Coronavirus: Webinar, Career and Leadership Links and Other Updates

Like many of my friends and colleagues and indeed many of us across the globe, among the changes in my life lately are a house full of people all day every day, including two teenagers working on remote learning through their schools. They have been pretty good about managing their emotions around the need to be stuck at home and have even found some time to join in FaceTime calls with their grandparents. (Yep, that’s our dog Carter in the bottom right hand corner!)

Coronavirus: In Sickness and In Health

As I’m reading the headlines at least four or five times a day – trying not to look more than that and get sucked into the never-ending void of the COVID-19 news cycle – I have also been fighting off a stomach bug since Monday. Normally I can take that into stride, but I must admit the fact my symptoms were a potential warning sign for coronavirus gave me some pause, even as I have been “sheltering at home” for over almost twenty days.

Since I live in Connecticut, which is one of the hotspots in the U.S., the choices are rather limited: If you feel well, stay home. If you don’t feel well, stay home. Don’t go to the hospital or otherwise put a strain on medical resources unless you absolutely need it, for your own safety and because you just might save a life. So that’s what I did. 

Thankfully, I’m on the mend!

Like many of my friends and colleagues and indeed many of us across the globe, among the changes in my life lately are a house full of people all day every day, including two teenagers working on remote learning through their schools. They have been pretty good about managing their emotions around the need to be stuck at home and have even found some time to join in FaceTime calls with their grandparents. (Yep, that’s our dog Carter in the bottom right hand corner!)


Drawing has emerged as a new interest in my daughter’s life, including graphic representations like the one above she made of a “happy coronavirus.” (Irony notwithstanding, the virus is alive, well and probably pretty pleased with itself, if we can personify it for just a moment.) She has also turned our living room into an art studio as of late, and we are waiting for a pack of easels from Amazon to arrive so we can host a homebound family painting night this weekend, which is cheaper than a night at a paint bar and hopefully just as fun if not more. In the meantime, she has tuned into a few Bob Ross videos to expand her range in acrylics.


It’s an interesting segue into a topic I discussed on a webinar this week (see directly below) about finding your interests and strengths as part of building out your career, especially in the context of a job search or career change. Many of us are finding that we are rising to the occasion and discovering strengths we did not know we had, as our normal routine is interrupted and we are searching for creative solutions to novel problems that face us in the course of our “new normal.”

For my part, I am finding that certain tasks I found challenging before, particularly because they did not feel rewarding, hold my interest much longer than they had a few short weeks ago. Housework is certainly among these! Holding down the fort takes on a whole new meaning in the midst of a pandemic. Keeping order means our mental health stays intact, which in turn helps all of us able to do our part in flattening the curve.

Leading Your Job Search Through a Career Change Webinar

Stomach pains this week notwithstanding, I joined as a co-presenter of Leading Your Job Search Through a Career Change, with Linda Harvey, for the University of Chicago’s Alumni Association on Tuesday afternoon and am happy to share the video here.

Linda takes you through key steps to conceptualizing and planning a career change – and how that might be affected by this brave new environment – and I follow up with advice about how to brand around the change and facilitate your transition.

COVID-19 Leadership and Career Resources

I have started putting together curated resources on crisis and career leadership through the coronavirus pandemic, including a section with specific links for attorneys. Click here or go to to access them. I hope they are helpful, and I will be adding to the list from time to time as I come across new resources.

5th Anniversary

Wednesday, April 1, was the fifth anniversary of Segal Coaching! It’s hard to believe that five years have passed. As excited as I am for this milestone, it pales in comparison to all of the chaos of recent weeks. Like many other special occasions that are being postponed, I guess I’ll be celebrating this anniversary sometime in the summer or fall. 

Cupcakes with sparklers

Segal 24/7: LinkedIn Profiles

If you are polishing up your LinkedIn profile – whether it’s for a new job, promotion, recruitment of new candidates or to showcase your talents and increase job security in a current role – feel free to sign on to my free class on Personal Branding: The LinkedIn Checklist.

