Emotional Intelligence – How Self-aware are you?

Let’s find out!

Considering what is going on in the world of work right now I think we could all do with a moment to take stock of our career journey thus far and focus on our professional brand. There was never a better time for a little self-discovery and/or self-expansion in order to remain an asset to the workforce in a time of economic downturn.

No matter the difficulties you are facing right now making your professional brand a priority, and spending time on discovering who you are professionally will be a personal investment you won’t regret. The job market has significantly shifted and so must we. I believe this requires tapping into the power of emotional intelligence (EI) and refining your soft skills so that you not only survive but can learn to thrive through economic hardship.

In this FIVE part series I would like to highlight a range of techniques that can help you to build a self-management practice based on the 5 pillars of Emotional Intelligence:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Self-motivation
  • Empathy and
  • Social skills (social awareness).

We will begin with self-awareness, but before we do that let’s revisit and define EI.

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Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is when a person can recognize their own and others emotions and use this information to guide their thinking and actions. It’s managing your emotions rather than being managed by them. I personally like to think of it as emotional monitoring and observing, this includes tapping into your intuition or ‘gut feelings’. It’s in-the-moment analysis of how your emotions are interacting with your environment.

As we learn to successfully navigate and manage our emotional states it allows us to remain agile and flexible in the workplace. It’s something you can start today and will have positive long term effects well into the future.

Developing your EI boosts emotional confidence, whilst building resilience and grit in times of uncertainty. No company wants to lose employees that possess such qualities, especially when they are needed the most.

Emotional Resistance

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The COVID pandemic and current climate has left many of us feeling a range of unpleasant emotions that can be all encompassing. As Dr Joan Rosenberg said in her TED Talk, what we feel emotionally is felt in the body first; she explains this as bio-chemical waves. As I’m sure you can relate, we don’t usually want to feel and ride those unpleasant emotional waves, therefore our first point of defence might be avoidance, self-preservation or even resistance. When we feel threatened or in emotional pain we can adopt avoidance methods in order to detach from its full intensity. This may look like over eating, drinking alcohol, or placing the blame on someone else. In our attempt to avoid the emotional overwhelm we might also become fixated on what we can’t control like how other people are behaving or thinking instead of how ‘we’ are acting. This fixation keeps us in an emotional holding pattern and a state of cyclic stress. This is why being self-aware and knowing when we are using these tactics can help us to break-through onto more constructive and helpful paths of thinking, feeling and most importantly behaving.


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I view self-awareness as seeing, hearing, feeling, and validating who we are from the inside. When it is mastered it looks like in the moment accurate assessment and evaluation of one’s own thoughts and feelings as well as how they impact or interact with our environment. Self-awareness can lead to positive shifts in our personality, temperament, and behaviour which allows us to build resilience and emotional flexibility in the workplace and in life. I am a great believer that when we come to accept we can’t change a situation (like this pandemic/working from home) we are pushed into changing ourselves. Changing ourselves for the better requires the aforementioned development of Emotional Intelligence and the best place to start in the process is by adopting greater self-awareness techniques or strategies.

My Top 3 Self-awareness Practice Techniques

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Adopt the ‘Observer’ Character

Ever wanted to test out your acting ability? Well now is your chance. We have many different versions of ourselves that can be likened to characters. Sometimes in the world of psychology they are called archetypes, you might be familiar with some and be less aware of others. Some examples might be the ‘helper’, the ‘Creative’ the ‘mother’, the ‘child’ and so on. A creative and useful way to begin to be more self-aware on a regular basis is to develop the ‘Observer’ character within you. We all have one, it’s that ‘care taker’, ‘guide’ or ‘wise’ part of ourselves. The observer quality can be called upon when you need to check in with your current state, it’s a version of you that steps back and objectively observes how you think, act and feel in any given moment. You can start to develop the observer in a few different ways but I have two examples I personally find most effective (these require a little imagination):

  • Imagine the observer character like a part of you that steps out of your body and hangs out next to you. The observer almost magically watches over you. Imagine you are watching yourself in a situation where you are upset or angry and you want to change how you react. When you tap into the observer skills, you adopt an objective view where you can really see, hear and feel what is going on in that moment. This should allow you to choose how you will respond to the situation rather than react without any thought.
  • Alternatively you might like to imagine there is always blue sky above you and each thought or feeling you have are the clouds that float by. You can imagine these clouds come and go, because it’s important to remember not all your thoughts are true or helpful. Maybe in that moment you can let some of them go. This can be both an observational and mindful activity to calm and ground you.

