Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

A few months ago, a relatively new friend who is also a professional coach offered to introduce me to her boss. We were out bowling with a bunch of friends and chatting about life. She knew that her company, which provides leadership coaching to professionals in the restaurant industry, was on the verge of adding several new coaches to their team, and she wanted to help me get a foot in the door. It was so kind of her to offer, and I was very grateful.

But immediately, a wave of imposter syndrome washed over me. I could feel my eyes involuntarily widen, as I stumbled through my response. I didn’t want to appear ungrateful, but I also didn’t want to blow our friendship by blowing this opportunity. Thankfully, I was able to overcome it and take the meeting.

I started working with her company this month.

My story turned out great, but many people find that imposter syndrome robs them of huge opportunities. I just took an ICF continuing ed course this week in which the teacher shared about a meeting with Bono that she skipped because of imposter syndrome! She totally blew the opportunity to work with him because she felt like such a fraud. (As a huge U2 fan, it pained me to no end hearing her talk about that experience!)

“Imposter syndrome” refers to a psychological phenomenon where individuals doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud or feeling inadequate, despite evidence of their competence. People experiencing imposter syndrome often believe that their success is due to luck or external factors rather than their own abilities, and they constantly worry about being discovered as a “fake” or “imposter.”

Imposter syndrome can affect people in various areas of life, including work, academics, and personal relationships. It is more common among high achievers, perfectionists (I’m looking at you, Enneagram 1s), and individuals who experience pressure to meet high expectations. While anyone can experience imposter syndrome, it is particularly prevalent among women and minority groups, who may face additional societal pressures and stereotypes.

Can you relate to any of the following?

  • Persistent self-doubt. Do you ever feel like you’re not as competent or intelligent as others perceive you to be, despite evidence to the contrary?
  • Fear of failure. Are you ever afraid of making mistakes or failing, because it might confirm your belief that you’re not as capable as others think?
  • Downplaying your success. Do you minimize your achievements or attribute them to external factors, luck, or the work of others, rather than acknowledging your own skills and efforts?
  • Overworking and perfectionism. Do you feel the need to work excessively hard and achieve perfection in order to prove your worth and avoid being exposed as a fraud?
  • Difficulty accepting compliments. Are you prone to dismissing or minimizing praise, or feeling uncomfortable or unworthy when receiving recognition for your accomplishments?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you likely suffer from imposter syndrome.

Overcoming imposter syndrome can be a gradual process, and it’s important to be patient with yourself. But it is possible to do it! Here are some tips for where to start.

First, recognize and challenge negative thoughts. Be aware of the self-doubt that arises and scrutinize its validity. Look for evidence that supports your competence and achievements.

Next, reframe failure. Instead of viewing failure as a confirmation of your inadequacy, reframe it as a learning opportunity and a natural part of growth and development.

Seek support and share your feelings. That ICF course I mentioned earlier was such a blessing, because once the teacher shared so vulnerably about her own history of imposter syndrome, others shared about theirs as well, and pretty soon, we all realized we were not alone! Talk to trusted friends, family, or mentors about your struggles with imposter syndrome. Sharing your experiences can provide validation and support, and others may be able to offer perspective and reassurance.

Set realistic goals and expectations. This is a great way for a coach to help! Work with your coach to acknowledge that perfection is unattainable and set realistic goals for yourself, and be sure to celebrate your progress and small victories along the way.

Practice self-care. Take care of your physical and mental well-being by engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Be sure to prioritize practices such as exercise, adequate sleep, and mindfulness.

Remember that imposter syndrome is a common experience, and you are not alone in feeling this way. With time, self-reflection, and support, you can develop a more realistic and positive perception of your abilities and accomplishments, and next time Opportunity knocks, you’ll be ready to greet her, welcome her in, and confidently move forward in the direction she leads!

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Christy Tennant Krispin (ACC) is a professional coach helping people lead more effectively, work more efficiently, and live more joyfully. Schedule a free consultation with Christy here.

