Archive for the ‘career change’ Category


People come to me because they want something to change in their life.  That “something” could be a change in their work situation (a better working environment, achieve greater fulfillment…) or  a change in their overall life (more quality time with their family, better communication with their colleagues…). 

In the years I have been helping clients through changes like these, I have found three essentials that are critical elements to help move from the idea of change to taking action around change: Clarity, Confidence and Courage. 

Clarity – Part I 

What Do You Want?

If you don’t know what you want, it’s pretty hard to take a step forward.  You know you want “something” to change, but may not even be sure what that “something” is.   From my clients, I will often hear things like:

“I want to be happy, more fulfilled, better balance….”

“I am very clear about what I don’t want, what is dissatisfying or frustrating….”

Both of these are great places to start, and still more clarity is needed to understand what each of these areas mean to you, what they may look like, feel like?  You know you have “enough” clarity when you can see the beginning of a path, the glimmer of a direction, enough to see the next step.

Whether you have a glimmer or full clarity, your next step is to “anchor” this clarity so it feel real before you get to Clarity part 2


How much do you believe in yourself? Believe that what you want is possible for you, that you have what it takes to make it a reality?  When you believe that what you want is possible to have/be/do, you are much more likely to commit to it, and often find the resources to make it happen more effortlessly than you may think. When you do not believe something is possible for you, you often won’t even try.  Not feeling very confidant right now?  What if I told you that you can be more confident in a matter of minutes?  You have gotten pretty far in life already using your unique combination of strengths, qualities and skills.  When you think about the clarity that is taking shape, imagine how you will use what you already have to get what you want.

William James said ““Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.” 

Want a boost to your confidence?  Take courageous actions


So often, I hear people say “when I am more confident in…I will then move forward with….”  What happens?  Often nothing.  Courage is the ability to take action with the confidence you already have, while venturing into some unknown.  Those courageous actions build your confidence even further. A courageous action is something that takes you out of your comfort zone. These actions can be small steps or giant leaps.  You choose.

You also do not need full clarity to begin taking courageous action.  A glimmer of clarity can illuminate your next step.  When you take that step with courage (and with the confidence you find within you) it will lead you to greater clarity, greater confidence and your next step.

Martin Luther King said “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step in faith.” 

Clarity – Part II

How Will You Get There?

Notice I included this section last.  So many of my clients want to know the How as soon as there is a glimmer of clarity.  What I have found is that the HOW is best discovered/considered after the “what” is clear and compellingafter you have discovered the confidence already there within you and after you have begun taking some courageous steps.

If you start to think about the HOW too early, before there is real clarity and stronger confidence, you run the risk of letting go of many ideas and wind up back at square one.

As you may be noticing, Clarity, Confidence and Courage is not a linear process.  You are not finished with one before moving on to the other.  They work in tandem, building off of each otherstrengthening each other.  These elements can also show up in various ways and at various times throughout your change process.

Here is one example of how these elements were expressed in a client I worked with: 

A client and I had worked together through his transition from one role/one industry to a higher level role in new industry.  We worked together on helping him gain Clarity of where he wanted to be and how to focus his marketing efforts in his job search to go after this new role/industry.  He landed the job he wanted and excitedly got started.  A few months in, he started questioning his choice, you see this new environment was vastly different than his old one.  New set of expectations, new pace, new everything.  For a moment (or two) he began questioning his Confidence – could he succeed and excel in this new environment?  He realized that he needed the Courage to step out of the comfort of the old model into this new one.  The Courage to test out new ways of showing up, to confidently use his strengths to work in this new space.

If you are struggling with any of these areas, contact me for a free consultation to discuss what is going on for you and learn how I can help you to gain greater clarity, confidence and courage as you embark on your change.




Have you ever had those moments when you were just not sure of your next step on your life or career path?  When I have those moments (which are quite often), I use Inspired Action.

Inspired Action, to me, is when you allow inspiration to show you the way toward your next choice or goal.  There is no trying or forcing an idea to come to you.  There is not even any research or digging to find an answer.  There is only inspiration.

Inspiration from what you are already reading (in books, magazines and on the web), what you are already watching (videos, Netflix), what you are already talking about (with colleagues, family and friends).