These techniques are all about stepping back and observing our thoughts and emotions rather than allowing them to take hold. By adopting the ‘observer’ we can align what we feel on the inside with how we choose to act on the outside. It’s a powerful method in the workplace that allows you to communicate effectively on a more consistent basis.

Daily reflection and feedback

  • Although this can be time consuming, journaling or making note of your experiences and what you observe about yourself can have a huge impact. I spent most of my 20’s learning about counselling and coaching, many of the activities in the courses were about reflection. I had to write what seemed like endless essays and journal entries about how I felt, how I was acting at work, or in my personal life in order to gain insight and develop my self-understanding (self-awareness). These activities made me so confident in my abilities to analyse who I was in different situations and how I can change how I respond and behave in my life. I highly recommend taking time out to reflect and if possible write down what you are learning about yourself in various situations.
  • Another way to do this is to take note of the feedback you get from people. At work you may have quite direct feedback, other times it’s more indirect. For example a manager in your 1:1 meeting tells you something about your performance that’s direct and easy to understand but on another occasion a colleague turns their body away when you are speaking about something which is less direct. Both are forms of feedback, the latter is harder to read but again self-awareness is noticing how we are behaving and the next step is noticing how we are effecting or impacting people or the environment around us. For example maybe you were saying something that made your colleague uncomfortable or maybe they were disagreeing with what you were saying. The key thing in these kinds of situations is that you are not responsible for how anyone else feels, however you can take the non-verbal feedback and later reflect “could I have approached that different?” “What could I do differently next time?”

    Get to know your strengths, values, character traits and more
  • Ok, my final technique in the TOP 3! Another super impactful way to build self-awareness is by getting to know your personality, your work preferences, your values, skills, attributes and more. This can simply be done by taking note of performance reviews, doing personality tests, skills analysis or questionnaires.

Try some of these free and paid options to get you started:

Values Test

Career Motivation Test

Emotional Intelligence Test

Happy exploring, and enjoy the journey towards greater SELF-AWARENESS

Reference Source:
Dr Joan Rosenberg

Gen Hustle – Who’s hustling who?

The word ‘hustle’ has been resurrected, re-purposed, and dropped into the workplace like a fresh excerpt from the gospel. If you aren’t in the hustle congregation right now, you might feel like a bit of an out-sider who’s lacking career ambition.

Using the word ‘hustle’ in the world of work is on trend, it’s ‘cool’, and it captures the current work climate perfectly; long hours, fast-paced, competitive, high-energy and non-stop productivity. All of this seems to be tied in with an expectation to devote yourself to your job, to live the company values at all times, and of course post about it on your social media platforms. This is what’s now known as ‘hustle culture’ and our young workforce are eating it up!

But! In recent years, a wave of criticism aimed at the more toxic side of hustle culture has emerged. As a millennial I’ve hustled and been hustled so I thought I’d weigh in on the discussion.

In my opinion the slippery slope of toxic hustle culture starts with company expectations that are unsustainable and breed toxicity amongst its workers. The characteristics of one particular environment I worked in could be described as highly competitive, polarizing, exclusive, ego-centric, and even cult-ish. The unspoken pressure to conform to unrealistic workloads and long hours whilst sacrificing your leisure time was palpable. If you didn’t mould yourself to fit you were placed on the outer circle, if you did choose to participate you were only as valuable as the next work goal you kicked.

I see the newest generation faced with even greater expectations to not only become the high achieving workhorse but to change the world while they’re at it! This is quite noticeable in start-up environments where non-stop productivity is a norm. It seems to me, what started as a culture that encourages people to pursue their dreams, adopt the entrepreneurial mindset and develop a hard-work ethic, became a culture at risk of exploiting young workers and ultimately setting them up to fall.