Photo by Rach Teo on Unsplash

P.S.A.: Coaching is Not Counseling

One of the biggest misconceptions people have about professional coaching is that it is synonymous with counseling. In fact, that’s partly why I offer my first meeting at no charge; I want to be sure that there is clarity around what coaching is and isn’t, and that we both understand the expectations of our time together before a client invests any money in the process.

(Another reason is that I want to be sure our personalities are a good match. Trust is vital in coaching, and it’s important to gauge chemistry before going deep in coaching.)

It’s important to understand that coaching is not counseling. Both are personal growth services, and at times, there might be some brief overlap in an individual session. But I emphasize the word “brief.” It’s important that a coach stays in her lane and sticks to coaching.

So what’s the difference? Well, in counseling or therapy, you spend a lot of time processing your past and seeking to discover how you got where you are so that, with the assistance of a mental health professional, you can address personal, social, or psychological problems and difficulties. Counseling is an invaluable service that helps people grow and change, and I am grateful for the time I have spent working with some excellent counselors and therapists over the years.

With coaching, on the other hand, you are looking almost exclusively toward the future, identifying goals and working with a professional on the tangible, practical steps necessary to achieve those goals.

Coaching is very action-oriented, while counseling is often more reflective. Again, you will likely spend some time with your coach doing reflective work, particularly if you are stuck on something and struggling to figure out why. But you won’t stay in that reflective space for long. If you have multiple sessions with the same goals, and you find that you are unable to move forward on the action steps you identified in a session or series of sessions, it might be time to re-evaluate whether coaching is what you need.

Occasionally, when I am working with a client, it becomes evident that what they would benefit from most is counseling. In those cases, I do my best to gently encourage them to pursue that route. If I know my client is also seeing a counselor, I might say something like, “That would be a great topic to address in your next counseling session!” If my client is not seeing a counselor, I might say, “We’re starting to veer into the counseling lane, which is outside my skillset or qualification. Do you have someone to connect with so you can dig deeper into that topic?”

Coaching is an invaluable relationship that leads to more clarity, empowerment, and equipping for tackling life’s tasks and goals.

Curious to learn more? Want to see if coaching might help you move toward where you want to be? Click here to schedule a consultation and first session at no charge. I’d love to see how I can support you in reaching your goals.

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Christy Tennant Krispin is a Whole Life Coach helping clients live more intentionally in alignment with their goals and values across all spheres of life. Schedule a free consultation with Christy here.

Photo: Canva

James Corden’s Life Lesson

April 28 marked James Corden’s last night as host of The Late Late Show. While I’m not a regular viewer, I have enjoyed catching highlights over the years on YouTube. Corden brought a lot of joy and delight to his audiences and his guests, from the highly entertaining “Carpool Karaoke” (featuring the likes of Adele, Elton John, Lizzo, Barbra Streisand, and even Michelle Obama), to the many “Crosswalk” musicals he staged.

But I want to draw your attention to why Corden decided to leave his successful show, which by all accounts was going very well, at this time, because it is so relevant to my work with my clients.

Corden said to Drew Barrymore last January, “One day I was filming on a Sunday and I came downstairs, it was about 6 a.m. and my son, who was 10 at the time, was sat on the stairs and he said, ‘Are you working today?’ and I said, ‘I am,’ and he said, ‘I thought, well it’s Sunday,’ and I said, ‘I know, buddy, but this schedule’s just all over the place. We just got to get it done because we only have a tiny amount of time before we have to go back and do the show,’ and his face just kind of dropped,’ Corden recalled. ‘I got in the car and I called my wife Jules and I said, ‘I’ve realized, best case scenario, we have six more summers where Max even remotely wants to be around us, and I cannot waste another one.'”

BOOM. I talk a lot about “seasons of life,” and this is a perfect example of how Corden identified the season he is in, and that guided his decision. In this season of life, time with his children is the highest priority. As he said, a time is coming soon when his kids will not be living at home. Once he realized that his work, as gratifying and successful as it was, was causing him to miss out on time with his children that he would never be able to get back, “the truth is it became a very easy decision.”

