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Kimberly A.

“Amber is an amazing life coach. She is very empathic and professional. My sessions with her helped me truly move forward with life. She has a versatile tool box that can help anyone gain clarity, make great change, and create next steps while having a supportive ear by your side.”

Kimberly A., Project Manager, Clayton, CA

Kerry Philp 2020

“I reached back out to Amber in 2020 when I began contemplating whether it was time for a career change, and received the same high-quality service. She provided multiple resources to explore career options, while simultaneously helping me focus on work-life balance techniques. I’m now well on my way to getting the education and experience needed for my new career, and Amber’s guidance was critical.”

Kerry Philp, Marketing Manager, San Francisco/Rome

Kerry Philp

“I worked with Amber for the past year after struggling to find the next step in my career and to explore the possibility of living abroad. Amber was fantastic. We set objectives for what I wanted to accomplish, identified my values, tackled current work issues and explored future career ideas.  I was so pleased at the structure and focus of each session.  A year later, I can honestly say that I have work/life balance, better non-defensive communication skills, plus I’m on my way to live in Europe.  I highly recommend Amber. She’s the complete package: focused, reflective, practical, productive, and supportive.”

Kerry Philp, Marketing Manager, San Francisco/Rome

Nanette Mickelson

“Working with Amber was a life changing experience. She helped me to reach new heights in my career and to finally succeed at long-standing personal goals. She is extremely personable and has the ability to connect with her clients quickly and to begin work with them at whatever stage they’re in at the time. She is trustworthy, always encouraging, and a patient and insightful guide through life experiences in pursuit of goals and dreams. She also offers good value and high integrity.”

Nanette Mickelson, Business Analyst, San Jose, CA

Tracy Wiseman

“I highly recommend Amber as a life and career coach. In our work together focusing on career transition, she’s provided exceptional value in her ability to assess situations quickly and offer concrete tools, processes and plans of action to enable successful growth, change and resilience.”

Tracy Wiseman, Technical/Business Consultant, San Jose, CA

Brenna S.

“I’m at a loss for words as to how much you’ve impacted my life, my career and my relationships. You are so worthy of your weight in gold. You’ve given me confidence, clarity and tools. I tell everyone I come across, THIS is what a coach should do. I so look forward to and enjoy our conversations that I’m having a hard time saying goodbye.”

Brenna S., Communications Professional, San Francisco, CA

Danielle J

“I worked with Amber last year, which was my first time working with a coach. Amber definitely exceeded my expectations, and I would absolutely work with her again. She listened to what I needed but also provided me with direction and gave me tools to work with.”

Danielle J, Recruiter, Chicago, IL

Managing Remote Work Fatigue a Year into COVID

Hello Friends,

As we approach the year mark of the pandemic in the US, I want to share a few tips on managing remote work fatigue. I hope you find it helpful!

With gratitude,

Managing Remote Work Fatigue a Year into COVID

If you’re lucky enough to be able to work from home during this pandemic, you may find yourself procrastinating, feeling unfocused, tired, inefficient, and/or working too many hours.

Without the structure of an office environment to keep you on task throughout the day (spontaneous check-ins, scheduled meetings, lunches with colleagues) it can be challenging to create an environment that is conducive to maximizing your work hours.

Here are a few tools to facilitate new positive habits and help you get more done in less time. The key is to be intentional about your time and energy. They’re your most valuable assets and even small changes in how you manage them can have a big impact on your quality of life.

1. Scrutinize Your To-do List to Properly Prioritize:

  • Make a master list of all your action items.
  • Create a document with three columns: “Do”, “Delegate”, “Drop”.
  • Assign each task to a column and ask yourself three questions: Do you absolutely need to do this task this week? Can you delegate it to someone else? Can you drop it all together? (Considering dropping items that have been on the list for more than a month. They may no longer be priorities.) Don’t confuse hard choices with no choices.
  • Enjoy more mental energy as you focus only on high-priority items.