As a culture the propaganda-esque mantra’s and mottos like “rise and grind”, “sleep when you’re dead” and “hustle harder” are promoting a blatant disregard for workplace wellness and self-care. Elon musk said it himself “nobody ever changed the world on a 40 hour week”. How do you rebut such a comment when the man is a billionaire? You heard it from the top, it must be the only way right?

It’s an undeniably clever way to promote more work and less play, glamorise unpaid over-time as a determining factor of success and offer the false concept of belonging to an elite group. In my experience I found that you belong until you are expendable and being ‘busy’ is a badge of honour until you reach burnout. It’s a way of thinking that is setting us back decades in regards to work-life harmony, wellness, job fulfillment and happiness.

Economist Jim Stanford, the director of the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute has made comment in various ABC articles on the ‘over-worked Australian’ stating that “Across the economy, we found about $116 billion worth of labour time each year is uncompensated” suggesting that the reason is a combination of factors such as a competitive job market, businesses encouraging overtime and an over commitment from staff who are driven to work longer as a result of hidden (or not so hidden) company expectations.

The curious thing is Australia was once leading the way in work-life balance with the introduction of the 8 hour day/48 hour week during the 1950’s. One of the reasons for that 48 hour work week (still the status quo today) was to allow more time to educate one-self, be a better family person and citizen to society through reasonable leisure time. Aren’t these still valid reasons today?

The hustle trend might be prolific right now but research over the years has disproved any notion that longer hours improve productivity; with one UK study suggesting that a 4 day week actually increases productivity. Other insights suggest we would be more productive and happier if we worked less hours.

In my experience stepping out of the bubble of toxic hustle reminded me that I am a human-being not a human-doing, and there are many other ways to be effective, successful and highly productive that don’t require dropping all other areas of your life to marry your job. I’d personally like to see more positive workplace wellness mantras and affirmations used like;”work doesn’t work without play”, “work hard eat well”, ” but first health”or “I’m allowed to say no to others and Yes to myself!”.

It’s truly an act of rebellion today to practice self-care, it’s time to re-prioritise wellness at work and in life!

Here are my top tips on stepping out of the toxic hustle environment and moving towards greater wellbeing and self-care:

Reassess your priorities ask yourself, is my current workplace adding value to my life or negatively impacting it? Determine what matters most to you, rather than what you feel is expected of you. This is a simple exercise, but not to be underestimated as it’s not often that we stop and reflect when we are in the hustle mindset.

Take back your time (leaving or starting at reasonable times, having a rested days off):
– If you are staying back each day then you may not be managing your time during the day effectively or your workload needs to be reassessed.
– Work on more challenging tasks at times of the day when you are most alert and schedule less dense brain work in times when you are feeling lower energy.
– Maintain hobbies and passions outside of work and use your days off to rest properly, sleep is crucial to boosting your wellbeing.
– Take regular breaks, walk outside, practice mindfulness (try some mindfulness or meditation programs/apps).

Set full-proof boundaries remember to respond not react, if you don’t feel you can achieve a task by a certain deadline, learn to say no and offer alternative solutions. Negotiate workloads and offer reasonable options to your manager, find out what is the highest priority and ask to focus on that. Stop trying to multitask (it’s not a thing!).
The Myth of Multitasking.

Think big look at the whole picture of your life; your relationships, your finances, your health, your family, your passions etc. ask yourself am I moving towards or away from a future I want? Try to step out of the daily grind and imagine where you see yourself in 5 years from now. Is the job you are doing now complimenting your life? Can you see yourself staying in this job?

More on ways to step out of the hustle and foster wellbeing at work in my next article.

If you are feeling burnout, depression, stress or anxiety and want support you can find help:

Black Dog Institute –

Beyond Blue –

Work place strategies for burnout -

What is being done about burnout –

National Museum Australia –
UK Website:

When you fake it, do you really make it? 4 ways to stop faking and boost your career

“In my humble opinion – ‘faking’ or ‘acting’ the part in your job is a short-term career hack at best and long-term imitation at worst. I know we don’t love admitting to our skill gaps, but a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing can only fool you for so long.”

I was about 19 in my first sales and service-related job when I was taught the self-promoting mantra ‘fake it til you make it’. I was young, enthusiastic and had a passion for working with people. It was my first ‘real’ job and it required persuasive selling techniques. I was excited and I wanted to learn everything at once! But, I was not exactly exuding confidence, so I was encouraged by my manager to ‘fake it’.