2020 Article Series

I have decided to postpone future articles in my Board of Directors and Yoga Mantra series until the burdens of coronavirus are lifted, so I can free up time for other projects to help those who are struggling to find their footing during the pandemic. 

I do plan to continue my Modern Career Warrior interviews during this time, but I’ll be shifting my focus to those in the medical field and other “essential workers” and may change the format and length in the coming months to account for their limited time available.

April’s MCW is Francisco Lasta, an occupational therapist whose career spans the domains of medicine, design and technology, with a healthy dose of emotional intelligence. Among other projects, Francisco consults on artificial intelligence, virtual reality and telehealth, and his ideas and innovations are directly relevant for the global health crisis we are currently facing.

I am very excited to (finally finish editing – delay all mine! – and) post my interview with Francisco soon, hopefully by the end of next week, in honor of his dedication to the field and in time for OT Month.

Copyright Francisco Lasta

That’s my Monthly Redux on this beautiful (and scary) day of April 3, 2020. I’m off to host a Zoom happy hour shortly with a few friends, so it’s time to sign off the computer for the afternoon. Stay safe and support each other where and whenever you can!

Anne Marie Segal is an executive coach and writer based in Connecticut. To learn more about her, you can visit her About page or LinkedIn profile.

Image credits: Top two photos © 2020 Anne Marie Segal. All rights reserved. Artwork in top photo © 2020 Tamara Segal. All rights reserved. Video courtesy the Alumni Association of the University of Chicago. Birthday image sourced from Adobe Images. Bottom photo © 2020 Francisco Lasta. All rights reserved.

Yoga Mantra: Let Your Eyes Close (Yes, Really, Even Now)

What do this pandemic and my current mantra of closing your eyes teach us about true freedom, while so many of us are suffering on the front lines or sheltering in place? And how does that relate to what we do in our careers?

As my frequent readers know, I launched a new series this year that ties my yoga practice to my work as a career coach.

I had planned to go through the arc of a yoga class, with a new post each month that highlights one of the instructions yoga teachers often give their students. These simple phrases can serve as mantras for our daily lives, including our careers.

January – Set an Intention

February – Take a Comfortable Seat

March (this post) – Let Your Eyes Close

When I conceived of the Yoga Mantra series back in December 2019, none of us imagined we would be facing a global pandemic such as COVID-19. 

At the time, I felt as though I was taking a bold step by expanding my highly practical, hands-on coaching approach to add (what could be seen as) a less obvious angle. Would my clients and greater audience – who are mostly attorneys and other highly trained, process-oriented and results-driven professionals – find a discussion of yoga to be at odds with my commitment to focusing on steps they can take right now to get the greatest return on their efforts?

After all, yoga (like meditation, T’ai Chi, reiki and other healing practices and arts) is not intended to bring immediate results. It can, in fact, transform our lives from the very first time we try it. Yet its effects are more often the result of accumulated effort. Or rather, accumulated periods of time in which we release ourselves from effort, trying and striving. Periods of time in which we allow ourselves not to calculate the distance from Point A to Point B but instead to live the journey.

So much has changed in the world since December 2019 (three months ago) or even February 2020 (one month ago). In my case, as an all-too-common example, our local public schools have been closed and converted to distance learning since March 13, 2020. And while the school district has given us estimated dates of reopening (currently April 20, 2020), like other schools cross the U.S. and beyond, they may remain closed until the next academic school year. This is simply one change among countless to our daily lives.

On a global scale, our ability to predict what will happen next – indeed, to live a “predictable life” – has greatly diminished. At the same time, our need for adaptive skills in our careers and general lives has greatly increased:

– facing the unknown,

– rising to the occasion,

– making thoughtful decisions, and

– persevering (ideally thriving) with limited information and constantly changing circumstances.