Identifying our priorities is key to designing a life of intention that is in alignment with our core values. Once we have identified what is important now, decisions become, in the words of James Corden, “very easy.”  


What’s important in your life now, in this season? What decisions will become easier when you filter them through that priority?

This article first appeared in my May Newsletter. To receive future newsletters, sign up here.

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Christy Tennant Krispin is a Whole Life Coach helping clients live more intentionally in alignment with their goals and values across all spheres of life. Schedule a free consultation with Christy here.

Photo courtesy CBS.com.

Declutter Your Home, Declutter Your Mind

Do you ever feel completely overwhelmed by clutter?

My family does a lot of hosting and entertaining, and one of my (bad) habits whenever we have folks coming over is to “corral” any clutter in my house. I grab a laundry basket and walk from room to room collecting things that are out of place. Then I stick that basket in an out-of-sight place (sometimes under the very table serving as a food buffet!) or in my husband’s office or even in the basement, and then I forget about it for a while.

And by “a while,” I mean a few months or even years!

Corralling clutter is not the same as decluttering. I recently heard this quote by Peter Walsh, and it really resonated with me: “Clutter isn’t just the stuff on the floor. It’s anything that gets between you and the life you want to be living.” I want a simpler, more streamlined home life, and for me, that starts with a less cluttered life—in both hidden and public spaces.

There are so many benefits to decluttering our spaces! In fact, a study by Princeton University found that our environment can positively or negatively impact our ability to complete tasks as well as our overall mental health.

If you experience anxiety, difficulty with focus, lack of productivity, and even trouble addressing your own physical health goals, clutter may be playing a big role in that struggle. When we begin to declutter our physical spaces, we often find that our mental spaces become clearer as well!

But where do we begin?

This podcast by decluttering expert Katy Joy Wells is one of my favorite go-to’s for inspiration on truly, actually decluttering (as opposed to just hiding my clutter), and this episode was particularly helpful to me recently as I began to tackle some of the hidden clutter in my home. In it, Katy describes her “SPACE” Method of decluttering, which I find so helpful.

Here is the breakdown of the SPACE Method:

S—Setting Your Physical Limitations


A—Assess the Item


E—End Cycle

Listen to this episode to hear the full description of each step, and give it try.

But remember: the most important thing when it comes to making any change in life is consistency! Nothing works if we don’t do it consistently.

If you wonder what I’m up to this weekend, now you know 🙂

I hope you find this as helpful as I did!

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Christy Tennant Krispin is a Whole Life Coach helping clients live more intentionally in alignment with their goals and values across all spheres of life. Schedule a free consultation with Christy here.

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

Be The Friend You Wish You Had

My eldest daughter moved away to college last fall. I tried not to give her too much advice—I’m navigating that tricky space between being a caregiver and being a cheerleader as my child moves from adolescence into adulthood. But I did give her one piece advice that has been really important to me over the years:

Be the friend you wish you had.

This concept is based on the Golden Rule: treat others the way you would like to be treated. It’s so simple, yet so hard for some to embody. Some of us long for rich, meaningful, deep friendships, but we struggle to make it happen.

If you are someone who finds friendship hard to come by, here are a few tips for building true friendships.

