5 Biggest Lessons From Year One

In the spring of 2013, I initiated my own mid-career transition when I resigned from the most amazing company ever, MyHR Partner, to become certified as a Career Coach and start my own career consulting practice, Career Wellness Partners.  I expected the first year to be a year of learning about running my own business – and it certainly was. But, there was one thing for which I wasn’t prepared at all:

I wasn’t prepared for how much I would learn from my clients.

I work with women in all kinds of transition; women who are recently divorced and re-entering the workforce before they planned, mid-career women who are suddenly unemployed and determined to make their second act one that matters, and women whose career dreams took a back seat while caring for ailing parents. I work with women who have experienced such loss they don’t even know where to begin to build their lives (let alone their careers) to some state of “normalcy.”  And, I work with women who are trying to find a way to infuse meaning and joy into their current work situation.

My background as a Hiring Manger provided me with the skills to assist clients with the mechanics of the job search; resume writing, interview prep, LinkedIn profiles, applicant tracking systems (ATS), etc. Through education and training, along with plenty of pro-bono work prior to launch, I discovered my own coaching style.  That’s when the learning really began.

Here are the top five lessons from my first year as a Career Coach for women in transition:

1. Work heals – Work pays the bills.  It also can be a place of refuge, rebuilding and recovery.  It can be experimental or monumental.  It can be a primary or parallel endeavor.  Work can help free us from debilitating introspection, spiraling depression and loss of connection.  Work sucks sometimes.  And sometimes, it saves.

2. “Way leads on to way” My favorite line from Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken is “Yet knowing how way leads on to way…”  My favorite because it speaks to endless possibilities resulting from one small step.  And I’ve learned that getting beyond lesson #3,  so that women feel worthy to take that first step, is the most important part.

3. Fear & Lack of Confidence Cause Paralysis These are big saboteurs for most women and we feed them by the negative way we talk to ourselves and frame our circumstances.  They keep us stuck.  Watching women learn and practice strategies to combat those obstacles leads to lesson #4.

4. Strength. Resilience. Persistence. Spirit. – Wow.  Remarkable.  Awe-inspiring.  Humbling. I am blessed to witness such personal transformation and rebirth.

5. The Power of Women Helping Women – Transitions expose our vulnerable spots.  I work with men too.  But something genuinely magical happens when women work together in the spirit of owning, and then honoring, their talents and desires.

By combining my insatiable curiosity of career discovery, industry-specific skills, and an innate drive to help and inspire others, I have found my “work worth doing.” I send heartfelt gratitude to the inspiring women who have trusted me to help them find theirs.

Barbara reveals people to themselves. - TG

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