2. Chunk Your Calendar for Better Time Management:

  • Schedule meetings with yourself in 30-120 minute increments to tackle items in your “Do” column. Treat these meetings as sacred. If you have a shared calendar, mark your meetings as “do not schedule”.
  • Be realistic: we tend to underestimate how long it takes to complete a task, so buffer in extra time. (If you think something will take a half hour, schedule an hour.)
  • Schedule daily lunch and breaks: schedule a 15-minute break after every two-hour time chunk. You’ll return to work feeling re-energized which will allow you to be more efficient.
  • Schedule a recurring one-hour time chunk at the end of each week to chunk your calendar for the following week.

3. Schedule Time to Manage Email:

  • Schedule two or three 30-minute time chunks to manage email each day.
  • Act on each email in the moment: as you open each email, decide to delete, unsubscribe, file, respond now or respond later if the message requires further thought or research.
  • Keep only “respond later” emails in your inbox as a reminder to respond to them during your next email time chunk

4. Leverage Your Energy and Focus to Drive Your Work:

  • Move your body in the morning: before you sit down at your desk, go for a quick walk around the block, do a few simple stretches, or try a more involved workout routine. You may find that exercise gets you out of your head and into your body and allows you to start your day feeling more present and focused.
  • Schedule tasks based on energy: notice what time of day you have the most energy and schedule the most important “Do” item during this energy peak. Once you complete this item, anything else you accomplish feels like gravy.
  • Minimize Distractions: when you’re in a meeting with yourself, treat it as if you’re in a meeting with your boss. Put a sign on your door. Close your email, turn off all notifications, close your web browsers, and silence your phone and texts.

5. Establish Work/Home Boundaries to Maintain Balance in Your Life:

  • Create a start/end of workday ritual: before you open your computer in the morning, do something quick, easy and consistent to signify the start of your workday. Light a candle, take ten deep breathes or look out the window. After closing your computer at the end of the workday, repeat the same activity to signify the end of the workday.
  • Commit to a bedtime routine: lay out your work/exercise clothes for the next morning, charge your devices in a room that’s not your bedroom (buy an inexpensive alarm clock, if needed), brush teeth/wash face, read, journal or listen to relaxing music.

6. Create Personal Accountability to Measure Success and Stay on Track:

  • Be consistent for 21-days to create a new positive habit: take stock each week and assess which of these new practices work for you and which need tweaking. Adjust as needed.
  • Enroll a friend, family member or coach to offer you support and help hold you accountable along the way.
  • Be kind to yourself: appreciate what you’re doing well, recognize why you want to make changes and remember that these are strange, difficult and scary times. You’re doing better than you think.

COVID, remote work fatigue

Feeling Stressed/Burnt-Out? Explore Your Work Options & Make a Plan

Hello Friends,

I want to share a CNBC article in which I was featured talking about parental stress and navigating careers and distance learning through COVID. Though the story focuses on working parents, the advice is meant for anyone feeling burnt-out and considering reduced hours or a leave of absence. I hope you find it helpful!

Take care of yourselves,


Some parents are considering reduced hours or a leave of absence to care for kids this fall – here’s how to prepare

Published Fri, Aug 21, 2020
By Megan Leonhardt, CNBC

Millions of children around the country are starting school from the comfort of their homes, rather than in a classroom. And that reality has many parents considering drastic measures to ensure they can support their children at home this fall.

About 22% of parents are considering reducing their hours if their children need to stay home at least part of the time, according to a recent poll. Another 9% say they will be forced to quit their jobs.

“The stress that parents are facing is really unimaginable and unprecedented,” says Hilary Berger, a psychologist who works with parents. That’s particularly true of mothers, Berger adds. Already, data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that millennial mothers (born between 1981 and 1996) were three times as likely as fathers to be unemployed in July because they were unable to access childcare.

But some parents may not have a lot of options. For those who are contemplating stepping away from their jobs in order to take care of their children this fall, it helps to at least be prepared, experts tell CNBC Make It. Here are five ways to help make the process smoother and mitigate the impact on your career.