  1. Initiate. Are you waiting for someone to invite you to lunch or out to do something? Be the change you long for. Invite them! Someone has to get the ball rolling. Don’t sit around waiting for someone else to take the first step. Pick up the phone, send a text, reach out.
  2. Listen. I can’t overestimate the importance of being a good listener in friendship. My best friendships are ones where we trade off listening to one another. Sometimes I do most of the talking, and sometimes I do most of the listening. If you want to be a good friend, cultivate the skill of being a good listener. (If this is something you struggle with, here is a “cheat sheet” for becoming a better listener from Harvard Business Review.)
  3. Give Advice Sparingly (and ask first!) This kind of goes along with being a good listener, but try to resist doling out unsolicited advice or feeling like you need to be your friend’s problem solver. Often times, people just want a sounding board. But if you do feel the need to offer advice, get permission first. “Is this something you’d like some input on, or did you just want to process?” is a good question to ask.
  4. Maintain confidence. A strong friendship demands trust, and nothing breaks trust faster than repeating something that was shared with you to someone else. Even if the person did not explicitly say “don’t tell anyone, but…” err on the side of caution and maintain your friend’s privacy. Be someone people know they can entrust their most vulnerable selves to.
  5. Reciprocate. While I advocate for initiating in friendship, it’s also important that a friendship be mutual and reciprocal. Be mindful of who is doing most of the initiating. If it’s always you, and the other person never reciprocates, they might not be as interested in close friendship as you are. Move on.
  6. Make time. Relationships take time! Block out time in your weekend for plans with a friend. Share an article you think they might find interesting or shoot them a text asking about something you discussed last time you spoke. “How did it go with ____?” tells them you were listening and that you care about them.
  7. Be intentional. Friendship, like any relationship, requires maintenance. Being a good friend requires intention and consistency.

To have a good friend is to have a real gift, indeed. While friendship certainly comes more easily to some than others, these tips can help you foster deeper friendships and be the friend you wish you had!

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Christy Tennant Krispin is a Whole Life Coach helping clients live more intentionally in alignment with their goals and values across all spheres of life. Schedule a free consultation with Christy here.

What Does a Life Coach Do?

What does a life coach do? It’s a question that many people have asked at some point in their lives, and ever since I began my career in coaching, it’s a question I have faced many times.

It can be hard to find the right words to describe the role of a life coach, but recently, while I was on a long road trip with my family, it occurred to be that a life coach is basically a GPS app for your career, relationships, or personal development in general. Like a GPS device, a coach helps you figure out where you are now, where you want to be, and what specific steps you need to take to get there.

Sometimes, I’ll be talking with someone about coaching, and they will say, “So it’s like… counseling?” It’s a fair question, but it’s important to make the clear distinction that coaching is not the same thing as counseling. A life coach is different from a therapist or counselor, because they do not diagnose clients or treat mental health conditions.

A therapist might help someone who has anxiety, but a life coach will help someone who wants to quit smoking or who wants to improve their relationships with their children or spouse by identifying what they want and how they’re going to get there.

A therapist will listen to what you say and help you sort out your emotional responses; a life coach will help you take action on what you want and need, based on the information that comes out of that conversation.

A good way to think about it is that a counselor listens, while a coach, well, coaches. A counselor helps you look back and process things from your past that are affecting your life in the present. A coach helps you identify where you are, where you want to be, and how you’re going to get there. Both are supportive, caring professionals who want to see you succeed; the main difference is that a counselor helps you work through why you may feel stuck, while coaches focus on helping clients move forward toward the future they envision for themselves.

If you are interested in seeing whether working with a coach would be helpful for you, I’d love to chat! Set up a free Initial Coaching Conversation starting here.

There is still time to register for tomorrow’s webinar, “Putting Technology in its Place!” Click the image below for more information and to sign up.

How to Get Better at Saying “No”

Saying “no” is really hard for some people, especially those of us who are bent toward connections. We fear that when we say “no,” we might disappoint someone. Or we might miss out on a cool opportunity. Or we might burn a bridge.

But the ability to say “no” is an invaluable asset. It contributes to better boundaries, better time management, and better mental health.

A question I like to ask my clients is, “By saying ‘yes’ to that, what are you saying ‘no’ to?” When we consider that we have limited resources of time and energy, we realize that we need to be selective about what we say “yes” to. There are only so many hours in the day, and if we aren’t intentional about our commitments, we can find ourselves spending our limited resources in places that don’t really matter to us, without anything left for the things that do matter.

With that, here are five tips for getting better at saying “no.”

