My husband and I are puzzlers. We love the challenge of a 1,000 piece puzzle, especially if the picture appeals to us. On our first holiday date,  New Year’s Eve to be specific, my husband invited me over for a special dinner and entertainment. Turned out the entertainment was putting together a puzzle he wanted to work on. Since then, tackling a puzzle has become one of our holiday traditions.

This year was unusual in that my girlfriend gave us an intricate ‘shaped puzzle’ in the design of a maple leaf. Also a puzzler aficionado, she thought it would be fun for the three of us to attempt one together.

As we forged ahead, some interesting insights unfolded. Below I’ve shared some of them when applied to career and life from a puzzler perspective. Do any ring true for you?

Preparation: Both require some form of preparation to get started. While some try to bypass this step, to do so results in increased time and frustration.

Puzzle Preparation Career Preparation (Beginning or Midway)
  • Turn over all the pieces so you can see the cut, color and design
  • Examine the picture you are trying to put together and note any anomalies
  • Group the edge pieces together to help in framing the picture
  • Take stock of and uncover what are your strengths, talents, skills and passions
  • Have some idea of what you are interested in, but also be open to exploration
  • Look back over your years of work to help frame and see the threads of continuity that run throughout your career


Puzzle Engagement Career Engagement
  • Work on a specific section of the puzzle so you can master, then quickly match, the colors and design
  • Take breaks when needed
  • Share pieces and support others working on the puzzle
  • Look up at the bigger picture and see how what you are doing fits in
  • Put the edge pieces together to frame the puzzle, and know that some might need to be adjusted
  • Put the puzzle away (or donate) if you become bored, disinterested or it is not fun anymore
  • Become a master at what you are doing. Move from job to job, but with a master plan of increasing and improving your skills
  • Take breaks along the way to recharge
  • Build and increase your network of friends and colleagues
  • Periodically examine your career to see how it aligns with your overall life goals and plans
  • Have a master plan, and be prepared for shifts and changes
  • Change your career or alter your plan if you become bored, dissatisfied, or want a change

Action: What steps can you take to reinvigorate your career?

Kathy Hart, EdD’s driving passion is human change and transformation. Her goal is to provide professional women in midlife with the support and resources needed to re-imagine and lead even more abundant, joy-filled and purpose-driven lives. If you are a woman wanting to reclaim your voice, realize a long-held dream, or just live your life to the fullest, take concrete action by contacting Kathy at The choice is yours!

Services that Kathy offers:

  • 1:1 coaching to support the journey into your midlife transition
  • Trusted advisor for leaders navigating work changes and requiring an expert guide
  • Speaking and workshops on human change and transformation
  • Small group work and team development to boost the group’s performance