Life is a circle and it takes a long time to realize that much of what is perfect for you to do in life—wanted and needed in the world for you to do—is what you loved to do as a child. But this process cannot be rushed. You must live a chunk of life before you can step back and rifle through all the “shoulds” that you picked up along the way and find the passion. Although it has been 10 years since I began my coaching journey, I have tried many roles in my work and have been building a patchwork of arenas that best match my talents with where I can make the most impact on others while enjoying life. I have always been creative but fearful that being creative makes you appear less substantial or professional in the world’s eye. Part of the problem here is that I would care so much what the world at large thinks. But I have learned two things: One, I care more about what I think than what others think; and two, that being substantial or intellectual or professional or recognized as a success has nothing to do with the content of your life work but rather how you behave in the world. If you are true to your inner talent, and that talent is art or writing or sculpting or coaching or managing or whatever, then you are, regardless of the financial reward, a success.
In looking back to my childhood for what I loved and cared about, two words resound: peace and equality. It first took the form of children's’ liberation—yes, a concept that my brother and I developed to acknowledge the powerful knowing and capability that children possess but that many adults do not attribute to them. Feminism was another important area of equality for me at an early age. My mother has always been a wonderful role model to me and she became active in the Women’s International League of Peace and Freedom during the 60s. When I was seven, she went back to school to become an attorney. She began her career at Legal Aid doing much work on child custody conflicts, women’s battering cases, bankruptcy and even contributed to the Black Panthers trial. I was fortunate to live in a home and a town where most people were politically active and many of us went to peace marches in Washington, DC in a town-chartered bus. My father, an artist, writer and engineer, gave me an early exposure to creativity and he was the house-husband for a number of years, way before that was in style.
Rachel Mueller-Lust’s career in the media research world spans 20 years. Currently, Rachel is Executive Vice President, Client Solutions at The Nielsen Company. She has worked at traditional media companies as well as in entrepreneurial roles and began her career in 1988 as assistant professor of psychology at Oberlin College, conducting research and teaching on topics in cognitive psychology, statistics and the psychology of language. In 2002, she founded Wondrance Coaching and Consulting, a firm that provides business coaching and workshops on topics including achieving work/life balance, speaking professionally and making career changes. Rachel earned a B.S. in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, an M.S. and Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz and is certified as a professional coach (CPCC). She is a featured speaker at numerous professional and academic conferences and universities. Rachel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org