1. Identify Your Priorities and Filter Requests Through Them

Two things happened in 2021 that helped me reprioritize my life in 2022. First, my dad was diagnosed with a “rare and aggressive” cancer called angiosarcoma. And second, my eldest daughter graduated from high school.

Both of these events served as wake-up call. In them, I realized that I won’t have my dad or my kids here forever. This season of life, with my mom and dad living down the road and my kids living in my house, are just that—a season. And as I did my year-end assessment and prepared for 2022, I recognized that I needed to make some changes in order to make the most of my time with my parents and my children while I can.

These priorities—time with my parents and my kids—have shaped many of the decisions I’ve made, and they have freed me to say “no” to things that would displace them from my schedule. Identifying your priorities can do the same for you.

2. Design Your Schedule Around Your Priorities

When you clearly identify and define your priorities, you can filter decisions through them, bringing clarity to when it’s appropriate to say “no.”

Time with my parents when my kids are there is very different from time with them alone, so I created a work schedule that allows me to spend time with them every Friday while the kids are in school. I go to the gym and, on my way home, stop in at their house. Mom makes coffee and often has something freshly baked, and we sit in the kitchen and talk for an hour or so. It has become a highlight of my week. Saying “no” to certain work opportunities, which would involve less flexibility and require me to work on Fridays, has allowed me to say “yes” to spending quality time with my parents each week.

Likewise, wanting to be with my kids more has helped me say “no” to things that take me away from them on a regular basis. They are in school Monday-Friday for seven hours, so I really only have between five-six waking hours with them each day. During those hours, we have extracurriculars, homework, piano practice, household contributions, play dates, and things like meals and showers. When you really think about it, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for meaningful conversations or going out for “special time.”

By blocking out my working hours, evenings with my kids, and Friday mornings with my parents, I am invariably saying “no” to “calendar creep” — less important opportunities that would take me from what matters most to me in this season of life.

3. Resist Trying to Squeeze Things In

“I already have plans” is a perfectly acceptable reason to say no to something. Never mind the fact that your plans are to go to bed early, clean out a closet, or take a walk. Some people think if they don’t have a “legitimate” conflict, they need to try to squeeze things in, saying things like, “I can make that work.”

I encourage people to remove “I can make that work” from their vocabulary. Instead of squeezing things in, pursue a schedule that contains white space, and protect that white space as if your life depended on it! We can all use a bit more breathing room, and white space allows for that.

4. Give Someone Else the Ball

I’ve always been someone who had a high capacity for leadership and service, which naturally meant that I had positions of leadership in just about everything I was involved with, and I volunteered every time a need arose. But just because you can lead something doesn’t mean you should. Once I became more selective about the commitments I made, I made room for others to lead and serve. And it felt great.

Some people have no problem saying no, and God bless ’em! But for the rest of us, it’s a skill that takes honing. While we may indeed disappoint someone, or we may in fact miss out on a cool opportunity every now and then, I’ve learned that as we get better at saying no, we experience more fruitfulness in the areas where we have said an intentional “yes,” leading to a life marked by flourishing rather than frustration.


Christy Tennant Krispin is a Whole Life Coach helping clients live more intentionally in alignment with their goals and values across all spheres of life. Schedule a free consultation with Christy here.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Putting Technology in its Place (Upcoming Webinar!)

I am so excited to host “Putting Technology In Its Place” twice this month!

This webinar is aimed at helping you establish and maintain healthy tech habits in 2023. Over the past year, as I have worked with clients of all ages and backgrounds, a theme that has come up with many folks has been the effect of technology and digital media on our quality of life.

Don’t get me wrong: I love what technology and digital media makes possible! I’m an avid user of apps and streaming services. I appreciate how these things help me be more productive, connected, and entertained!

But left unchecked, there is a shadow side to technology as well. Relationships, job performance, mental health, and sleep are all affected by having an unboundaried, unintentional approach to social media and digital engagement.

In this webinar, I will address the why behind our use of digital technology, and then offer eight practices you can begin implementing immediately to develop healthy boundaries and put technology in its proper place!

