It’s my 58th birthday today. And I want to reflect on how vastly different my life is today versus just a few years ago.
When I turned 52, I was still living in Bethesda, Maryland. Exactly six months before, I had lost my job. I was thinking about both becoming a full time coach and moving across the country. I had a coach of my own, but no paying clients. We had looked at houses in Carbondale, a mountain town near Aspen. but were struggling to find something in our price range. My severance was about to run out.
Yes, there was a lot of uncertainty.
Six years later, we are settled in Carbondale, I have a full time executive coaching practice, I am making more money than I did at my corporate job, and my business is still growing and evolving.
A lot of people ask me how I did that.
In a very real sense, the answer is because I had to.
I consciously chose to move to an area where there was no fallback. There were times where we thought we might have to give up the house and move to an area where there were jobs that were more like my old one.
To say that I was feeling like a failure at that point is an understatement. It was bleak.
What kept me going? The determination to succeed no matter what. And there was more to do than I ever thought when I started.
I had a TON of conversations to completely reeducate my network. I had to figure out what coaching was, how I was going to do it, whom I was going to help.
I had to develop my craft as a coach. I had to develop the confidence that I could help people. I had to get over my fear of saying things that someone might not like, that might even provoke them, in the name of serving them.
I wrote hundreds if not thousands of blog and LinkedIn posts. I posted videos. I got transparent with my struggles and my insights along the way. I constantly looked for things that made me uncomfortable and did them.
Most of the conversations I had went nowhere. Most of the proposals that I made were not accepted. The vast majority of emails I sent went unanswered.
But I kept going. I kept learning. I chose to think of those things not as failures, but as information. I evolved. I stretched. I grew.
And slowly but steadily the business grew.
Every situation presented a choice—to quit or to adapt. I chose the latter, over and over again.
I chose to learn from the failures and keep going. And that has made the difference.
I was listening to a podcast interview yesterday about how entrepreneurs often do better than established companies because they are willing to try over and over again in the face of failure.
That definitely rang true for me
I’m assuming this isn’t your birthday (though I do have one old Hewitt friend who shares my birthday).
But whenever you hit a particularly important milestone, ask yourself—
Where have you failed and then given up?
And where have you learned and kept moving forward?