Inspired action can come from your internal sense of “readiness” for something new, some next step on your journey.  You may have heard the term “when the student is ready the teacher will appear”

Here is an example of how I personally have used inspired action.

Several years ago I was on a break from my volunteer board work having just come off a board role of 5 years with a women’s business group.  When I began to have the “itch” to join another board, I had no idea which one.  I did some research, attended some things but nothing felt right.

I chose to stop “trying” to find the next thing and just waited for inspiration to hit.  One day I received an email from a coaching colleague I had not seen in a while inviting me to the next event the group she belonged to was having, just to catch up with her.  When I arrived (it was the Coach Federation Raleigh chapter Cutting Edge Conversation event), I felt immediately “at home” with these people in the room and energized by the conversation we were having.

At the end of the meeting, the colleague that had invited me announced to the group that they were seeking volunteers to join their board.  I knew this was no coincidence and took the inspired action to make this new commitment.  What is interesting about this is that I had attended events from this group in the past, but never felt the desire to join the group, this time was different.

How to take Inspired Action

  • Let go of trying to find answers
  • Live your life, doing things you already enjoy
  • Notice when something catches your attention, sparks your interest or gets you thinking.
  • Pay attention to ease – often inspired action feels easy, sort of like a “no brainer”
  • Take Action.  Once inspiration hits, take a small step forward (or a giant leap).  Depending on what has inspired you, your step may be to have that conversation, research that career OR it could be a full commitment (like my joining the ICF board)

What if inspiration not coming?  You can give it a nudge by

  • Having more conversations.  Invite a friend over you have not seen in a while, throw a party, or attend an event you have been meaning to
  • Start researching something you have had your eye on and see where it leads you
  • Read something out of the ordinary for you.  Could be a book someone recommended, a different magazine at your dentist office, or a blog someone recommended
  • Overall – get out of your comfort zone.  Doing, being and experiencing something slightly (or greatly) different than your norm.

, ,

My story of career change…
Some of you may know my story of how I transitioned my career, but may not know what went into my decision and how I made my way in my new career.When I was a Career Counselor, I played a very specific role in helping college students and recent grads figure out their career path and helped them to get their first job.  Yes, a big focus of the work I do now is still related to Career Development and Job Search – what changed in a big way is How I do that, Who I do that with and the scope of What I do with each client.

How did I discover all of that? It started with Taking Inventory
I started noticing that the tasks that gave me the most energy included the one on one connection with individuals I was helping, especially when I was able to see the same student on an ongoing basis.  At the time, as Associate Director, I was in a leadership role that took me away from the 1-1 interactions.  I wanted to bring that 1-1 focus back.I wanted to expand.  The nature of my work at the University was very specific to career and did not allow much expansion into the personal lives of those I served.  I understood that the whole person is the one seeking help, and I wanted to be able to address ALL areas of one’s life as it pertains to career and beyond.

So…I started exploring what type of work I could do that allowed a bigger picture focus while remaining engaged 1-1 with clients.  I started doing some research and having conversations with people and that is when I discovered Coaching.

Once I had a better idea of where I was going, I Took a Big Leap
When I discovered Coaching as a career choice, for me to fully dive in and be in the type of role I wanted, it meant starting my own business.  Oh Boy!  I had never even thought of myself as a business owner!  I knew nothing about business; I was terrified of “selling myself” and even being visible to the public.  I knew this was a big leap and started thinking ….. “If I Could do this, how would I” Starting from that place helped me create solutions and actions around my concerns and fears.  I also knew a strength of mine is Learning – and boy did I use that one in a big way!
To make this new idea be very real for me, it was time for my Commitment Step
I made several commitment steps throughout my transition.  The first was enrolling in a training program to become a coach; the second (at around the same time) was hiring my own coach.  Both were financial investments, something my frugal self does not take lightly. J   To make these financial commitments was really a commitment to myself – to my path, my growth.Once I committed, it allowed me to ride the ups and downs, twists and turns that are part of change and transition.  And I had many…. Some days I wondered “what am I doing, I don’t know how to…..”  then other days I was so excited by all the possibilities and positive feelings I had while doing the work.  I soon realized that there will Always be ups and downs and need to Trust.  Trust myself and my abilities and Trust the process.