Tuesday, January 24, 2023 – 12:00 PM (EST)


Tuesday, January 31 – 8:00 PM (EST)

Putting Technology in it’s Place (January 24, 2023 – 12:00 PM EST)

A recording of the webinar will be available after the event for all who register! If you are unable to join live, you can access the recording later.


Putting Technology in it’s Place (January 31, 2023 – 8:00 PM EST)

A one-hour webinar on establishing and maintaining healthy tech habits in 2023 + access to a recording of the event afterward.


A recording of the webinar will be available after the event for all who register! If you are unable to join live, you can access the recording at a time that suits you.

Make 2023 the year you put technology in its place!

5 Tips for Putting Technology in its Place at Night

Do you struggle with nighttime tech use? Do you find it hard to wake up in the morning, because you stayed on your smartphone or tablet into the wee hours of the night?

What may seem like harmless scrolling is actually robbing many people of precious hours of sleep, leading to irritability, trouble with concentration, a weakened immune system, and health risks, like high blood pressure, weight gain, and an increased risk of diabetes.

Not to mention being chronically late to work or school!

No one means to be at the mercy of their devices. We convince ourselves that we can stop anytime we want. We tell ourselves, “I’ll just check Instagram once more real quick,” and an hour later, we’re still scrolling. Then, suddenly, it’s 1 AM, and we’ll be lucky if we can get five and a half hours of sleep before the alarm goes off.

If you are someone who struggles to maintain healthy boundaries when it comes to tech use at night, here are some things I have found helpful in placing boundaries around nighttime tech use and putting technology in its proper place.

  1. Get an alarm clock. You remember those, right? All they do is tell time, or perhaps they have a radio as well. If you don’t still have one, get one and put it beside your bed. This way you do not need to rely on your device to wake you up in the morning. You also don’t need to pick up your phone to check the time in the middle of the night.
  2. Create a charging station at least fifteen feet away from your bed. It could be in the hallway, a closet, or even a drawer on the other side of the room. It just has to be far enough away that you have to physically get up from your bed to access your device.
  3. Create friction around accessing your apps after your pre-determined end time. First, decide on a time you will be done with your device for the night. Set an alarm for fifteen minutes before that time, and when the timer goes off, put your device on the charging station you’ve established. (If this is the only phone you have, and you’re concerned people won’t be able to reach you on the off chance you get a call, put the ringer at full volume. If someone needs to reach you in the middle of the night, you’ll hear it.) Next, create additional friction by turning on Downtime, App Limits, and/or Focus. These are great tools on Apple devices (I’m sure non-Apple devices have their own versions) that allow you to set an intention around tech and place boundaries of access and time around your app use.
  4. Identify what’s behind your nighttime tech use. Are you bored? Keep a book or some magazines beside your bed to look at as your brain begins to shut down for the night. Lonely? Keep some pens and notecards beside your bed and write a letter to someone you care about before turning off the light. Mind racing and struggling to “turn off your brain at night?” Keep a yoga mat beside your bed and do a short series of breathing exercises and stretches before climbing into bed.
  5. Involve another person. Tell someone you trust about your struggle with tech use at night. Many of our struggles lose power when we bring them into the light by acknowledging them aloud. If loneliness is behind your tech use at night, perhaps you could even end your day with a short phone call with a friend.

Technology is a great thing. I’m grateful for how many aspects of my life are more convenient and streamlined because of the apps I use on a day-to-day basis. But technology can have a way of taking over. These steps can help put technology in its place—and give you a good night’s rest.


Christy Tennant Krispin is a Whole Life Coach helping clients live more intentionally in alignment with their goals and values across all spheres of life. Schedule a free consultation with Christy here.

Photo by MART PRODUCTION on Pexels.com. Used by permission.

Prioritizing Under Pressure

Part of being a good leader, whether of many or just in your own home, is being able to manage effectively and make decisions when under pressure. But not everyone realizes that prioritizing under pressure is a skill that can be developed. As a professional businesswoman and homemaker, I know this well.