These needs harken back to the reason I originally launched this series. I have found that too often, people want quick fixes, an “answer” to solve the problem de jour (i.e., urgent matter of the day). Yet changes that actually move the needle in our lives cannot be rushed. A quick flash of insight can create a transformative moment, but the transformation itself (almost invariably) requires a longer period of implementation to take root and create the greatest effect.

Let me give you an example. Say that you move to a bigger apartment so you can have more space. In the first few days or weeks, you might arrive with all of your furniture and boxes, unpack and feel the glory and heightened freedom of your new surroundings. You may feel a new “leash on life” and relish a home environment where so many more things are possible. But if you (quickly or over time) start to fill that space so that it is just as crowded as your old one, the realm of possibility diminishes. You will again feel constricted and constrained.

The same thing happens in the rest of our lives, including in our careers. If you move to a bigger or different role with more space to create impact in or through an organization, but you quickly crowd your days with non-impactful meetings and activities, your new position can feel just as constrained and ineffectual as the old one.

So what do this pandemic and my current mantra of closing your eyes teach us about true freedom, while so many of us are suffering on the front lines or sheltering in place? And how does that relate to what we do on the career front?

First, we cannot control outcomes. We can do our best to create what we seek, but we ultimately can either make our peace with our lack of control or continue to resist (and increase our suffering as a result). Some of us are unemployed or underemployed. Others are “overemployed,” i.e., burdened with the herculean responsibility of strategizing, leading, fixing, triaging, foraging, vetting or otherwise holding the fort during this unprecedented time.

In either case, we can only sit with what is true at this moment. That’s all we have.

Second, turning inward is a healing act. When we close our eyes or soften our gaze, we are not shutting out the world over the longer term. We are restoring our strength so that we can go back out into it. While the world needs more heroes, those heroes need to give themselves permission to recharge. In yoga classes, if you listen closely, you may notice that instructors often suggest you “let your eyes close” rather than “close your eyes.” The first is an act of allowing yourself (to do something), not an act of will.

Allow yourself to turn inward – even if it’s only a few moments of an hour or a few minutes of the day – without worry that you are missing something or failing to complete an urgent task. Changes and tasks will always be waiting for you, and your ability to rise to those changes and tasks will be greatly enhanced if you periodically take time to refresh and center yourself.

Third, our wish not to be vulnerable is illusory. 

I took this self-portrait (eyes closed, feeling vulnerable) in my office a couple of months ago, well before coronavirus dominated our daily lives and our 24/7 news cycle. As I envisioned the post I might write to accompany it, I planned to take some time to explain vulnerability and the macho (toxic) culture of many work environments that seek to stamp out any whiff of weakness.

Yet this week, as senior leaders of across all ranks and ranges of organizations took work-from-home (WFH) videoconference calls with anxious children and barking dogs in the background – and came together over it, rather than judging their colleagues and counterparts for a lack of “discretion” – our collective take on vulnerability has been momentarily suspended. Being vulnerable is a trait we all share, and we can clearly see that through this pandemic. Families are to be protected, not silenced. Lives are to be valued, not treated as something to be fit between more pressing obligations. Vulnerability is something to be recognized as part and parcel of the human condition, as it cannot be avoided.

Anne Marie Segal - eyes closed

Fourth, for a change to last, it must continue to represent our values. Many of us have learned this in other contexts, through other challenges, but what lasting individual and collective change we will carry forward from COVID-19 remains to be seen.

We know that life as usual has been irrevocably altered, but whether those alterations bring us to a better place or simply call for heightened vigilance is a matter of our long-term values. Again, by periodically softening our gaze to the whirlwind of activity, news, adversity and (in some heartbreaking cases) trauma, we can start and continue to ask ourselves where we can find meaning, experience large or small joys of the present moment and build bridges to the direction we are called (both personally and professionally) to follow next.

Be safe. Support those on the front lines. And, from time to time, close your eyes.

Anne Marie Segal is an executive coach and writer based in Connecticut, not far from New York City, and is sheltering at home with her family (dog, cat, husband and two teenagers who are remarkably committed to flattening the curve).

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