Karin’s Leadership Articles

I had lunch with some old friends– the kind you miss deeply without even knowing. I was once their leader. Now, I feel powerless to help. I am grateful for the heavy, important hearts entwined in conversation.

Their frustrated hearts continue to survive the downsizing. Other friends have not made out as well. Perhaps,
So much to do, with much less. Limited support. Intense demands. Stress, fear and hope remain.

“Why do you stay?,” I asked the obvious question. I felt an immediate urge to send them my “courage” posts. But it wasn’t just fear they were facing.

Hopeful and Complicated

Their hearts pumped reality. Perhaps yours does too. I understand.

  • “I’m so stressed”
  • “The hours are long”
  • “I am very good at this.”
  • “This is not my passion”
  • “I really need the money”
  • “I shouldn’t let him treat me that way”
  • “I find meaning in this”
  • “My people need me”
  • “I need insurance”
  • “The alternative might be worse”
  • “I have so much invested”

The yellow brick road has bad signage. You could go this way or that way. Dangers and rainbows are everywhere.

When Your Heart Pumps Confusion

My heart feels confused and disappointed. The road should have been brighter for these eager hearts and minds. Lolly Daskal offers some vital advice for disappointed hearts. All are helpful– my favorite is the concept of “Remain”

“Stay congruent with your values. Identify your beliefs and your core convictions, and don’t let yourself get caught up in someone else’s shadows. Maybe you were disappointed because your core convictions were crossed, remain steady within yourself”

When the pressure is tough, keep perspective. You have choices about how to be, how to behave, and what to begin. You can’t control how others are reacting, but you can choose your response to them. Like the team on the yellow brick road, your journey offers many choices. Stay at the center of them.

  • lay down in a poppy field (step back from the situation)
  • involve your inner scarecrow (make some lists of pros and cons)
  • involve others on your journey (find companionship, coaching and conversation)
  • beware of false wizards (no one else has your answer)
  • try on new clothes (take a day off, and hang out with your dream job)
  • bring a bucket of water (be prepared to douse the naysayers)
  • ?

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders resolve workplace ambiguity and chaos, so that they can drive innovation, productivity and revenue without burning out employees. She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul and a hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.


  1. Eric Dingler (@EricDingler)

    My favorite suggestion is Try On New Clothes. Hanging out with that dream job, getting a new perspective, taking the time to ask (and answer) the tough questions…these are some of the best ways to get a handle on your reality. Especially if your reality isn’t what you want it to be. I find myself more and more recommending Jon Acuff’s book Quitter to people in a career struggle. It gives advice I didn’t expect.

    • Matt McWilliams (@MattMcWilliams2)

      Same here Eric. It seems like every day, I refer to that book for myself or for others.

      Going on a mini-vacation, taking a day to go shopping (yes, shopping) with my wife, taking an hour to play our daughter. They aren’t escapism. They are stepping back to come back to a situation fresh. I’m not pretending a problem doesn’t exist. I am, however, choosing not to act on it for a period of time and not dwelling on it.

      • letsgrowleaders

        Matt, ahh, yes the power of a well-timed break. It’s amazing what insights can come from stepping back. Thanks for sharing!

    • letsgrowleaders

      Eric, thanks. Several people keep mentioning that book to me. I am going to have to read it. My husband (a teacher) spent the night at a firehouse, now he is a firefighter.

  2. Dallas Tye

    “How do you choose on a disappointing road?”

    You can’t, or at best, you shouldn’t.

    I think it’s normal to be disappointed in the situation you described for your friends, however they mustn’t make any important choices while ‘disappointed’.

    Disappointment is a negative emotion, and therefore impacts our ability to think clearly and make sound decisions. It’s not a conscious choice to inhibit our cognitive ability of course, its an unconscious, hard wired reaction that has kept us safe since the stone age.

    Millennia later, we still have the same hardware as stone age man, however our operating environment has changed considerably and many of us have mal-adapted to the new fast paced world with feelings of overwhelm considered the norm. Instead of our systems caring for us, they unwittingly cause us to be victims of our own thoughts.

    When things happen (like the situation you describe) for some it can be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

    As I type, I’m re-rendering a short video I made on the above cognitive processes that I’ll be happy to share with you. It’s nothing fancy, but (I think) it is fundamental, and was made in response to another blog post in the org I just left on ‘attributes of greatness’.

    It will explain why we can’t think clearly when we are experiencing a negative emotion.
    If we understand this, the next step is obvious, don’t make important decisions until you can take a few moments to a few days (depending on the situation), to adjust, calm, and then respond or decide.

