Tag Archives: Herminia Ibarra

Wondering About Support

“How do you do it?” Claire asked through exhausted eyes. Her usual all-put-together self, the spirited one that donned mini-dresses and fringe halter tops, was absent. Missing too was her energetic smile, her hopeful demeanor. In its place sat a woman who was perched in a chair at what looked like an uncomfortable angle. She asked me to sit close to her. I held her hand. Yes, I would be the one who got to go home that day. She would stay in this place, wondering. Continue reading

People: transition’s holy grail

“I think I don’t have the right reference groups for what I want to be doing in my life,” shared a Focus Group participant.  We were discussing the support structures necessary to navigate transition.  Another woman shared, “I think people who have been through it before and for me sometimes it’s people who are actually new to me.”   Wow.  On balance these ladies sought new, more objective supporting casts as they made their way through transition.  Best friends.  Mothers.  Siblings.  Many came up short.  Who constitutes your support structure in transition? Continue reading

Transition’s creative barrier…

“Have you started cleaning closets?”  asked a business school classmate of mine immediately after I started my transition.   She shared that another classmate, who had been a high-ranking executive in the financial services industry, did exactly that for two months following her acrimonious departure from an employer.   My friend viewed this activity positively, a cleanse.  Was it?   Is cleanliness or organization an accompaniment to transition? Continue reading

A simple handshake?

“The justices shake each other’s hand. That’s just what they do each time…It just- it’s meaningful, and I’m glad the court does that,” said Sandra Day O’Connor during her interview with NPR’s Terry Gross (‘Out Of Order’ At The Court: O’Connor On Being The First Female Justice, March 5, 2013).  Chief Justice Melville Fuller started this custom in the late 1800’s saying that “it shows that harmony of aims, if not views, is the court’s guiding principle.”  O’Connor concurred.   It introduced a harmony.  Aligned members.  I wonder if a handshake is a metaphor for transition? Continue reading

Alignment and Transition

“It was nice meeting myself again,” stated the twenty-fifth respondent to the Research Jam’s online survey.    This person had served more than ten years in a corporate role before an unexpected job transition caused a new route into independent consulting.   The respondent offered a perspective on the 5th anniversary of this new journey….”the impact on my life (and my family’s life) has been overwhelmingly positive.   I have met dozens of fascinating individuals whom I likely would not have met if my head was still buried at a corporate desk. I have also learned, and continue to learn, a lot about myself.” Continue reading


“Medicine is gray.  It is rarely black or white,” conceded Dr.  Maher Tabba, the  fellowship director at a local teaching hospital.   We were discussing a challenging medical case.  A patient’s diagnosis eluded Tabba and his team.   He sought certainty.   But like so much…..informed instinct combined with knowledge and experience would have to lead the way. Continue reading

Advice: When to embrace vs. ignore?

Last week a dynamic entrepreneur presented her pitch deck to me and a few other advisors.  Her company is a new online service that is sure to up-end a staid fragmented industry.  All through the conversation I hung on the edge of my seat waiting to catch pieces of her original concept.  With virtually no money the company had acquired a few customers (hooray!) and talked with many prospects.    But based on a small sample size of feedback she morphed her plan,  radically.  Finally I asked, “why have you stepped away from your original concept?” Continue reading

Does transition ever end?

I remember hopping into taxi cabs terrified that my broken portuguese wouldn’t suffice in communicating my desired location.  After a few lengthy and circuitous rides around Sao Paulo, Brazil I reverted to taking the local bus.  Much to the horror of my work colleagues I might add.   These taxi escapades introduced me to the colorful ribbons that dangled from the rear view mirrors of almost every cab in the city.   On each read the phrase, BonFim, and it’s originator the Church of Nosso Senhor do BonfimBonfim simply translated means, good end.    If ever there was a wish for transition…. Continue reading

Summer Book Review #24: Smart Women Don’t Retire They Break Free

‘It’s not easy to think about what I really want….for as long as I can remember it’s been achieve, achieve, achieve,’ I said to a friend of mine who joined me for lunch early in my transition.  The concept piqued her interest.  It engaged her.   She’s a financial services entrepreneur.  Her dream had been fashion design.  And yet she found finance and accounting.  A detour?  A revelation? A necessity? Continue reading

Summer Book Review #15: How Will You Measure Your Life?

I’m not a big sports fan.   My 7-year-old son has taught me more about sports and team devotion in the past year than I’ve learned in my entire life.   Last week, before our beloved Boston Celtics lost to the Miami Heat in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, we were listening to an interview with one of the Celtic’s big three, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.   The player responded to a journalist’s question about their approach to upcoming practices and games by saying, ‘we’ll probably watch the tapes.’ Continue reading