EVENTS & INSIGHTS / INSIGHT

Guest blog: Hiring a career coach helped me find my dream job

by Shannon Houde

By Laura Baker

If you had told me two years ago that I was going to hire a “ career coach ” I would have laughed at you.  I consider myself a strong, determined and fiercely independent woman, so life coaches fall into the category of things that I don’t need.  If I can do something for myself, then I will, period.

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It doesn’t matter if it takes me four tries to put the stupid Ikea furniture together correctly, or that I drove an extra 30 miles because I refused to ask for directions (I don’t know why everyone thinks this is a guy thing) and it certainly doesn’t matter if it takes me a decade to change out of a career I despise…wait a minute. That last one was the kicker.

Rock Bottom

After practicing law for nearly four years, I still hadn’t found it to be the dream job I had envisioned. Oh, It was everything that I thought it would be alright – except that I had expected to enjoy it, at least some of the time.

I hit rock bottom, or what I considered at the time to be rock bottom, following a huge victory and a super intense quarter. I had thought that the big win would catapult my happiness and job satisfaction, but it didn’t. In fact, it had the opposite effect. Instead of feeling proud and ready to hit the ground running, I felt defeated. Defeated in life. Even a win didn’t make me like my job.

I was sulking through the holiday season when I saw an article about Martha Beck and her book ‘Finding Your Way in a Wild New World’. Being the strong independent woman that I am, self-help books fall into the category of things that I don’t need, but somehow I let this one slip through the cracks (I was at rock bottom after all) and I diligently studied it page by page.

By the end of the book I was sure of three things: (1) I was not living authentically as my true self, (2) that the lawyer gig was not the right fit for me at this time, and (3) that it wasn’t too late to find a better fit. I set to work researching other careers that piqued my interest, something I hadn’t done in nearly 10 years.

It was exciting at first, but then I quickly found something that I didn’t like or that wouldn’t work for me in each new position I discovered. The search became exhausting and as the weeks and months wore on I felt myself lose hope.

Seven months, three legal setbacks and a failed relationship later, I realised that at the current rate it could take me years to plot a new path ahead. So I hired a career coach.

The Change

I wasn’t sure what to expect and I wasn’t ready to share the news with anyone (i.e. admit to the world that I, a strong independent woman, had asked for help). When I did finally let my close friends and family in on this secret mission to change my life, I found nothing but respect and support, for which I will be forever grateful.

I think my brother put it best when he said, “this shows a real commitment to change.” It was true, up until this point I hadn’t committed to making a change.  I had dreamed of one, researched options and speculated, but it was never an absolute. Now I was committed. I had finally put my money where my mouth was and change was going to happen.

Working with a coach turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Within four months I knew, without a doubt, what I wanted to do with my life, I had developed a plan to get there and I had resigned from the legal position I hated and was on my way to launching my own business.

The Difference

This is not to say that the process has been “easy.” It wasn’t easy confronting the reality of my situation, it wasn’t easy uncovering my biggest fears and deepest passions and it certainly hasn’t been a cakewalk making the actual changes.

I don’t yet know if my business will “make it” and I am constantly learning new things, making mistakes and growing in directions I never anticipated. But as hard as all this has been and continues to be, it is so worth it because I am now excited to wake up every day. I no longer dread the end of the weekend or stay in bed pushing snooze or look at my “to do” list with utter disdain.

I am happy and excited to work! I feel like I am constantly buzzing with new ideas and I want to talk about them with everyone that will listen to me. My friends and family continually tell me that I seem “lighter,” “happier” and “more at ease” and it’s true. I am all of those things!

I recently took another huge step away from my staunch independence and launched a crowdfunding campaign to cover the costs of a new project I am developing. Again, I don’t yet know if I will be 100% successful, but had I not worked with a coach I wouldn’t have even considered giving it a shot.

One of the lessons I struggle to remind myself of still, is that it’s great to be strong and independent but it’s also great to know that I can count on others and that I don’t have to do everything alone. We are all here together. Some days I’ll give you a hand and some days you’ll give me a hand, and that is a beautiful thing.

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