    Karin, you can then help your friends because you “know the reflective road of the marathon runner”. Yes I stole that bit from your bio,, but what I mean is that you can help by encouraging in them ways to find clarity, even if its for just a few moments. ‘Brain speed’ is amazing, and often a few moments of clarity is all we need.

    This is true care, without risking the burden of over-care.

    ( and I’ll be back with a link tomorrow by the look of this rendering speed)

    • Leah Boulden

      Hello- I think that I am one of these friends that Karin was kind enough to speak to, and I agree that it is best for me to have a cool down period before I make any decisions. I think that spending time on information interviews, which I learned about from Karin, may be a safe first

      • letsgrowleaders

        Leah, thanks so much for your comment. So great to see you here. Please let me know how your information interviews go. I do plan to write a more detailed how-to post on that as well. Namaste.

      • Dallas Tye

        Here’s’ the video link I spoke about earlier. It’s pretty rough, done in one take, no script, and was originally in response to another blog on ‘attributes of greatness’. The attribute being discussed at that time was ‘having the right mindset’, and barriers to it.

        My intent in sharing here was to say hey, it’s perfectly normal to not be able to think clearly under pressure, and especially in times of change.

        A lot of the time, we get stressed, then dive in and look for solutions. They don’t come as fast as we had hoped, we get more stressed, and then we blame ourselves for not performing or being smart enough to think our way out of our situation.

        It can be demoralising, scary, and make us feel unwell. It’s a downward spiral if left un-checked.

        The video simply shows us why this can happen to people like us who just a few hours, minutes, seconds ago were pretty clever.

        That’s why pilots have emergency check-lists, and fire fighters are ‘drilled’ in training. We have always known we don’t think clearly under pressure, but it wasn’t until 1995 we understood why that was.

        So,,, armed with this simple explanation we will know WHY we need to make sure we use a reverse process. FIRST use strategies to calm or focus, and THEN look for answers and solutions.

        If it doesn’t come, leave it, and come back to it a little later. It may be you need several steps towards a new perspective or insight on an issue.

        I hope that’s helpful.


        • letsgrowleaders

          Dallas, GREAT context. thanks so much!

    • letsgrowleaders

      Wow, Dallas, you are really paying attention 😉 Thanks so much for your indepth response. Is your video on youtube or other shareable place, if so please always feel free to include a link to anything you have written or produced… that’s how we will all grow (I welcome links from everyone in our community on relative topics).

      I totally agree with you that making big decisions under stress is a really bad idea. Thanks so much for adding that. There are also circumstances where the stress is prolongued… no immediate danger…. just a tough scene. As you say, reflection is so vital.

      I am really grateful for all you are adding. Thanks so much.

  3. skipprichard1

    Love this. (And nice use of your son’s picture as Tin Man). The advice is timeless. I particularly like the “bring a bucket of water.”

    • letsgrowleaders

      Skip, thanks so much. Great to see you here. You never know when you might meet a witch along your journey 😉

  4. Anonymous

    Great video, Dallas, and I’m impressed that you’ve made this simple enough to show my teenagers! The data resulting from scientific research on the effects of meditation shows that we can indeed train the mind, and understanding some of the basic pathways (that you’ve shown here) is a great way to get people motivated to begin their training. Thanks so much for sharing your work.

    • Dallas Tye

      I’m glad it may be helpful to you, and it makes me happy you have connected it to home. I’ve used this explanation in a program for families of the client’s staff with great effect.

      Consider discussing how they can apply what they learn from you during test taking at school. Sometimes kids can be quite competitive, so knowing how to not shut down their smart thinking during class or a test may appeal to them and answer the WIFM question.

      I have one who is currently quite competitive at the moment and this works for her. Only wish she’d realize I know some other things too 😉

      • letsgrowleaders

        Dallas and all. I am so delighted about the community of conversation forming here. Makes my job much easier. This is my dream for this blog. A community of leaders growing leaders. Namaste.

  5. ddos vps

    Just want to say your article is as astounding. The clearness to your put up is simply excellent and i can assume you’re knowledgeable in this subject. Fine along with your permission let me to seize your RSS feed to stay updated with coming near near post. Thanks 1,000,000 and please continue the enjoyable work.|

    • letsgrowleaders

      Ddos, thank you so much! I look forward to your subscribing and joining the conversation in future posts.

  6. einlagensicherung bank of scotland

    I was suggested this web site by my cousin.
    I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my trouble.
    You are amazing! Thanks!

    • letsgrowleaders

      Thanks so much for your comment. There are so many on this journey. I hope you will come back and join the community… many kindred, thinking spirits here.

Virtual Leadership Training Programs


Join the Let’s Grow Leaders community for free weekly leadership
insights, tools, and strategies you can use right away!

Where in the World are
Karin & David?

Other Related Posts