What do you do when it’s just not fun anymore?
Are you thinking of making a change?
There comes a point in everyone’s lives — at least once — where you sit back and say, “Is this it? Am I where I want to be?” At age 60, I made a huge change in my life. Are you ready to make a change in yours?
I’ve always been a corporate gal. The first 30 years of my career I spent in the second-largest media company in the country, working my way up from a part-time job to editor and associate publisher.
And I loved it. Always something new and different going on, until I started to dread elections. Holidays. Graduations. All those events are important but the only thing thing that changes are the names. The thrill was definitely gone. It was time for a career change, to do something different.
Much to everyone’s amazement, I scraped the newsprint off my shoes, washed the ink off my fingers and headed into the new and exciting realm of business support and development.
I immersed myself in my new job as president of the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce — so much so that my staff would knock on my door at 6 p.m. and ask, “Are you planning to spend the night?”
That’s what I do — throw myself in to the current situation with little regard for clocks or schedules. It felt not only right, but exhilarating to jump in to this new field and use my years of management experience to help business owners and managers thrive and prosper.
The fun was gone
After five years as the chamber chief, though, the fun was seriously on the wane. At that point, I’d had about 60 bosses, a continuing revolving door of well-meaning volunteer board members whose main focus was rightfully on their own business. Some were great bosses and others…well…I knew they would rotate out, given time. It was just a matter of surviving them.
And then, a few months shy of my 60th birthday, I thought, “Survive? Is that all I want to do — survive?” I recalled my mom’s fight against multiple cancers and my dad’s death a few years earlier on Christmas Day and came to the only conclusion possible:
Life is too short to merely survive.
I examined my options.
- Look for another job. Even with my credentials, Key Largo, Fla., is a small town and golden opportunities with fat salaries are not thick on the ground. Which led to the next complication:
- Quit. It wouldn’t take long on any job hunt for word to quickly circle back to my bosses that I was on the look-out. In a small town, “confidential” is just another word in the dictionary. I would have to put my cards on the table up front and hope for the best.
- Relocate. I have lived in the Florida Keys for the vast majority of my adult life. I own a home here. My dearest friends are here. I love the lifestyle here. This was definitely “last resort” material.
- Develop my own business. Nearly a decade earlier, I discovered coaching — as in “Are you kidding me? You mean there is actually a profession for something I’ve been doing as a part of my regular job my entire life? Sign me the hell up!” Within five months of learning about coaching, I’d hired a coach, gotten my training and set up my business.
No time, no energy
I gave everything I had to the newspaper business and later the chamber of commerce and simply had no time or energy left to devote to my own business.
Oh, sure, I had coaching clients. My first was a dear friend who paid me the princely sum of $5 — just so I could call myself a “professional” coach. (I still have the five-dollar bill in my files.) I helped her navigate the ugly reefs of sexual discrimination in the workplace.
Another I coached, long distance, to a successful presentation in front of 500 peers…in her native Sweden. And there were others:
- The medical professional who struggled with managing her staff.
- The Realtor who wanted support building her business.
- The high-energy, scattered entrepreneur who needed someone to help keep her grounded so she could focus on her chosen path (she now has five shops).
- The employee who’d been beaten down, lied to, so many times by his bosses that he wanted help figuring out what do to next.
Only one real option
Looking at my list of options, and my passion for coaching, there was really only one thing for me to do — develop my coaching business. Since I had intended my coaching career to be part of my retirement plan anyway (and 60 was already giving me the stink eye), this was my opportunity. All I needed to do was seize it, commit to it and move ahead.
I gave my notice at the chamber and a month later was my own boss. As part of my business, I still write and edit:
- I recently published a book, The DIY Coaching Manual for Women: How to Transform Your Life in 12 Months, available on Amazon.com. Yes. (At nearly 64 years old, so don’t tell me you’re “too old” to make a change.)
- I edit books for others.
- I am a Huffington Post guest blogger.
- I help people craft resumes and cover letters that grab attention.
In the community
On the community level, I’ve served on the board member for the Key Largo Volunteer Ambulance Corps and the Key Largo Volunteer Fire Department, was a tutor for Literacy Volunteers of America and United Way. I’m now a member of the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce.
I am also the vice president of development for the Upper Keys Business and Professional Women’s Club, which feeds my soul on many levels as I assist people with everything on how to run a meeting to helping setting them up with mentors.
Helping others succeed
In my business life these days, I help others through a variety of ways.
- I work with people who want to update or create their resumes and LinkedIn profiles. (The thing I love the most is when my clients look at their spruced-up resume and say, “Wow! I didn’t realize how good I am!”)
- I help people negotiate with their current bosses or prospective employers to get the best compensation they can get.
- Tourism businesses in South Florida and the Florida Keys work with me to help bring more people through their doors through print and online advertising as well as social media. It’s great to be able to bring together all my media and chamber experience in a way to help others succeed.
That’s my career and life trajectory…so far. It’s been a terrific and sometimes terrifying journey of growth and change and discovery. How about you? Where do you stand today? And would you like to make changes in your own life and career? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and lets set up a discovery call.
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