When I was a little kid, I’d take car trips with my family and beg to listen to Raffi (ya know, the guy who sings “Baby Beluga”). My parents were building their own dental practice, so we listened to Tony Robbins instead. So – there I was, holding my stuffed animals in our station wagon, listening to Tony talk about the power within. I hemmed and hawed for years as I could pretty much recite what Tony was teaching, and yet I still hadn’t perfected all of the lyrics to “Baby Beluga”.
As time went on and my parents continued to grow the practice, their business discussions spanned from the car seat to the kitchen table. Still, I had more interesting things to discuss at dinner (like Saved by the Bell and Skip-Its). But by age 11, I couldn’t help it. I started to speak up. I mean, who else was gonna help them figure out how to maximize their staff’s potential — on Meatloaf Mondays.
As I grew older, I found myself drawn to learning about motivation, the power of choice and the strength of one’s own mindset. College courses in Communications and Organizational Sciences turned into a Masters in Human Resources Management and Development, which set in motion a nearly 20-year career in Human Resources Management, Leadership, Professorships and Executive Coaching.
My whole life, I’ve wanted to help people find joy in their work and realize the power they have over their own lives. I’ve seen teams succeed and grow. I’ve studied leadership in all forms: bold risk takers, quiet servant leaders, creative geniuses, you name it. And I’ve seen first hand how people can get in their own way, caught in a comfort zone of mediocrity rather than pursuing their dreams.
I’ve seen those struggles; I’ve lived them myself.
I’d always dreamed of being an executive and leadership coach, but for years, that dream seemed too big and too risky to pursue. I told myself I’d become a coach when I had more time, more resources, and more ability to take risks – which wouldn’t be until I retired from corporate life. That was the plan.
And then, the pandemic happened. For 15 months, my husband and I juggled full-time parenting with full time jobs, all at home. I spent evenings catching up on work I couldn’t get to during the day, often working into the wee hours. I loved my job, but it felt like I was working harder than I’d ever worked in my life.
That’s when I started thinking: If I could work this hard for someone else, why couldn’t I work this hard for something I’d dreamed about my entire life? The tipping point came a few weeks later at work when I went to a meeting and was vulgarly disrespected by a colleague. At the time, I was furious, but looking back on it, I’m so grateful for that moment. It was the kick in the tush I needed.
The next day, I began searching for a coaching certification program so that I could reconnect with what I loved. I found a great coaching program, but my fear kicked back in. I told the admissions director that I didn’t want to start until I felt more “ready”. Then she asked me, “what’s going to change between now and when you’re ‘ready’?”.
It was at that moment I realized my biggest obstacle was… me. I’d been telling myself stories focused on what I couldn’t do and why I couldn’t do it.
I signed up that day.
That one powerful question helped me break down – and break through – a barrier.
So, I began the program: I honed my skills, made lifelong friends, and started to make my “retirement dream” a current reality.
It took a lot of work to walk away from my corporate life, but most of the “work” was simply my mindset. I had to retrain my brain to go from “I can’t do this because it’s too risky and I may not be good enough” to “I get to choose what I do every day, and I’m going to choose my passion.”
My focus on parents in executive and leadership roles reflects my journey. I know what it’s like to feel so drained from work, you’ve got nothing left in the tank for your family, or your community. So they get your “leftovers”.
I firmly believe that when you spend your day on something fulfilling, it starts a ripple effect. When you improve your life, you make everything around you better: your family, your community and ultimately, the world.
A few years ago, I never thought I’d be writing this blog. I never thought I’d be able to take a vacation where I didn’t have to dial into a meeting or keep up on emails. I certainly never thought I’d be an executive and leadership coach running my own business.
But here I am, pursuing my passion and helping clients pursue theirs.
I hope that by sharing some of my story, you feel a little braver, a little more capable and a little more ready to start living the life and career you want.
Baby beluga in the deep blue sea, it’s time to swim so wild and swim so free.