Did I find it helpful? The answer is YES! Although I was not a big fan of the phrase initially, and didn’t like the concept of ‘faking’, I learnt to appreciate the idea of ‘acting’ the part whilst developing the skills. Acting the part was only ever going to be a short-term strategy until I gained confidence in my abilities. It was also a time of learning to sit with self-doubt, uncertainty and accept insecurity. It was not comfortable, but ‘acting’ or ‘faking’ it felt like a survival mechanism and as far as I was concerned, I had to survive in order to thrive in the world of work!

You may also be familiar with the phrase – ‘face it til you make it’. To me this is a more positive and virtuous approach to professional development, as we move away from ‘faking’ and more towards the behaviours that promote responsibility – like showing up, facing the challenge, and taking action to learn what we need to learn to succeed in our role. Essentially, whether you like the idea of ‘faking’ for a short time or ‘facing’ up to your career challenges, you should be continuously growing, not hiding or sweeping knowledge gaps under the carpet.

So why is continuous growth and professional development a great way to boost your career? Well as I have suggested, it is one way you can transition from acting a part to the real thing! When we are doing honest self-assessment and making continuous progress by working on our strengths AND our skill gaps simultaneously, we stand out from those who are not. We become agile and always one-step ahead; we also remain current and relevant and this can lead to greater career opportunities.

4 Ways to stop faking and boost your career

1. Give it a go and model someone you know

When I have been thriving, it’s because I was diving into opportunities. Firstly I was willing to give things a go even when I felt fear and secondly because I chose highly successful and authentic people to model my behaviour on (If you cannot find a role model in your place of work, look outside it). I have found one of the best ways to step up and grow my career is to find someone who represents a version of the person or the qualities I hoped to possess in the future. This way you have a focus, we don’t know what we don’t know, there is nothing worse than trying to ‘make it’ with no real idea of what making it looks or feels like.

2. Align and define your professional ethics

I learnt quite quickly that there are professional limits (what you will and will not put up with) that should rest on sturdy ethics and professional attitudes. Your Ethics are non-negotiable beliefs or values that you hold yourself accountable to. It is extremely beneficial to align with your professional ethics – as they become your standards. They can guide your choices in the toughest of times and provide comfort in times of doubt. This way you can follow your standards rather than fitting someone else’s. Check out ways to define your values (the first step to creating your professional ethics) by clicking here).

3. Do it for you

Validate and recognise yourself for your wins as much as possible, this is a way to turn inward and become intrinsically motivated. It’s great to be critical at times but try not to have higher expectations on yourself than you would on others. Similarly avoid building a career on proving your worth to others. Show up for you, you should be working towards your expectation not trying to fit other people’s expectations or perceptions of you.

4. Keep an open mind

This requires openness to feedback and continued learning. It is seeing your gaps from someone else’s perspective and being willing to work on them not only for your job but also for yourself as a professional who wants to take strides in their career. Openness can lead to rapid growth and helps us to manage change and information overload in the workplace.

If you continue to fake your way through your career without developing the actual skills, you are risking being left behind in the world of work where attributes such as growth mindset, flexibility, agility and adaptability are the most valued assets a person can possess.

Work Sux, so Be Grateful!

You feel like your manager is un-supportive, you hate your work environment, you think your colleagues are lazy, you don’t feel valued, and there is not enough opportunity for professional development.

What if it wasn’t your manager, your colleagues or the environment? 

What if it was you? 

Before you vehemently protest, hear me out! I have had a number of slumps in my career that had me feeling underwhelmed by my job, it was easy to blame others or the environment or the culture, but that meant I was out of control. I hated that feeling (you might too) and I learnt to shift it by changing how I looked at it. If I was the only part I could control then I would need to focus on me. This all came about after spending six months in a position where there was almost no training and very little support to develop my skills, on top of that I felt like I was being targeted by my manager (at the time), this person would ask me to do something one way and then once I had done it they would suggest otherwise. They would pit me against my colleague and every one-to-one meeting was about what I wasn’t doing right, despite my constant communication and checking in. I felt like I was going insane, I’d never experienced such emotional stress, uncertainty or confusion in previous roles. So, after what felt like months of hitting my head against a wall I was forced into a place of survival! I had to be resilient, self-motivated and completely control my mindset. This included shifting my self-doubts and self-talk into self-belief, I just had to hang in there until I could move out of that particular position. I’d call it something like – “survive to thrive”. I did this through the use of mindfulness practice and gratitude.