1. Make sure taking time away from your job really is the ‘last resort’.

“If you’re fortunate enough to have a job — try reducing your hours, if possible, and keep working,” says, Emma Johnson, author of “The Kickass Single Mom.” Mothers typically forgo their careers more than men who are fathers. “Let this ‘martyr mother’ thing go because it will kill your family,” she says.

Many times, mothers make the decision to step back from the workforce because they’re taught to believe that sacrificing is good for their kids. But that’s not always the case, Johnson says. “Kids need a house. They need you not to be stressed out about paying the bills.”

Don’t be quick to declare that you have no options available. First, do some digging into what resources may be at your fingertips, Johnson says. “It’s an opportunity to reconsider all of our assumptions about the decisions we think we have to make,” she adds.

Take another look at what family and friends may be available to help. If you’re a single parent, maybe rethink visitations or how each parent splits their time. And explore what other parents in your area are doing — there may be opportunities to co-parent or share care or schooling responsibilities.

Also check with local organizations and programs to see what childcare and learning opportunities they may be putting together this fall. Several school systems have recently announced they will provide childcare for days where students are scheduled for remote learning.

2. Have a plan in place

If you’ve done the legwork, crunched the numbers and determined that taking a leave of absence or reducing your work hours is the right choice for you, the next step is to create a game plan.

“The biggest mistake that employees make when taking time off work is that folks go to their bosses before educating themselves on all the benefits that may be available,” says Amber Rosenberg, a career coach with 20 years of experience who focuses on coaching working mothers.

“First, understand what laws and policies apply to you,” says Rosenberg. In March, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which gives working parents who work for a company with less than 500 employees paid time off if they cannot secure childcare. Parents who work for eligible employers for at least 30 days can get up to 10 weeks of time off at two-thirds of their normal pay.

About 35% of large employers with more than 10,000 employees are offering paid caregiver leave, according to a report from the Business Group on Health. If your employer isn’t eligible and isn’t offering any paid time off, you may consider taking time through the Family and Medical Leave Act, which provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid, but job-protected, leave.

Folks should look into any policies their company has as well, Rosenberg recommends. These can usually be found in a company’s employee handbook. At some companies, taking a leave of absence may mean that you’re still eligible for benefits, including health insurance, while you might not be as a part-time worker. If you’re not sure exactly how the policies work, set up time to have a confidential conversation with your HR manager.

You may find that you have more options than you think. In many cases, you may be able to create a new job structure beyond the typical 9 to 5, Monday through Friday role. “Explore potential job share options, reduced responsibilities or even a project-based or consulting arrangement,” Rosenberg says.

3. Stress your value to the company

Prepare for the conversation with your manager in advance, Rosenberg says. Clearly explain why you need to take the leave and, if you are planning to take advantage of specific laws or company policies, note that you need time off because of a lack of childcare or other pandemic related issues/burn-out.

Make sure you stress that the time off could be valuable to your company as well. “Write down specific examples of how the leave of absence will benefit your employer,” she says. Some examples of this could be that your leave may temporarily save the company money on their payroll expenses or help reduce the cost of hiring your replacement. Or maybe by giving you a leave of absence, rather than letting you go, the company can more easily retain customer relationships in the long run.

Rosenberg says that folks should, if possible, be clear about how long their leave will last and when it will start. That said, employers should be understanding if it’s a bit vague because the duration of leave may rely on a number of factors outside employees’ control or ability to plan, Rosenberg adds.

Folks who are approaching their employers for a leave should also put together a one-page outline that includes, at minimum, the following:

  • How you will transition out before you leave
  • How your responsibilities will be managed during your absence
  • How you will transition back after your leave is up

Having a thorough plan shows “you’re really serious about returning and that you want to set the team up for success and that you’ve really thought this through,” Rosenberg says.

4. Set clear boundaries

When having the conversation with your supervisor, it’s important to communicate not only that you will be back, but that you will be current and ready to pick up where you left off, Berger says. It may even make sense to propose or talk through a month-by-month plan of contact.

