CHANGING COURSE BEGINS WITH A GREAT IDEA

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How Long Do You Plan to Wait?

The great Olympian Carl Lewis said, “Life is about timing.” So is the decision to make a major work-life change.

Over the last week I’ve taken calls from dozen people all desperate to find a way to take control of their life and time by transitioning from having a boss to being their own boss.

Some have been Changing Course followers for a relatively short period of time — from literally a day to a year or two.

Others have been reading this newsletter for three… five… ten years. Two people have followed me since I began this newsletter some 17 years ago!

You’d think I’d be happy to have such loyal followers. I am flattered.

But am I happy? Not necessarily.

The whole reason I started this business was to give people the information, inspiration, and ideas to be able to change course. If I somehow inspired you to launch a small enterprise — great! And if staying connected to me helps you stay on track — all the better.

But what about the people who’ve been reading this newsletter for up to 17 years and have yet to take a step?

I’m not judging. But the connection between how long someone had been thinking about changing course and their willingness to act was both unmistakable and telling.

Some of the people who called did so because they wanted to know if I could help them come up with ways they could make money doing what they love. The vast majority of newer “fans” followed through and booked a laser session.

The “old timers” mostly took notes about how the process works. But they weren’t ready to commit.

Then there were calls I fielded about the upcoming business start-up program I’m leading on how to become a licensed Profiting from Your Passions® career coach. They began saying remarkably similar things…

“This feels like what I was born to do.”

“This is exactly what I want to do — thank you for making this class so affordable.”

“I’ve spent three decades doing work everyone told me I should do — but I hated every minute. I feel like I wasted my life. Now I want to help other people not make the same mistake I did.”

What I do is not for everyone. So I never expect everyone to work with me. However, I couldn’t help but notice how often people said something I’d heard thousands of times before. And I’m not talking about my course.

People with a wide range of dreams will be super excited about the prospect of going to culinary school or becoming a dog trainer. Then the opportunity presents itself and they say the same thing…

“I need to think about it.”

Sitting on the Fence of Life

In the meantime a lot of people sit on the fence watching other people open their retreat center or write their children’s book or become wine experts.

Or they go from guru to guru. They take in tons of advice — but never follow any of it.

Days turn into weeks, then months, then years, and soon entire decades have passed. And before they know it, the “thinkers” are wondering where the time — and their dreams — have gone.

For the record, I’m an advocate of thoughtful decision-making. Reflection keeps us from grasping at every shiny object that comes along. And there are plenty of legitimate reasons for not taking action.

At the same time, far too many people make decisions with their head while ignoring their heart. It’s what put a lot of us on the wrong career path to begin with.

The world is full of unhappy nurses and sales managers who now regret that they made the “logical” career choice. They know they’re on the wrong path. And they know there are steps they can take right this very minute that will put them on the right path.

But still they think and think and think but never act. And that’s a shame.

There Are No Coincidences

I’m not one to throw around words like “magical.” But time and again I’ve seen what happens when people step into their dreams. The smallest step can lead to pure magic.

Take registered nurse Alicia-Joy Pierre. With not one but three websites, including TransitionsinNursing.com and another business aimed at helping other nurses to think outside the job box, Alicia-Joy is clearly entrepreneurial.

At the same time I know that some people struggle working on their own but positively shine in a partnership.

So when another nurse registered for the live version of the Profiting from Your Passion® class in Connecticut I connected her with Alicia-Joy. Now they’re both enrolled in the coach training class and already talking about collaborating.

Finally there’s Stephanie. During a laser career session I learned that Stephanie’s life-long fascination with politics had been sparked by a high school boyfriend.

But rather than follow her dream of going into public policy she spent the last two decades in the mental health field. She also wanted to live by a lake. That never happened either.

Even if she could get into policy making — which at this point in her career Stephanie was pretty sure she couldn’t — the vast majority of policy jobs are in Washington DC. So living lakeside didn’t look too promising either.