I began to truly comprehend the notion that “freedom is a state of mind”. I had felt trapped but I knew freedom lay within me, so I supported myself by staying present and treating each day like an opportunity to develop myself as a person. This was one way of practicing self-care and valuing myself even when others did not. I kept sane by practicing gratitude for what was working well and the positive things in my life such as the great colleagues I worked with, the great friends I had, my supportive home life, my housemate, my health, even the good weather and the grassy noll I had to sit on at lunchtime. This took me out of entrapment, it was a shift in perspective and it grounded me through some of the most humiliating, confusing and trying times. Practicing gratitude at work is so beneficial that I believe it can grow you as a professional and person faster than any course or in-house training. 

It is not always simple to be mindful and hold an open and positive attitude towards thoughts. Our inner critic or negative thoughts can be repetitive, usually familiar to us and often intrusive. It is perfectly normal that these thoughts creep in, it’s how we respond that makes the difference. Notice that I said respond rather than react; a reaction is an automatic response – as in we have no control. When in actual fact we do have control, it is all about choice. Negative or ‘unhelpful’ thoughts are often ‘running commentary’, ‘stories’ or ‘recordings’ we tell ourselves out of habit. It can take just one negative thought to piggy back onto other thoughts and they can easily spiral on.

It’s important to recognise and acknowledge that thoughts are not always correct, factual or require action. So, remember to give yourself a break and roll with the setbacks, even if those set backs feel like a direct correlation with what’s going on around you. We cannot control how other people view us or behave around us, all you can do is gently bring yourself back towards being open, mindful and kind to yourself. A great way to shift back into ‘helpful’ thoughts is by practicing Mindful Gratitude.

In the study of Positive Psychology the ability to harness gratitude is a personal virtue or strength, it is consistently and powerfully linked with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish experiences, have better health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships (Siegel, 2009).

I’m lucky enough to now be in a team that is supportive. I still practice mindful gratitude as often as I can because it’s a way of being and a way to continue to grow.

A wonderful exercise to do is to consciously and mindfully record all the things you are grateful for on a daily basis.

Mindful Gratitude practice tips:

  1. Choose a mode or way of recording your gratitude; this may be in a journal, on social media (publicly holds you very accountable), electronically etc.
  2. Sign a metaphoric peace treaty with your negative thoughts or self- doubts. i.e “ I choose to love and accept all thoughts, for they are not all true, I understand that I am human, I am not perfect and I will not expect things of myself that do not make me happy”. Begin to develop an attitude that is thankful and respectful towards yourself by acknowledging and accepting your strengths, the good things in your life – These may be small or large, majorly impactful or lessor so.
  3. Make it a rule, aim, or challenge, to record a certain number of things you are grateful for each day. If this is new to you, you may begin with 1 thing to be grateful for each day. You might then take it up to 2-5 per day. Another option is to start with 1 thing per day for 1 week, 2 per day for 1 week and 3 per day for 1 week and so on.
  4. Start with simple things- for example things that sustain your life like food, a roof over your head, your basic physiological needs. Slowly work into areas of your life like safety, love and belonging, self-esteem, relationships, career or any other self-actualizing pursuits. This can also include your strengths, personality traits and abilities.
  5. Be as descriptive and creative as you like by elaborating on how or why you are grateful, your feelings or emotions that are attached. If creativity is your outlet you might like to make it into a poem, a rhyme, a picture, mind map or a song!
  6. Consider your personal attributes, strengths and virtues. If you are not sure what they are think of things people have reflected back to you, about who you are. Use the positive feedback you have received in your life to reframe your negative beliefs about yourself into healthier ones.
  7. Consider people and relationships in your life that have impacted or continue to impact you positively (Surround yourself with these people).
  8. Don’t think too hard or put expectation on the process, let yourself be freely grateful. Allow the thoughts to flow out trying not to second guess or minimise the initial thoughts or feelings that come up. There is no wrong or right way to do this.

