What’s On My Desk: Karen Elizaga, Executive Coach

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Karen Elizaga is an executive coach based in New York City. Her company, Forward Options, helps c-suite executives, entrepreneurs and individuals improve their performance at work and enhance their overall enjoyment of and satisfaction with life. Karen also wrote a book entitled “Find Your Sweet Spot” (coming January 2014), based on her coaching process to help others excel both professionally and personally.

Here is what she keeps on her desk to stay inspired:

Photograph of me and my husband and me in our early years
We look the same, but different, and it reminds me of all the goodness that has transpired since then. The two people in the picture had no clue was in store for them. It reminds me to be grateful.

A messily written post-it with a quote from a TED talk by Ric Elias
It says, “I’m no longer trying to be right. I choose to be happy.” It reminds me that fixating on being perfect doesn’t serve my joy.

MacBook Air
I carry my computer with me when I see clients at their offices. This thing is so light—it’s changed my life.

Books, books and more books
Whether I’ve read them to inform my work process or for pleasure, they remind me of all of the knowledge I’ve amassed from inspiring people and the emotions evoked through fiction. And of course, they’re there for easy access.

Copies of holiday cards we’ve sent out over the last couple of years and my kids’ school pictures
These are easy reminders of how fast life goes by and how important it is to carve out lots of quality time to spend with my family.

Bang & Olufsen handset and headset
I do a lot of work with clients outside of New York by phone, and I need both hands free to take notes while we talk.

Colorful journal
I keep a hand-written to-do list so that I can see what I’ve done as well as what I’ve yet to do.

A stash of purple ballpoint pens
I always write in my favorite, happy color.

A candle
I prefer one with a relaxing smell.

I wear these when I’m working late and my eyes can’t stand contacts anymore.