decide to take the first step.

As Leap Day comes to a close, I encourage you to spend a few minutes reflecting on any big leaps you have been wanting to do, meaning to do, but haven’t acted on. Pick one to focus on. And then, take one small step toward making it happen.


A New Year’s Wish for You

May you discover new amazing things about yourself and have a year of incredible growth.
May you follow the path that is right for you and your dreams, not your fears, lead you.
May you have a year of good health – physically, emotionally, spiritually.
May you heal from any old wounds and repair broken relationships.
May you take risks that lead you to new heights personally and professionally.
May you both learn from, and teach others, wonderful lessons.
May you face your challenges with strength and determination.
May you find more time for family and friends.
May you own your awesomeness and recognize it in others.
May you find happiness and abundance in every aspect of your life.
Wishing you the year of your dreams!
xo, Kelly

A HUGE Milestone Has Happened!

This month marks a HUGE milestone for me and I didn’t want the month to end without acknowledging it. It was one year ago this month that I decided to go forth with this dream to be an entrepreneur and launch INMITTŌ Consulting.

It has gone by so quickly – from the simple step of getting registered with the State of Minnesota to my goal of having 100 sessions in 90 days and my first clients. To creating the newsletter, publishing LinkedIn posts and launching the FB page. In the past year, I have logged hundreds of coaching hours and seen dozens of people. I have helped them with their career, their leadership, their life or all of the above. I do this work because it moves me in ways that are at times difficult to articulate. Every time I have an opportunity to help someone reach a goal, milestone or target, my heart soars.

Most importantly, as I look back on this year, I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity or the support I have received. Many of you have supported me through hiring me to speak, hearing about my ideas, being a guinea pig for a new training, helping me make hard decisions, reviewing work, editing copy or simply sending a quick note. So it is with the deepest and most sincere gratitude that I thank everyone that has contributed to this work in both big ways and small. It all matters, it all adds up, and it has made a huge difference.

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