We All Have a Winding Path to Purpose — And That’s a Good Thing

After graduation, I thought I wanted to pursue talk therapy. Then I realized I wanted to help people in a different way.

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Path Johner images/ Getty Images
Path Johner images/ Getty Images

I graduated with an undergraduate degree in psychology, driven by the promise of changing lives by changing thought patterns — and I had a lot of my own that I wanted to change.  As I completed my coursework, I assumed I would continue with the post-graduate requirements and become a licensed psychologist.  Yet by the time I graduated, I realized that the ideas that traditional talk therapy emphasized at the time made me queasy. 

The then-popular method of empathetic listening to encourage people to reveal hidden, cathartic truths seemed farfetched to me.  The field has since progressed tremendously, and I’ve periodically revisited the idea of a Master’s degree, having even gone so far as to apply to one program, yet I still couldn’t bring myself to pursue that goal. Instead, I continued to look for an opportunity to help others in a way I could connect with.

After completing several certification courses, I began Workplace Wellness Coaching.  I had an idea I believed in enough to take a big financial risk: to create an online team wellness game (an app) that you could use on your iPhone called WellBeyond.  The premise was that groups of employees would split up into teams, with each person choosing which daily activities they would do to score points for their team.  It was fun!

My goal was to work with companies by implementing the WellBeyond app, and teaching workshops on how to stay motivated and build healthy habits.  I ran some beta tests and loved the work, but the technical part of developing the app became too costly – ultimately, I ran out of money.  

It was a setback for sure, and it took me a while to recover from the feeling of failure that I felt afterwards, but I was determined to keep going.  I was so inspired by the work I was doing: researching and coaching professionals on motivational best practices. So I decided to make that my focus. 

I was in San Jose, Calif. at the time, and I connected with some amazing women’s groups, including Women in Consulting and Watermark. Through these networks, I began landing some great speaking gigs.  It was also through these connections I was offered a role at a career transition coaching firm, which happened almost four years ago now. 

I became trained in professional career counselling, and while it wasn’t my original vision, I’ve grown to love the work.  I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to  coach people through transition in a hands-on, strategic, and motivational way that isn’t a part of the traditional therapist’s role.

This work has allowed me to have insights I never would have imagined, drawn forth by the deep psychological connection we have to our careers, and how that shapes our self-worth.  I’ve seen the patterns of insecurity shared by women with respect to their accomplishments and capabilities.  I’ve struggled with these same mindsets myself for my whole life, and I’m passionate about coaching other women on ways to resolve them. 

I finally signed up to complete my ICF coaching certification to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the practice and the options.  This time there was no hesitation or resistance on my part.  I knew the time was right. 

When I work with women who are unhappy or unfulfilled in their current role, they often feel stuck and unable to change it.  I’ve learned how easy it is to get stuck in a mindset that keeps us feeling overwhelmed, and it’s hard to move forward from that place.  I’m excited by the impact my work has on helping women to take a step back, recognize their self-limiting beliefs, and learn new ways around them so they can move forward in living their vision.

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