“Something is very wrong here.”

I’m in a meeting with my manager. I’ve now interrupted the flow of conversation, blurting out the vague but urgent sentence that’s been emerging in my mind for weeks.

It has kept me up at night. I’ve started to feel sick. There’s a horrible knot in my stomach. I have begun to hate the project I’m working on. I dread every meeting. Something is very wrong here.

And yet, I hadn’t been able to place what exactly. To me, it felt like you could cut through the tension in the meeting rooms with a knife…


Encouragement for taking a break from work, even when there’s less to look forward to.

A note about privilege: this article mainly addresses people who are employed and currently have unused time off available to them, as well as those who are self-employed and have the financial flexibility to take time off from work.

This is Biscuit. He has unlimited time off.

Since the pandemic began, I’ve had countless conversations with my coaching clients about burnout and overwhelm. When these topic arise, I often ask about time off.

Time off from work is not a magic solution to stress, burnout, and overwhelm. But gathering some precise, tangible data around time off can provide context on the circumstances around an otherwise amorphous feeling. …


An essential conversation for managing up and moving forward

Your relationship with your manager is often a defining factor in your satisfaction at work. As the saying goes, “people join companies, then leave managers.” It’s easy to look to your manager to set the terms of your relationship, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

photos by Melanie Riccardi

As a leadership coach, I find that too often, people are waiting for their managers to say, do, ask, or offer them what they really need and want. But even the most thoughtful, skilled, well-meaning manager can’t read your mind (and shouldn’t have to!). …


What it is, how it works, what it’s for—info galore.

Coaching is a practice that helps people grow and get unstuck in work and life. It’s a partnership designed to uncover your own truth and creativity.

A starting point

There are different philosophies of coaching, and they have a lot in common. I won’t unpack the differences here. At Cocoon, I practice co-active coaching, which is taught at the Co-Active Training Institute (CTI). So that’s the coaching perspective I know best; that’s my starting point here. It’s based on a fundamental belief that people are naturally creative, resourceful, and whole.

What is coaching good for?

Coaching is forward-looking. It’s a…


Rent the Runway, Trunk Club, Stitch Fix, Tradesy, fancy schmancy, secondhand—I tried just about everything so you don’t have to. That is, unless you want to too.

I had a lot of wardrobe shame when I moved to San Francisco. My suitcase was packed with clothes from previous lives: thick, dark H&M sweaters from Berlin; bright, breezy dresses from Atlanta; wool dresses and thick stockings from Boston.

Nothing worked for the weather, and everything felt a little off. It’s taken me a few years to get my closet in order, but now I finally feel good while getting dressed. Here’s what I’ve tried and learned.

Goals

This is what I was trying to solve.

  • Dress for the weather. It’s often warm in the sun, but cold in the…


What it is, how it works, and how I got into it.

User experience (UX) writing is my main craft, and I get a lot of questions about it. Here are a few answers to the most frequent.

What is it?

UX writing is the practice of designing the words people see and hear when they interact with software. It’s about designing the conversation between a product and its user.

In many ways, it’s just writing, so don’t get thrown off by the name. Many of the things that make UX writing good are the things that make other writing good too: clarity…


This wasn’t it, but it does look very San Francisco. (credit)

It’s taken me three years to find a way to get to work that works for me. In case you’re in a similar position: a woman with options commuting within the city and looking for a better way, I thought I’d share my “path” (ha.) here.

This story begins with a note about my privilege: I have many options available to me, enough money to choose the one that suits me best, and plenty of time to research and try different possibilities. I live and work within the city, and I’m also healthy enough to walk or bike. My experiences…


Dear Diana,

Packing for my flight today, my stomach churned, as always. I’m scared of heights. I’m claustrophobic. I have a wild imagination. Flying is my perfect storm of misery.

Today’s different. I’ve triple-checked that I’ve got both my passport and my license. I’ve made even more sure that nothing weird in my suitcase could call attention to me and get me stopped. (Last time it was candles, a gift I’d received. Who knew?)

Some might say I’m being over-cautious. (It’s a domestic flight! You don’t need two forms of ID!) But I know you’ll understand. You’re a double- and…


It wasn’t always obvious to me that there was a problem.

Adrienne Rich, the groundbreaking poet, gave a talk at the Radcliffe Institute my junior year of college. I had just been accepted into the creative thesis program in poetry, and my advisor, Peter Richards, made me go. He also invited me to a small fireside chat with her that week, with other poetry thesis writers.

Her compact body was almost insignificant from where I sat in the Radcliffe auditorium. But her voice — all fire and brimstone — bowled me over and filled the space. I don’t remember what…


In late September 2010, I went to bed with glowing skin and sculpted calves from running outside every morning. I fell asleep counting my to-dos for tomorrow. I added one to the long list: withdraw from sixth course. A full course load was only four.

I went to bed with my finances arranged for the new semester — a robust combination of financial aid, merit scholarships, loans, and work. I closed my eyes and could still see my multicolored Google Calendar, with long days and overlapping events.

I woke with my neck bulging, as if a tight collar had grown…

Lisa Sanchez

Leadership & Executive Coach at Cocoon. https://the-cocoon.co

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