Or so she thought.

Within weeks of taking action Stephanie not only was invited to chair a local advocacy group but much to her surprise a prestigious public policy center is located two hours away — on a lake.

And in a remarkable twist of fate, after not seeing her old high school boyfriend for decades Stephanie ran into him in a shopping center parking lot. There truly are no coincidences.

As George Eliot said, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

Whether you’ve been a follower for seven minutes or seventeen years — it truly is never too late to stop thinking about your dream of changing course and start acting on it.

Life is too short for regrets. So get off the fence and take that first step.

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There are 22 comments. Add yours.

  1. Jasianna

    Yes…….I have been one of the “long-timers” to read and read and read and take classes and read…..and keep saying…I’m not ready…..one day it dawned on me… I will probably never feel “ready”…..and it does not matter…..So….moving forward and excited about the coach training and my new career…..Yipee Yahoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Having spent way too many years as a thinker with analysis paralysis, it took a conscious decision a few years back, and some serious ventures outside the comfort zone, to re-wire myself to take action – and I’m still working on getting better at it – but I’m so glad I have.

    Things may not have moved as fast for me as for Stephanie (amazing story) but I still appreciate your timely reminder of the reason why I push myself to keep the forward momentum happening.

  3. IFW

    It’s never too late to be what you might have been. ~George Eliot. Thank goodness! I am a long timer as well. This is one of the 1st regular newsletters I ever followed. I started back when I was still in corporate America. I am out of there now for about 5 years now ….and I have struggled with different business ideas. In my heart, I am a writer but have no clue how to get started doing that for a living. Anyway, thanks for the inspiration, especially the George Eliot quote. I was thinking about giving up everything I’ve been TRYING to do to completely throw in my lot with writing. I’ll take this as a sign to get the funding I need and get moving. Thanks

  4. Ana

    I went after a beautiful dream a decade ago after half a lifetime of “thinking about it.” Unfortunately, in my case it just never worked out and loved ones were imposed upon. The bottom line was, I had no money to be taking risks.

    Take the plunge. Just have the necessary resources first. I haven’t given up. No way. I’m just working on another angle — one that, if successful, will lead me directly to that true dream destination I felt I was forever being kept away from.

    So do it. If one angle doesn’t work, keep thinking of other angles.

  5. Jasianna –SO thrilled to have you in the Profiting from Your Passions Career Coach training program! The beginning of great things to come!

    Valerie

  6. IFW

    I am so flattered that you’ve been a reader for so long.It makes me feel like what I do makes a difference.

    Not sure who said it but a favorite quote is something like, most people give up a minute before the miracle.

    If you don’t have a clue who can help you get started earning money as a writer — find someone who does know and learn from them. Depending on what kind of writing you want to do there are at least three resources at http://www.changingcourse.com/cooljobs.htm

    Hang in there!

    Valerie

  7. Crystal —

    Give yourself a big pat on the back for stepping out of your comfort zone! Most people never do and hence they never grow.

    And you’re right — its all about momentum! Keep going!

    Valerie

  8. Ana,

    Great advice — failure and detours are part of the journey. If one road doesn’t lead where we want to go, try another path!

    Valerie

  9. Barbara Winter

    Bravo! Living the life of your dreams is not a spectator sport. Thanks for saying it so eloquently.

  10. I Love that line Barbara! Well said!

  11. When I made the decision to change course in my life it was the best decision I could made! I agree with Valerie, I became a licensed Profiting from Your Passions® Coach to help others follow their dreams and work at what they love. It breaks my heart to see people stay stuck in unhappiness with what they are doing because they stay stuck on the fence and don’t take the first step towards their happiness.

    Believe me you DESERVE IT! and the only way to get to where you want to be is to take a step toward making your dreams come true. Don’t get me wrong there will be challenges, but if you keep in the forefront of your mind, “What you want YOUR life to look like”, then you’ll be able to make it through the challenges!