As human beings thinking critically comes natural, that’s how we survive adversity and potential threats. It’s only natural that we can think of a myriad of things we don’t like about ourselves or life, it takes effort and energy to work the parts of our brain that will combat the harsh expectation we naturally place on ourselves. Believe me it’s worth it and it gets easier. You will truly feel very empowered and in control if you consistently practice mindfulness and gratitude together.

 “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them”

-John F. Kennedy

Yasmin W.


Siegel, R,. D. (2009). Positive Psychology : Harnessing the Power of Happiness, Personal Strength and Mindfulness.

Beyond Blue: Yes, mindfulness is really a thing

The Inner Mission

Thanks for joining me!

“We can do so much more when we navigate our way through the journey together “


Why the Inner Way Worx

If I attempt to explain working from the inside-out it is probably best described as intuition, leading from the heart, a sense of satisfaction, peace and/or a sense of trust that you are treading the right path. I have found that by driving from inner knowledge, wants and needs we can align with what we value most in our life and career. When we don’t deny ourselves or try to hide or ignore parts we can holistically make better decisions for our professional brand and wellbeing.

How did I come to writing this blog?

One thing I’ve always wanted to do in my career is move “up”, believing that the main objective was to climb the ladder towards management and leadership positions. I held myself back for many years because I didn’t feel good enough, secure enough, consistent enough or intelligent enough to sustain a position like that. The emphasis being the “enough”, somewhere deep inside I knew I had “something” I knew I had the ability, but I created an opposing picture, I would seek out evidence that proved I could only half do the job and so, I convinced myself I never fully fit the brief. I’ll use an analogy, my career thus far could be likened to my swimming squad days, in the pool I was one lane off the top squad (with the fastest swimmers), but I never quite reached the top. Similarly, if I apply this to my career history; I was often excelling in my lane, I was a high achiever in sales, I was a dedicated customer service expert, coach, consultant, trainer, facilitator and team player. The many roles I have had all indicate a high level of drive, aptitude and commitment but I had remained at a level that was comfortable. That lane became safe, I was pretty darn fast, I was pretty good, but I wasn’t the best and somewhere along my journey I had decided that was ok.

Until, I began to realise that the more I held myself back the more resentful I felt, cue next job where I’d promise myself, I would step up! This process eventually wore me down, so I started to take a closer look at myself. Who was I trying to impress? Me? Or others? And most importantly what did I truly want? I felt lost, burnt out and needed to “find myself” again. I know this might sound like an elementary revelation in a world where personal and professional development is at our fingertips but I had spent so long trying to ‘prove myself’ that I didn’t know what I was proving anymore. Everything felt like one big hustle when I really just wanted to follow my heart.

Instead of following my heart, I learnt the hard way that when our potential is over-shadowed by limiting perceptions of ourselves it often takes a major wake-up call to shift into a new gear. It’s a feeling of reaching a pain point so great that we just can’t live like that any longer. This might look like complete burn-out, loss of identity, lack of motivation, depression or anxiety and even more it can become pervasive through your entire life. I’d like to think we can prevent ourselves from reaching these points by re-focusing inward more often. A mentor once told me “intervene early and intervene often”, I’ve found it to be a great mantra to use when managing my own professional development. Understanding what’s happening for you on the inside can make all the difference to how you respond to work situations on the outside.

It’s not a new concept to seek answers from within. I see it as a cyclical part of life, at times we need to return inwards for the “true” answers as we learn, forget and re-learn time and time again what we really need and want. Life is busy, expectations can be high and unless you are an enlightened monk, I think we are stretched and challenged away from and back to ourselves throughout this lifetime. Sometimes you just have to turn down the external voices, pressures and all the have to’s, should not’s and could not restrictions that can be used as evidence against our pursuit of professional happiness.

One of the best things I’ve ever done, is to give less of a *Bleep* about what people think of me. I’ve come to find comfort in the beating of my own drum, my lane doesn’t look so bad, I stayed true to myself, even if I had held myself back at times, does it matter? I’m here now still on the journey and ready to share it with you.

If you’d like to know more about the strategies and tools I’ve used to coach myself through various career challenges please follow this blog.