Transforming: crossing the chasm of transition – part 1


Now I know, more or less, what I want to do. Let’s say I have a direction. I’m going to focus on coaching and training – leveraging my passion for organizational and people development. How and where do I begin? And by the way, I’m going to need to earn some money while I am figuring all this out. How am I going to do that?

If you have come this far in the process, hopefully you either have a comfortable nest egg or you still have your day job. Because you are only at the beginning of moving to your new career.  Career change requires transition because you’ve got to find ways to break into your new career path, but that may take time and focused effort. Bills don’t go away during that time.

Have a plan – be willing to change it

So, I built a transition plan. Let me say this. I am a firm believer in having a plan – being able to work step by step towards an objective is critical to my sanity. But I am still learning the same lesson over and over again. When you decide to change careers, you begin an adventure. It’s not the kind of adventure that is well plotted and logistically sound from the get go. It’s the kind of adventure where you’re searching for the lost kingdom in the jungle. You don’t know exactly where you want to end up – you just head out in a general direction with an ideal of what you are trying to find. So, yes you plan, but you adapt and change your plan from day to day.

Figure out how you will pay the bills

I calculated that if I worked a portion of the year, I could earn enough money to pay my bills for most of the rest of the year. I stumbled my way into a 5-month contract, with IBM. I took on a role that was significantly less responsibility than the executive role I had before. This enabled me to be able to focus outside of work on the transition. If you are consumed by your day job, it’s to have the energy to transition in parallel.


I wanted to get some more education on being a coach. So, I explored certifications and programs. The possibilities were endless. I researched to find the biggest industry norms and leaders in coaching. Then I looked for programs that would be recognized by the industry leaders in a formal certification process. I ended up following a 12-week program which met twice a week in the evening for 3 hours. It included not only the basic foundations of coaching, but recommendations and steps to follow to set up a coaching business.

Start trying things

I also kicked off the year by launching my blog. I didn’t know exactly how to structure it or what I was going to write about. But I started writing a couple blogs a week, and a few themes started to emerge. I began to sketch out what my business would look like. Because I was more interested in career and life coaching (versus executive coaching), I knew I would need to have more than just coaching clientele to earn the living I wanted. So, it was going to be important establish a training side of the business.

I knew writing was going to be part of the equation too, but wasn’t really sure what role it would play. I built my first website with a web-developer who had just graduated from Furman at the time, my daughter’s boyfriend. I knew before I was even half way through that this first site was not going to last very long. But I needed to get started.

I launched my site around Labor Day. I had built out content, an initial structure and I was off and running. Now came the hard part. Knowing what to do with my time every day. I had some basic structure set up. How to get to the next step/level? I was working on a potential workshop project. I was blogging and trying to keep up a social presence. I was learning SEO and optimizing the blogs I had already written. I had a book in my head. I decided I was going to use some of my time every day to get it on paper. And oh, by the way, I was also looking for my next stable income!

Stay tuned for the final blog in the series – Transforming: crossing the chasm of transition – part 2.