My worst career experience was also the best. I went to work for an internet research company just around the time of the dotcom bust after many years going to work in Corporate America every day. I liked it “enough” but did not really love it. As it turned out, the new job was more of the same old job but with an added twist that the organization was simply very unhealthful. I was left with a strong dose of feeling numb and going about the day-to-day path of 9-to-5 work without passion. I felt in my bones that there had to be a better way to live life and then I remembered an article I had read about a new field called coaching. It was the year 2000 and coaching was a relatively new area. I did some searching on the web to read all I could about the field and found a coach referral program. Luckily, I stumbled into finding an amazing woman who would help to propel me into my ongoing search for work that feeds me. Mary Beth Shewan (http://wholelifecoaching.com), who blogged on this site last month, was my first life coach. In learning so much about myself through her coaching, one of the points that has resonated most for me is that “Levity is key”. What I mean is that taking life too seriously sucks all the fun out of it and does not allow you to enjoy all of your natural talents. One can be completely serious about accomplishing and doing great things, yet these things will most likely be more rewarding if handled with some lightness, love and fun. I also learned rather quickly through the process of coaching that I had been engaged in coaching, training and mentoring others for years, even though I never labeled it coaching. Throughout my media career holding workshops, giving presentations and managing a professional staff, I found that colleagues, students, friends and family frequently sought me out to help them think through issues concerning their careers as well as their personal lives. An epiphany for me, coaching was a natural talent that I could use in work. I threw myself into developing this talent and undertook my formal coaching training from the Coaches Training Institute (http://www.thecoaches.com/). I am now certified as a professional coach (CPCC). I probably would have discovered these passions eventually, but taking the wrong job (at the right time) was just what I needed.
Along the way, I met many talented coaches who have given me more tools and greater perspective than I would have ever imagined. In particular, Rick Tamlyn (http://www.ricktamlyn.com/), an early teacher, says “It’s all made up”. I love this concept that whatever you are in the world is made up, so why not make it up the way you want it to be, in the way that will allow you to live your life fully?
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