Recently, I had one of those days.

You know the ones: To Do List a mile long. Looming deadlines. Last-minute “emergencies.” A client meeting in the middle of the day. A birthday dinner to prepare and presents to wrap. Not to mention I was flying cross-country with my husband and four of our five children the following day, and I had not yet packed for anyone.

That morning, I woke up and felt the panic slowly beginning to creep in. How am I going to get it all done before we leave tomorrow? Everything felt urgent and important, but the truth was, I wasn’t going to get “it all” done. That would have been impossible.

But there were some things that I had to get done, because they were time-sensitive and important. As I felt my chest tighten, my mood darken, and my thoughts starting to spiral, I turned to a tool I use with clients who are struggling to prioritize tasks when under pressure, a framework based on something called “The Eisenhower Matrix.”

Dwight Eisenhower was a man who carried a lot of responsibilities, first as a U.S. Army General, Allied Forces Commander during WWII, and NATO Commander after that, and then as the 34th President of the United States. In other words, the man knew how to get stuff done. Making decisions and prioritizing tasks while under immense, life-and-death pressure was a skill he developed and systematized in order to help others develop this skill as well.

The framework he used is exactly what I turned to that day. I didn’t have to look it up; I have used this so many times that I could just imagine the grid in my mind and quickly categorize every task accordingly. And it was just what I needed to help me focus, prioritize, and regain a sense of peace in the midst of the storm of stress that was swirling around me.

Here’s how it works:

First, do a quick assessment of the tasks and decisions before you. Ask yourself, “Is this urgent? Is it important?” Depending on how you answer those questions, quickly do one of the following:

DO IT NOW. If the task is both urgent (i.e. time-sensitive) and important (i.e. necessary), buckle down and do it now. Because of our trip the next day, tasks like cleaning out the car and packing the kids’ and my suitcases were both urgent and necessary. So was the client meeting and running to the grocery store for more cat and dog food and a birthday cake for Dad. I got to it and did those tasks that day.

PLAN TO DO IT LATER. I keep a document in my Notes app on my phone, and anything that can be done later goes on that list. If the task is important and necessary, but can wait, it goes on that list. I then block out time on my calendar for those tasks. The particular day in question, I had bank deposits to process, invoices to log, a blog to write, a letter to write, copious amounts of reading for my current seminary class, and some other things that were demanding my attention. The bank deposit can happen today, but I can log the invoices, write the blog and letter, and those other things later. Once I put those tasks on my “Later List,” I could move on from them for now.

DELEGATE WHERE POSSIBLE. One of the things I wanted to do before we left town for a week was to get my Christmas tree out to the curb before all of the needles dropped in my living room. But just the thought of taking time to remove the ornaments and get them packed up with everything else I had going on felt overwhelming. So I asked my son to remove all of the ornaments from the tree. Soon, without being asked, my older daughter began taking down the lights and garland from our staircase bannister, and the younger kids followed her lead and started pitching in to help as well. Within an hour, the Christmas decorations were mostly packed up and the tree was on the curb. A task that had felt overwhelming earlier that day was finished.

ELIMINATE ANYTHING THAT IS NOT IMPORTANT AND URGENT. Just delete it from your radar. Poof! On the day I’m describing, I eliminated cleaning the house (why do we always feel the need to clean our house top to bottom before going on vacation?!) and baking a cake for my dad (I bought one instead, but displayed it on my fancy cake stand. It was beautiful and delicious and no one cared that it wasn’t made from scratch!)

We may not be leading an army or the free world, but each of us is fighting our own battles every day. Whether we are running a company, a department, a church, or a household (or some combination of these), we face the challenge of knowing what to do when and how without losing our minds or operating from a place of stress, when we are more likely to drop balls or make poor decisions.

Getting to know the Eisenhower Matrix adds a tool to our toolbox and helps us develop a skill that every high-capacity leader must have: the skill of prioritizing under pressure.