In my 12 years as a coach and business owner,  I Re-evaluate constantly
I look at what is working, what is not; what I love doing, what I’m ready to let go of; what new projects I want to create and what I want to change.  Formally I do this at the end of every year. Informally I do it whenever it is needed or insight strikes.I hope my sharing some of my story helps you to take your own inventory, big leaps, commitment steps and evaluation.  We get one life and my hope is for everyone to be living his or hers to the fullest!



While I do not usually use the word “normal” (is there truly such a thing?) In this context I’m using it to describe what is often seen or patterns I notice in the many clients I have served over the years.

When going through a transition of any kind (especially one the will take you out of your comfort zone), our minds bring up lots of juicy messages like

I don’t have….
I’m too old….
I can’t….
What if……

I often refer to Transition as a roller coaster ride.
Some moments you are more clear, focused, taking action
Some moments you are more confused, unfocused, taking no action
When my clients realize that their experience is a natural (“normal”) part of the rhythms of transition it seems to take some of the edge/pressure off. They can then let go of the chatter in their head that sounds like:

Why is this happening?
What’s wrong with me?
This must mean…

With an already emotional experience of transition, any amount lifted can be beneficial.

The roller coaster of transition can sound like:

UP – I’m feeling more clear about my direction and goals
DOWN – I’m more confused than I was yesterday

UP – I’m feeling exited about this new idea I am considering
DOWN – Just when I started getting excited about this idea, I started thinking ….. and it deflated me

UP – I’m experiencing great progress with….
DOWN – This will be too hard

UP – I’ve built some great momentum around….
DOWN – Why am I not/ I did not do my homework – what I said I would

So you see, this “ride” of transition is a “normal” part of the process of change you are choosing to take. Rest assured that you are not alone!

When you can learn to enjoy the ride, and embrace the waves of excitement and terror you may feel along the way, your experience can be quite exhilirating!

, , ,


When I was a teenager, I remember having a conversation with my brother that went something like this. “I am so envious of you, you love drums so much and have found your passion, you know exactly what you want to do/be.” He said to me “You are the lucky one, you can be or do anything, I only want to play drums, and if that does not happen, I would be lost”

That experience stuck with me, for you see, I was one of those that did not have my “one-thing”. I did (and still do) enjoy several different things, some of which I liked keeping as hobbies since my interest in them ebbs and flows. I enjoy change, growth, learning, testing and researching which often leads me to new areas to explore. I have embraced this life of plenty and never felt like I needed just one thing.

What became of my brothers passion? He did play drums professionally for many years before finding a new passion – technology/design – He loves having a strong passion and even that passion continues to evolve/deepen as he learns and grows.

What about you?
Do you wish you had a burning passion – one career or life interest that is all consuming? Where you are singly focused, clear, and driven toward it?

So many of my clients come to me wanting to find such a passion. Some feel that they never really had it (in their careers especially). When I ask how they are defining passion, they use words like, “my one thing”, “what lights me up”, “what fulfills me”. When they don’t have it, they feel like something major is missing from their lives, like they are “less-than” somehow. This often leads them to forever pining/searching for that one thing they will love absolutely – and not truly enjoying where they are or what they have.

What if you don’t have one passion?
You may have heard me talk about “sparks”, what I call those moments and experiences that bring you a jolt of joy, curiosity or interest.

What if, you were to start to pay more attention to your personal “sparks” and notice what you are doing, who you are with, what you are thinking that brings about these sparks? When you do that, you then get to choose more of those experiences deliberately! You may even find that they lead you to a new career or new personal pastime – one of your many!

If you want to learn more about this idea….

Video – Listen/watch Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk – she talks about the “flight of the hummingbird” and having a “curiosity driven life.” This talk was my inspiration for this months topic
Article – Your Career Calling
Book – Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher

“Success means different things to different people… and the  road to success is often paved with challenges and tests. It can be a roller-coaster ride filled with highs and lows and fruitful learnings. One thing is clear — all of us who reach for the stars and actively stretch towards our dreams emerge from our efforts transformed.”  This is quoted from an article on

This idea of success being a roller coaster ride is something I usually share with my clients as they begin their process of career (or life) transition.   When you begin entertaining another path for yourself, it can be scary.  You may be unsure of your direction or uncomfortable with some of the unknowns even when you do have an idea of your path.

