So, I have thought for weeks that it is time to update the ABOUT ME section on my website. I have hemmed-and-hawed, dilly-dallied and generally put it off until today. Quite randomly, I had someone stop by my office, unannounced, no appointment scheduled, and I felt strongly that I should take the time and talk to him.
This gentleman just retired and was thinking about what do with the next third of his life professionally. He shared with me that in his early forties, he left a career as a successful, well-paid sales manager to become a therapist. He said what a blessing it was to have been able to spend even 15 years doing what he loved to do. When he told me this, I said, "That had to take a lot of courage." To which he responded, "Well, when you're ready to kill yourself rather than go in another day to work you hate, it becomes an easy decision."
Wow. My own story isn't so dramatic. But I was always the proverbial square peg in the round hole. I had followed the advice of parents, loved ones and several guidance counselors and picked a major in college that never felt like a good fit for me, Journalism. In retrospect, it was a great major and allowed me to do a lot professionally with it. I had nearly 25 years of professional success. Until I didn't.
I kept chasing the dream, and my final destination on my career path was always clear to me. Be the Senior or Executive Vice President of Marketing for a large healthcare system. So, I molded myself into what I thought I had to be to succeed and reach that point in my career.
I was at my last job for about 5 years. It was the perfect next step in my career path. I had planned it perfectly. But unfortunately, all the squeezing and twisting I had done to fit into the “correct” box wasn't working so well in this job.
I started my professional career a bit later than most people. I was in my late twenties and did what I thought I was supposed to do to get ahead. However, I always had these crazy thoughts of what I would rather be doing but always brushed them off. The thing is, I thought about this other career path nearly every day. And how much better I would be at it. And how much more I would enjoy it. I researched master's programs to get into this field. My dream was to get into clinical psychology or social work and spend my days counseling others.
When I mentioned this to loved ones, I'd hear, "But you'll never make any money doing that." And, "You'd have to start over at the bottom again." And, "But you have such a fantastic job and make good money doing it." And so, I'd put that dream on the shelf and look at it from afar.
When I turned 40, I took the job I thought was going to catapult me to the career path and success I thought I wanted. But turning 40 also turned up the volume of that radio station I didn't want to listen to – the record skipping and repeating these questions – what else could I be doing? Don't I deserve fulfillment? Everybody else seems to like their job, why not me?
Then that other voice in my head would say, "Stop being such a whiny asshole. You have it good. You make a ton of money and you don't have to work that hard. Don't rock the boat, dummy."
Erickson College: Completion of an ICF-accredited, 128-hour life and business coaching program, "The Art and Science of Coaching"
Indiana University: B.A. in Journalism with concentration in corporate communication
Memberships & Certifications
BCC, Board Certified Coach, Center for Credentialing and Education
ACC, Associate Certified Coach, International Coach Federation (ICF)
Certified master trainer and certified instructional designer, with
Langevin Learning Services
Member, International Coach Federation, Indianapolis Chapter
National Career Development Association