Passionate Professional BLOGS & PODCASTS

Balancing Career Change and Family – Interview with Donna Marsh

Learn how a successful professional uses three key tools from the Passionate Professional process to balance a career change with being a mother of a special needs child and a military spouse. Learn More →

Supercharged Path to Finding Work You Love – Interview with Greg Peters

From layoff and unemployment to exciting new career direction—learn how this professional speeds through all three phases of the Passionate Professional process into work he truly loves.

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Reinventing Your Career After a Mid-Life Layoff – Interview with Thomas Weis

How do you manage your anxiety and self-doubt when the worst happens? Laid off in his mid 50s (which he aptly calls “the throw away age group”), learn how this professional faces the end of a 30-year career and reinvents himself. Changing industries, transitioning from manager back to individual contributor, this is a story of what so many seasoned professionals are going through.

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Fear is Your Friend

With all the “think positive” advice out there, what’s a person to do with their fear, anxiety, worry and other “negative” emotions? Block them? Stomp them out?

I have found it useful for myself and my coaching clients to think of fear as a friend. All of our behaviors, beliefs and feelings have a positive intention behind them. Constricting feelings like fear and anxiety exist to keep us safe from something, like failure, embarrassment or pain. They broadcast loudly to get our attention. (Robert Dilts, an outstanding thought-leader in NLP, provides excellent detail on the concept of positive intention.)

What I do with constricting emotions like fear, worry and anxiety makes all the difference. If I let them hobble me and stop my progress, then I’ve missed their gift. If I stop and listen carefully to those emotions, there’s always a useful message about what I want and need to feel balanced and take the next steps along my path.

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Move Toward Desire to Reach Your Goal

I woke up one day with 15 pounds on me that had never been there before. Do you know this one? I know I was there every day while it happened, but somehow it snuck up on me and I was living in a body that didn’t seem to be my own. I missed myself.

Suddenly I was faced with the mountain of advice and struggle that so many people I know go through every day. For a year I struggled to pick out what might work best for me and give it a try. No results. A lot of money spent. A litany of reasons why I couldn’t work out today, why I couldn’t make more changes in my diet.

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Stay on Track With Your Goal Using Your Emotional Compass

We all have our good days and bad days, positive and negative thoughts. It’s part of being human. Staying on track with the right mind frame to accomplish our goals requires that we keep our focus on what we do want, not on what we lack or don’t want. In his audio program The Secret of Deliberate Creation, Dr. Robert Anthony uses a wonderful travel metaphor to explain the importance of keeping your thoughts focused on your goal destination.

Here’s my version: Imagine you are taking a trip from your current state, let’s call that the desert in Arizona where you don’t have what you want, to your desired future state, which we’ll imagine is a refreshing beach on the California coast where you do have what you want. The journey to get from your current state to your desired future state takes time. If we are traveling in a car or a plane, it’s easy for us to understand how long the journey might take. But on a journey to accomplishing our goal, many of us get impatient with the time it takes. We doubt, we worry, we fret, and we turn our attention back to our starting point, to all the things we don’t have yet.

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Passion Mapping

In a previous post Notice What You Want, I commented that many people I coach have a desire to create something new in their life, but can’t figure out exactly what. They have a vague goal like “find a new career that let’s me be creative” or “get a job that inspires me”. When I ask what creative would look like or what inspires them, I find most people don’t really know. A common question I get from friends and colleagues familiar with my life and all the unusual opportunities I create for myself is “How do you think of all these possibilities for yourself? How do you know what you want to create next?”

What are your passions in life? What brings you joy and energy? These are the elements to begin with if you are searching for a new, more satisfying career or creative expression of yourself. What follows in an approach I first learned when facing a particularly difficult career transition. I have been refining it over the years. Now it never fails to help me locate and launch myself on a path to whatever I want to create next in my life.

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Notice What You Want

So many people I coach have a desire to create something new in their life, but can’t figure out exactly what. They set vague goals like “find a new career that let’s me be creative” or “get a job that inspires me”, but never actually make any progress because they can’t figure out what exactly they want to do. How do you unravel the clues, read the signs, and sort out the hidden messages you send to yourself about what you really want to create in your life?

I have done this for myself multiple times in life. I have it dialed in now, and it’s one of my favorite things to coach around, but the first time was like groping around in the dark. For years I thought I wanted to get an MFCC and become a psychotherapist. In the middle of grad school, on the cusp of doing my first internship, I started feeling huge inner resistance. With dismay, I realized this wasn’t the right path for me after all. Now what?

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Finding Difficult Answers by Living in the Question

I just had one of those super-charged days where answers to a large, thorny question I’ve been wrestling with suddenly came to me effortlessly, through relaxing, delightful conversations with friends. It was a question I’d sat with in mounting frustration, feeling I should be able to answer, but having my mind crowded with thoughts about what the answer might be, should be, couldn’t be—none leading to a satisfying resolution. The contrast with how effortlessly answers appeared while I relaxed and enjoyed my Saturday couldn’t have been more extreme. I wanted to bottle it. Make it available to myself, to others, anytime.

I rewound back to the point where I gave up actively trying to answer the question and noticed what I’d done instead of tackling the question head on. I realized this series of steps has worked for me before. Sometimes I forget what I already know…

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Is it possible to explore a career change responsibly?! 5 tips on how you can do it!

Supporting your family, paying your mortgage, funding your retirement—we all have serious obligations that can make contemplating career change feel incredibly risky. What if I make less money? What if I try something new and fail? Even if I’m longing for  a change, or feeling downright miserable, should I really risk leaving my secure job to try something new??

So many people give up before they even start. The risk of trying something new wins out over the incredible benefits a career change could give you.

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Related Articles

Renewing Your Career: Fine-Tuning vs. The Big Leap

In the past year I’ve trained and coached over 500 people on how to manage their career. I find most people who want to re-invigorate their career assume the choice is either to put up with what they h … [More]

Using Play to Help Your Team Work Brilliantly

Do you love learning through games and play? A colleague of mine Bette Gardner developed a to­tally fun game that helps teams learn to work creatively and cohesively, instead of getting lost in … [More]

Coming Alive: The Journey To Reengage Your Life And Career

Reengaging Your Career!

Have you ever had someone introduce you to just the right person? A long-time client just recently introduced me to Ruth Ross, who is fast becoming one of the leading champions for the “reengagement r … [More]

Related Podcasts

Stress Weighing You Down? Find Energy and Motivation in Work When You’re No Longer Inspired or Fulfilled

How do you keep going when life is stressful and challenging? Where do you find the will and energy to continue? When your work no longer inspires and fulfills you, but it just isn’t possible to find a … [More]

Balancing Career Change and Family – Interview with Donna Marsh

Learn how a successful professional uses three key tools from the Passionate Professional process to balance a career change with being a mother of a special needs child and a military spouse. … [More]

Supercharged Path to Finding Work You Love – Interview with Greg Peters

From layoff and unemployment to exciting new career direction—learn how this professional speeds through all three phases of the Passionate Professional process into work he truly loves. … [More]

Success Stories

Karianne Holguin, Managing Director
Process Management and Analysis

Success Story: “My executive coaching time with Jane was some of the most valuable hours I have spent as a leader. The experience was not about ‘performance needs improvement,’ but about growing oneself to the next level of leadership, stretching oneself to be the best one can be. It provided great insight to things I knew about myself, personally, but didn’t know were ‘showing up’ at the office. I continue to use what I learned every day, and I, and others, can see the difference this level of coaching has made.”