Be the Boss of You


The biggest Boss Move I ever made in my career nearly cost me my dream job.

I was 32 years old and it was the dot-com era. All around me, I saw white men in their 20s being promoted to VP level or higher. I made up my mind that I was going to be a VP, too. So, without having any conversations with my superiors, I sent out an internal memo, giving myself a new title while working for a national radio network in Washington, D.C. I know, right?!

I got an earful for it, and rightly so, but I officially was in the hunt. I gave myself permission to be ambitious and took control of my career. Accessing my grit, I pitched a plan to remake the network’s brand image, which made some people uncomfortable. I took a lot of hits, but in the end, I got that promotion and haven’t held a position below the VP level since then.

Like a lot of women, though, I felt I needed to prove I was worthy of that promotion. So I ran on jet fuel. I doubled down on everything. I leaned in. That’s what we’re told to do. When I look back, I now realize what the lean-in culture fails to consider fully is, “At what cost?”

For most of my career, I have pushed myself beyond my limits. I didn’t set boundaries professionally because I was motivated and inspired to win. But I’d come to regret not setting personal boundaries. I would work until I got sick—literally sick. Illness became my permission to take a day off.

Dealing with cancer and divorce at the same time forced me to rethink that approach. My career was flourishing, but I was struggling emotionally and physically. Through my journey, I learned how to activate my superpower, grace, what I define as “love in action toward self.” I don’t wear exhaustion like a badge of honor anymore. I’m the boss and I get to decide how I live out my success.

My health scare was a wake-up call. In another Boss Move—this time with self-care in mind—I once took off an entire month, not because I was in crisis, but because I’d been traveling a lot internationally during that trying time. I knew I needed to focus on my mind, body, and spirit. I hired a personal trainer, went to physical therapy, and slept.

Here’s the thing: It’s not enough to boss up on your ambition. You have to also be the boss of taking care of yourself. Don’t wait for someone else to see greatness in you before you decide to do great things. And certainly don’t wait for permission—or worse yet, a crisis—to take care of your emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. Make 2019 the Year of Being the Boss of You. Stand up with confidence. Advocate for your ambitions, or for rest, or for whatever you need. Be the boss and define what success looks like for you!

To learn from the best Boss Ladies in the business on how to boss up, click here to register now for Grit + Grace Day.

The Gift of Grace

Hi there and happy holidays! 

It’s the season of giving, and I have the perfect gift for you to give yourself. It’s grace – self-love in action. Good one, right? I asked my dear friend Kalli Kerr, psychotherapist and women’s leadership expert, to share some ways you can do just that. I’ve created this Take a Moment column as a safe space to provide encouragement for you to practice self-care, self-compassion and self-acceptance, and make yourself a priority. And I can’t think of a better time to kick it off than the holidays with some expert advice on how to practice grace with yourself. 

Now, sit back, relax and let’s Take a Moment with Kalli.

Gracefully Yours,


Gift Yourself Grace
By Kalli Kerr

Ahhh, the holidays. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? Or is it? Sure, the season is full of fun parties, great food, champagne toasts, gifting and family gatherings. That sounds like fun, in theory. But in practice, studies show this is also the time of year when some feel the saddest and prone to depression.

Send grace to the rescue! During the holidays, don’t forget to put the oxygen mask on yourself first. Here are a few tips to help you get through some of the season’s most triggering, uncomfortable situations:

Family. Holiday reunions are often a time to reconnect with loved ones. But, hey, no family is perfect. While this can be a special time it can also be stressful. We tell ourselves that everyone is supposed to get along perfectly. But under holiday stress, unhealed family conflicts can be exacerbated, so be mindful of your trigger points. An overly critical parent, a sibling rivalry, or a less than ideal relationship with a child can heighten anxiety and ‘tis the season to be jolly won’t change that. 

Politics. Especially in the current climate, politics can be a source of contention. In these situations, it’s important to set appropriate expectations about political debates to avoid full-blown arguments. Remember, any friction you may feel during the holidays is no one person’s fault. Grace allows for you to respect differences of opinion and know when to walk away from a stressful situation.

Significant others. We want to love and be loved by our partners no matter what. However, stress can affect our romantic partnerships. Knowing your own pressure points (working too much, not getting enough sleep, or have you even had lunch today?) can ward off feelings of provocation. And, knowing the stress points in your relationship dynamics can help you proactively mitigate the pitfalls. Do the two of you tend not to feel as connected in a particular situation? Do certain events create conflict? When handled with mutual respect and a desire to understand one another, conflict can lead to heightened intimacy, but timing is everything. Try not to enter a discussion with feelings of aggression, especially if you’re tired or stressed.

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. Listen to yourself. Listen to your inner voice. Don’t “it doesn’t really matter” it away. Listen, listen, listen. Respect where you are and be willing to walk away from a negative situation. The holidays ask much of us, but we’re only human. There may come a time when you feel stronger. Resist the temptation to measure yourself against the ideal you rather than who you are. The more you respect your inner world, the better you will be able to react to your outer world and make the most of the holidays (or any days) for you. Keywords -- for you!

Happy holidays!


You can learn more about Kalli Kerr and follow her on LinkedIn at