Just when you begin to gain some clarity, you may feel more confused.  You feel like some momentum is building, only to be discouraged at the next turn.
Some of these highs and lows happen in a moment, an hour, a day or over several days/weeks.  You can see why it is easy to get stuck and wind up staying right where you are!
So, how do you enjoy the ride on your roller coaster?   Feel the fear and the thrill at the same time!  
When you are on a real roller coaster (no matter how tame or death-defying) you have several emotions happening at the same time – some level of terror and some level of exhilaration.  You are sometimes so scared you wish you never got on in the first place – yet you know it will be over shortly so you hold on for dear life!  When you get off, you are a bit wobbly, but often proud of yourself that you did it, even though you were terrified.  For some of you, the exhilaration of being whipped and flipped, makes you want to go on again!   No matter your tolerance for the real thing, your transition roller-coaster is controlled largely by you.
How to stay the course?
When you know that you will expect some highs, and some lows, some clarity followed by confusion, some momentum followed by feeling stuck, you will know you are “doing this right”.  That knowledge can keep you focused and committed to your process and your growth.
Your transition can take you in many different directions, and the turns and flips along the way can take you along interesting new paths that you could not have planned for but are exactly where you need to be .
Learn to enjoy your roller coaster of success!

Read the full article from to see some great quotes of what success means to some history’s greats.

A Career Transition Success Story

This month I am sharing this inspiring message I received recently… The names of companies, etc have been left generic for privacy and to help you see that this story is transferable/relatable to all fields.

“Hi Stefanie!  Remember me? I was the restless longtime employee of a great company in Raleigh with an amazing dream company on her radar. 🙂  My family and I relocated to our new city 5 months ago, and it’s been a whirlwind.  My job is intense, but good.  I have an amazing manager who is a great mentor, helping me understand “their corporate way.”  The company is humongous and there are so many things to learn, but I’m making headway, little by little.

I wanted to share some insight with you on how my dream company recruits since it’s something you talk about in your sessions.  I had a meeting with two of the HR recruiters for this company a couple of weeks ago.  They are using LinkedIn as their No. 1 social media tool to locate talent.  In addition to finding the right skill set and experience on LinkedIn, they also said they look to see what interest groups a person has joined and/or what other companies they are following.  They really like to find people who have an affinity for the brand already, so if you’re following their company on Twitter and LinkedIn, etc, that is a plus.  I remember once I had decided that is where I wanted to work, I started following a bunch of the company Twitter accounts, LinkedIn sites, etc.  I didn’t realize it would be something they took note of when they looked at my LI page, but apparently it is important.

Social media presence aside, the most important factor for me in landing this job was making connections at my dream company.  I was able to do that because I was on the board of a local professional association chapter in the Triangle and I reached out to the their President in the city where my dream company was, who happened to work at that company!  I honestly don’t think she’d have ever taken my call had I not had that association connection in common!  Once I talked to her, I was able to talk to a couple more people and get my name out there.  Then, when the right job opened up, I applied and I wasn’t an unknown name in a stack of resumes.  So the system works!  Let your clients know that even if you have NO connections to a company, if you are strategic about it, you can find a way to get your foot in the door.

It all started with an “itch” I had that my job at the time wasn’t challenging me anymore.  When I was completely honest with myself, even though I had all the perks that an employee could want while working for this great company in Raleigh, including a supportive manager and fun team,  I wasn’t growing as an individual anymore.  Once I recognized that, I started taking steps to find something that would energize me again.  I attended one of your workshops on building your resume and social media presence, then started meeting every two weeks with a friend/co-worker of mine in the same boat to hold each other accountable to making steps towards change.

So, the first step is honesty with yourself. The next step is action and driving change.  And once you set your sights on a goal and are willing to do the work to get there, there is no stopping you! :)”

I hope you found this story inspiring and that it gave you some ideas and strategies you can incorporate into your career transition!

, , ,