Many people busy and in blur at Tokyo’s Shinagawa subway station
Many people busy and in blur at Tokyo’s Shinagawa subway station
Photo by Karen Lau on Unsplash

“Hey, how are you?”

“Phew, so crazy busy. You?”

For many years, I held on to my busy-ness as a badge of honor. I would proudly brandish my calendar that’s packed with double- or triple-booked meetings as a mark of how important I was. Often when people stopped by my desk to talk to me, my snippy glare and body language let them know that I needed to get back to the urgent emails and pings on my laptop rather than take a couple of minutes to connect with a human.

I worked at design firms for 10 years. It was the perfect environment for my restless spirit. Projects were often 3–6 months long and focused on envisioning the future for all the world’s top technology companies. We all had shiny-object syndrome. Ooh, we get to work on a social gaming system! And now switch gears to design a videophone for deaf people! And now a mobile phone OS built around relationships! Woo-hoo, it’s a connected smart home! It was constant pings moving from shiny object to shiny object. I never had the chance to focus and go deep because there was always something new to do—collaborate with talented designers, run sprints with clients, create more future-facing design concepts, and shoot day-in-the-life videos of happy people fiddling with their devices. The constant stimulation and motion meant that I was never bored. My shiny-object-obsessed spirit kept happily bouncing from project to project. …


Photo by Tom Crew on Unsplash

We have all experienced failure, catastrophic events, or instances where things did not go our way. These are all part of the uncontrollables of life and feel even more acute in 2020. These failures will never go away because life is uncontrollable, however, we can learn to live with them and to recover faster from negative events.

I look at Joe Biden as the epitome in recovering from failure. He’s had 77 years of life and some corresponding years of catastrophic events.

He’s struggled with stuttering since boyhood. While he’s not the most crisp and confident speaker—his stutter was noticeable last Friday evening as he spoke to the nation and told everyone to have hope, one day before the news outlets officially called the presidential race. His speaking style is all the more impressive for knowing what he’s overcome. …


Man in distance looking out over golden hued mountains. Contemplative.
Man in distance looking out over golden hued mountains. Contemplative.
Photo by Colton Duke on Unsplash

We often think of leadership as how we show up at work and inspire a team towards a common organization goal. Yet we can show up as leaders in all aspects of our lives. Emotional leadership is how we we work through our emotions — negative, positive and all the nuances in between — and continue to show up as leaders for everyone around us. It helps us understand stress & anxiety and better manage those emotions. It leverages our curiosity, enthusiasm, and confidence to inspire others.

Emotional leadership is especially needed as we navigate through uncertainty and complexity. This year of 2020 has been particularly challenging. We’re facing multiple global crises on an unimaginable level — COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, climate change affecting severe wildfires in the American west, and this week’s U.S. Presidential election. This is a year of change where all the best laid plans get thrust out the window. …


2 hikers walking towards the summit of Mount Everest
2 hikers walking towards the summit of Mount Everest
Photo by Ben Lowe on Unsplash

I work with a lot of high achievers, both from my previous life in tech companies as well as my current coaching clients. I also work with many women and people of color. Imposter syndrome is a familiar concept to many of us.

Imposter syndrome is described on wikipedia as:

a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

Valerie Young in The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It highlights a familiar internal…


Yellow post-it note with a lightbulb sketch pinned to a bulletin board
Yellow post-it note with a lightbulb sketch pinned to a bulletin board
Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash

I have decades of experience giving in-person keynotes, talks, and leading workshops or design sprints. I would always follow the same formula— sketch out an outline of the talk in rough blocks, translate the points into slides, design a gorgeous slide deck, and build out the slides while populating the talk content. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Kei on Unsplash

I sat down to write this article and perhaps because I’ve been so prolific and similar themes keep re-emerging, realized that I’d previously written on The Power of Play. This creative concept keeps re-emerging.

One of the biggest self discoveries I’ve made this year is tuning in to the power of play. More specifically, I’ve integrated it better into my work life rather than solely being playful at home.

I’ve always tended to have a serious persona at work. Others view me as professional, competent, and sometimes outrageous / intense, whether in the ideas I shared or how I show up. I’ve been a professional design leader for 22 years so I would often run design sprints and lead brainstorm sessions. In those sessions, I’ve led people through playful exercises, including one time I had 100+ engineers play a speed-dating game to get to know your colleagues. And I deeply know and teach that mistakes are OK, brainstorming is about generating tons of bad ideas, and how to get the most creativity from everyone through a facilitation process. Yet my persona through all that was quite serious—I was the conductor of all the play and not actively being playful myself. …


Green ivy leaves covering up half of a bleached white wall. Contrasts.
Green ivy leaves covering up half of a bleached white wall. Contrasts.
Photo by Alessandra Caretto on Unsplash

A new client of mine asked me yesterday: “What is a difficult person?” She’d read some of my articles around how to work with difficult people and was curious. This question floored me for minute.

You see, for decades, I had self-identified as a difficult person and wore it as a mark of pride. …


Child looking ahead at rainbow colored stripes on the road leading away from her
Child looking ahead at rainbow colored stripes on the road leading away from her
Photo by Cory Woodward on Unsplash

I am a full-time professional coach. Previously, I was a design leader in technology and had spent 22 years in corporate, both as an individual designer and then leading teams working in startups, design firms, and a variety of large companies including Disney and Facebook. I currently support leaders in tech corporations and startups work through challenges where they feel stuck.

But that’s not the story I want to share today. I’m currently seeking a new coach to support me, and I’m outlining my personal experience with coaches in the past, and the current process I’m going through while seeking a new coach. …


Masked woman outside the Supreme Court holding up a handmade poster showing What would RBG do?
Masked woman outside the Supreme Court holding up a handmade poster showing What would RBG do?
Photo by Flickr user @vpickering

The text came in Friday at 4:56pm from a good friend: “Just saw the news that RBG died today. …


Photo by Stefano Pollio on Unsplash

My favorite movie of all time is The Princess Bride. I first saw it in junior high school and it’s a rare 80s movie that still feels watchable today. I’m drawn to the adventure, the romance as an impressionable teen, the offbeat humor, and the utterly quotable lines.

[spoiler alert]
In the movie, our hero, the Man in Black is trapped, tortured, and ultimately killed in the Pit of Despair while his true love is about to be wed to another.

We’ve all been in the Pit of Despair sometime in our lives. The Pit of Despair is the feeling of utter darkness, shame, and hopelessness with zero possibility or potential of a way out. It’s a fatalistic giving up of agency or any path forward. I was introduced to this topic in a coaching session this week when I was stuck in the pit. …

About

Tutti Taygerly

Leadership coach & champion of difficult people; designer of human experiences; ex-Facebook; surfer, traveller, mom; tuttitaygerly.com

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