Kelly Poulson
Coach. Career Navigator. Ass Kicker. Dog mom.

When people think about goals that impact their career, they inevitably think of things like getting a promotion, improving their public speaking skills or going back to school. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking any of those goals. But, what we often don’t realize is that our personal goals and the progress we make on them impacts how we show up at work. They can seem unrelated, but hear me out.

Surprise yourself. When you achieve something that you didn’t think possible, it’s a pretty sweet feeling that transfers to many aspects of your life. If you’ve been hoping to start running regularly and have made several failed attempts, when you inevitably stick with it (and you will. I believe in you!) it will feel amazing. 

Your confidence skyrockets when you remember what you’re capable of. A few runs a week could be the turning point that prompts you to bring up a potential promotion with your boss, or to raise your hand when the team is looking for someone to launch a new initiative. Because why not? You’ve proven to yourself that you can tackle challenges and be successful. Those amazing feelings show up in every area of your life, even if they began at home!

Transferable skills are real. In my work as a career coach, I spend time with career changers, or people who sometimes feel like they have no skills to offer to their dream gig because they haven’t done that exact role before elsewhere. Simply because you haven’t held a project manager title, doesn’t mean you haven’t spent 10 years project managing a family of five. Sure, it’s a little more tricky selling that in to a business, but the strategies that you use outside of work are often equally as effective in the business space. 

Did you organize the heck out of your bills at home...and found that it’s made a huge dent in your happiness overall? How about reusing some of those tactics at the office? Or in your business? You’ve proven you’ve got the chops in one space, why not another? Give it a shot and notice the impact it has. 

You’re you no matter where you are. Sadly, I know plenty of people who feel like they can’t be themselves in work for a variety of reasons. “It’s too serious of an environment,” they say, or, “They wouldn’t get my sense of humor.” “I’m too different from everyone there.” And many employers prefer it this way, attempting to make it all work all the time. 

IMHO, they are missing out big time! (the more you you bring to the job, the more effective you are to the organization.) When you take a step back to think about it, it makes perfect sense that most of us don’t even see the correlation between who we are at work and outside of it because of the nature of businesses and how they operate. Thankfully, there are so many wonderful professionals and businesses out there looking to change that mentality. But it can start with us. Chances are, what you value in life, you value in work. If making progress on a project gets you excited and fired up to do more at home, what do you think happens in work? 

And why not allow those feelings of excitement to transfer from one realm of your life to another? If your dream was to write a novel and you finished it, it wouldn’t shock me if you decide to throw your hat in the ring to build the business’ blog. Writing = fun and enjoyment for you. Do it whenever and wherever you can! 

Look for Parallels and Opportunity. If you’re an avid gardener and could talk about it all the livelong day, why not mention it being a passion of yours and suggest a way to bring greenery into the office? Bringing a passion of yours that you’ve successfully nurtured outside of work into the workplace allows your colleagues and leadership to see you in a different light. You might be quiet in the budget meetings but come to life when presenting an idea about hiring a floral delivery service and communicating its impact on morale. It could lead to new opportunities that you hadn’t even thought possible within your place of business and your career in general. 

Bottom line: you need to go for it. Whatever “it” is. Progress is progress and will impact how you show up in life. Crushing it in your side hustle, could bring about new ideas for your day job. Completing a challenge to read a book a week could open plenty of doors in work for you to teach, mentor, lead discussions, you never know. Unless you’re willing to put yourself out there and try it. And look for what might be energizing to you (no matter the realm of your life) and find ways to insert it everywhere else. You’re you. And if you’re kicking ass at home, it impacts your ability to do so in work. Give it a shot. What have you got to lose? 


Kelly is a human resources pro and coach who helps people find and achieve what they want career-wise and beyond. Coaching, training, recruiting – if you name it in the world of HR, she's done it in a variety of industries. Her advice has been featured on The Muse, Career Contessa, Levo, Workology, among others. Learn more by scoping her out at