I have been a Coach and Career Development Consultant dating back 38 years to 1980 – which is also the same year that I experienced a rather profound Corner-Turning discovery. My discovery changed my career and my life. My transformation revolved around the utter simplicity of the discovery – by listening to myself differently, it was genuinely simple to make a life-altering change.
Why take on this journey? Because of the joy you can find. Coaching physicians all these years has been more of a vocation than an occupation. It is more who I am than what I do. I owe all of this to a very simple discovery all those years ago. In this series, I will outline how I’ve helped others find their Corner-Turning Discovery. My hope is that the overall composite of these stories will aid you in your own life journey.
I was an emotional train wreck a decade after leaving college. Despite the fact that I had actually experienced a great deal of success in two different careers: teaching/coaching/administration in prep schools for five years and sales/sales management for a major life insurance company for the next six years. On one level, I had everything. On another, I was flailing. I didn’t love talking about money all day. I started journal writing which helped. By writing, I was able to convert some of the high emotion to logic (my greatest strength and weakness was the same – a high level of emotion). So if my emotion was aimed at helping others in teaching or sales, I was terrific. If the emotion was aimed at me, I felt like a loser and very incompetent. I made some small strides in figuring out what was troubling me so. But I was lost and very STUCK in my own doom loop of hating my job (even though in many ways I loved it). I was incredibly frustrated that I could not figure out what was the essence of my problem as well as an accompanying solution.
Finally, I came to understand that I was spending all my time focused on TODAY’s problems and TODAY’s solutions. A merry-go-round of frustration and angst. Then I realized that my training at the Northwestern Mutual was in helping small business owners get out of focusing on their financial woes of today and do some long-range planning. Creating a long term, financial strategic plan. I never saw the parallels until the day of the Corner-Turning Discovery, an insight that I had to find on my own.
In hindsight, it was so simple. I asked myself a simple question: imagine being 55 years old and having had a blast for the intervening 25 years. This gave me my headline to forget about today and focus on building a personal strategic plan for Tim, Inc. That was my turning point. After that, it only took me 4 months to complete a plan for success. It should have been so obvious, but I had to take all of today’s pressure (mortgage to pay, children to educate, dreams of places to see) off myself to create a vision of hope and clarity.