  12. I love the saying “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it!” Even if you have a passion and a great plan it requires constant action, resilience and a ton of PERSERVERANCE.

  13. Carol, that’s so true, in fact my blog this week is about PERSERVERANCE :). http://tinyurl.com/8stczgm

  14. What a GREAT article Karen! You are definitely a star and an inspiration to everyone who wants to create the life they REALLY want!

    Love to permission to reprint this in the Changing Course newsletter sometime to inspire even more people to follow their dreams.

    P.S. Thanks again for your video testimonial of the “outside the job box” career coach training at hhtp://www.ProfitingFromYourPassionCoach.com

    Your ice cream analogy is my all time favorite!

  15. I realize I always just assume EVERYONE knows Barbara Winter and her remarkable book, Making a Living Without a Job.

    If you have not yet read it please run don’t walk to your nearest community or online bookstore.

    If you love gems like Barbara’s comment here that “Living the life of your dreams is not a spectator sport,” you will LOVE her book.

  16. Carol thanks for chiming in!

    Like I always say, “Changing course may not be easy — but it IS worth it!”

  17. Valerie you are more than welcome to reprint my Perseverance blog and for the video testimony, it’s was my pleasure and the truth. I completely forgot about the ice cream analogy :), but when I re-listen to it, it made me want to take your course all over again! – heheee

    I agree with Valerie, you won’t regret purchasing Barbara Winter’s book “Making A Living Without a Job.”

    Thank you for being the most giving and supportive business woman and mentor!

  18. IFW

    Thank you Valerie for your encouragement and the link! I feel like a fire is lit inside me. Thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences and thanks to Barbara Winter – another person I’ve been following a while! I’ve finally reached the point where my desire to be ‘joyfully jobless’ is greater than my fear of failure. The only real failure is not persisting in my efforts. Thanks to Valerie and Barbara for having the courage to leap into their own dreams AND help others do the same.

  19. Christine Kleiman

    Ok, I am one of your 10 year followers. I am very ready to make the move to career counseling coach and resale shop. I promise I will come to your next live training. I promise myself too. Chris

  20. Hey Christine,

    What a wonderfully creative combination — career counseling and resale shop!If you take the Profiting from Your Passions Career Coach training you may wind up specializing in clients who want to do something either retail OR who specifically love finding good buys to sell on eBay/Etsy or other profit centers specifically for people who love bargain hunting or recycling interesting items.

    To be honest with other travel and project commitments and the potential of changing my business model in 2013 it is unlikely I’ll be doing another live class anytime soon. If there is any way you can make this one we’d love to have you Christine!

    Several attendees are up for room sharing to cut expenses and the great thing about the upcoming class is it intentionally happens leading into Ryan Lee’s marketing event DotComXPo.

    The Early Bird price ended yesterday but since I am just seeing this post I’m happy to work something out.

    Give me a call.

  21. Tom

    Hi Valerie, Wow does that information hit close to home! Great article and I’m enjoying your newsletter. I’m a fence sitter and I hate it! I read and learn but never take action. I’m in a slow death 8-5 job and need to break out and do something that matters, but the financial reality of it keeps me from acting. I’m one of those individuals that have always done what others wanted and what I thought was the logical, safe secure job path. I’m now at a place where I need to create a better life and actually LIVE versus just exist. With all your experience and subscribers, what do feel is the most successful way of making the change? Jumping from a boring job to an actual life! 🙂 thank you! Tom

  22. The first step Ton is desire. You have that. There is no one best way to change course – however, for most people it is about slow steady progress vs. jumping off a cliff.

    If you don;t yet have a business idea that’s where you need to begin. I help people like you find ways to turn their interests into income every day. If you’d like to talk about a private consult call me at 413-367-0222.

    I am out of the office speaking in NJ today but back Tuesday.

    The good news is you’re off the fence!

    Valerie

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