“If you’re willing to set aside a designated time of the week or the day where you can respond to emails or calls, that’s up to you,” Rosenberg says. “The key is being really clear in how you communicate that up front and make it work for you/your family and staying firm in those boundaries when you’re gone.”

5. Check in with your emotional and psychological health

For parents who do end up stepping away from work this fall, it’s important to check in on your mental health throughout the process, Berger says. “The psychological impacts of loss of identity for a mom who has been working outside the home can be dramatic,” she says.

Berger urges parents to be mindful about the ways in which they can stay relevant, feel like their best selves and be productive even while they are at home with their children. Maybe that’s taking time to actively stay involved with your network or perhaps it’s learning a new skill.

distance learning, parental stress, work options

Crisis as a Catalyst for Change

Crisis as a Catalyst for Change

Many of us are still reeling from feelings of anger, fear and injustice at the recent killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer – and the ongoing unjust killing of people of color. This is a difficult time on many levels. It is also an opportunity to reflect, get grounded and take action to affect both inner (personal) and outer (societal) change

Here are a few ideas to support you wherever you are along this path:

Feel Your Feelings

Feeling anger, rage, fear, disappointment, sadness, despair? These are all natural and understandable reactions. Allow yourself to slow down and simply notice when an emotion starts to take form. Stop, name the feeling, and locate where you feel it in your body. What does it feel like? What’s the temperature? What’s the color or weight of that emotion? Allow yourself to feel whatever you feel – without judgement. Try to witness your emotion from an outside perspective and remind yourself that you are not your feelings. Notice as your emotions start to move through you like clouds travel through the sky.

Ground Yourself

Stand up, close your eyes and feel your feet firmly planted on the ground below you. Take long, slow deep breathes in through your nose and out through your mouth. Allow your exhale to travel all the way down from your head, through your face, neck, shoulders, arms, chest, abdomen, pelvis, thighs, knees, shins and feet. Each time you exhale, send that breathe all the way down into your feet. Visualize your body as a tree. With each exhale, push your breath all the way through your trunk, firmly into your feet and into the ground below you – burrowing roots underneath the ground. With each exhale, these roots become longer, thicker and more firmly rooted in the ground below you. Do this for as long as it takes to get out of your head and into your body. Slowly open your eyes and notice what feels different.

Find Ways to Serve

Helping others can help you feel better. There is a plethora of current available volunteer opportunities related to our social justice and health pandemic. Research organizations that support your values. Make a list of your natural born strengths and your learned professional skills and find tasks/roles that leverage these strengths and skills.

Make Your Voice Heard

Vote as if your life depends on it. It does. Attend rallies. Submit opinion pieces or letters to the editor to your local newspapers. Send emails/make phone calls to your local Mayor, Governor, Senator, Assembly Members AND their staff. Post your requests on social media and tag your local/state elected officials.

Donate to Social Justice Organizations

Find organizations that align with your values and make a monetary contribution – or several. Even small donations can make a big difference and will help you to feel empowered.

Learn How to Have the Hard Conversations – And Have Them

We aren’t born knowing how to have conversations about power, greed, injustice, discrimination and racism. It’s especially hard to talk about this with friends or family members. Educate yourself on how to communicate effectively. Read books and articles; sign-up for lessons, training, workshops and/or coaching. Learn and practice powerful non-defensive communication so you can make your point without coming across as defensive or putting others on the defense. Learn how to set strong boundaries so you can ask to be heard; push-back without feeling guilty; and buffer yourself from what other people say, do or how they react.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Take Bold Action

Crisis is a catalyst for change. This is an invitation for us to wake up, examine our lives and figure out what is most important to us and what we truly want– based on our values and priorities. Are there small or big changes in your life, relationships or career that are begging to be examined? This is an opportunity to push past our comfort zones, redefine our vision and take intentional, bold action.

In summary, powerful emotions, including anger, fear and injustice, can be harnessed into positive energy that generates hope; feeds our dreams; sparks optimism; and accesses our courage to make important changes.

crisis as catalyst

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