I was lucky enough to meet Jen when I was being certified as a professional coach. She and I were in the same “pod”. And while Jennifer lives in Canada and we have never met face to face, she is one of my closest friends and has helped me tremendously with my business.Her website can be found here.
Jennifer is one of the most inspiring, motivating and business savvy people I know. Her path to finding what she was made for is a very interesting one. Can you believe this girl was a firefighter?
Here is her story:
Tell me about what you do for work.
I’m a business strategist / life coach who helps women entrepreneurs rock their business and create a life that they totally love.
What type of work were you doing prior to what you are doing now?
I feel like I did a million things before finally figuring out what I was meant to do. I worked in the retail & hospitality industry for years while going through school. I became a Personal Trainer as that was a great fit with my education (MSc Exercise Physiology), then I became a firefighter and rappelled out of helicopters to fight forest fires. I was a Provincial Research Coordinator for a major research project. I worked for a not for profit as a Provincial Physical Activity Coordinator. And my last job before I finally said yes to becoming an entrepreneur was being a Pharmaceutical Hospital Sales Rep. It was a long and windy road…
What kinds of frustrations did you have with your previous job?
I was bored. I didn’t like being in an office. I didn’t like working for someone else. I never felt like I was using my skill set to the maximum. I didn’t like sales. I was great at policy work but hated the bureaucracy. I absolutely loved being a firefighter but it’s seasonal and not a family friendly kind of job.
I just never felt like I got to bring all of “me” to the table and I’m not someone who’s able to compartmentalize my life. When things were sucky with work I felt like it totally affected the rest of my life – my relationship, my health, everything.
How did you come to discover this was what you were meant to do?
Like I said, it was a long and windy road but I never settled and it would have been sooooo easy to do that. No matter what position I was in I was “successful” and always quick to get promoted. These jobs were often AMAZING jobs on paper – great salary, great benefits, fun perks (I got to go to Paris for a National Sales Meeting and eat dinner on the Eiffel Tower – that sounds pretty great right?) but no matter what it was I knew I hadn’t found my “thing” yet…so, I kept reading, I worked on myself and I continued to talk to people.
One day, my friend and I were talking and looking at the common denominator in each of my jobs and it hit me – I spent the majority of my time working with my colleagues helping them develop their careers while at the same time encouraging them to go after their own personal goals. I remember it like it was yesterday – my girlfriend looked at me and said “You are a born coach! This is totally what you’re here to do”. So, TA-DA — Coaching!!! I found it. I registered in the next available coach training and that was it. I’ve never looked back.
What fears did you have to overcome to take the leap?
Honestly, I was blindly naive at first. I just leapt! Well, truthfully – I was pregnant while I was doing my coach training and so I knew that I’d have my mat leave (12 months) to work on my business. That gave me a bit of a cushion. But I truly didn’t know the adventure I was embarking on. I just figured I’d become a coach, have clients, feel like I was doing amazing work in the world and that would be that. Within about six months it hit me that I had a lot to learn. I decided to not go back to work anyways. I knew I was meant to be a coach and my heart wouldn’t be in anything else.
Along the way I’ve had to overcome my fear of “not knowing” how to do stuff and just jump in and do it and learn on the way. I’ve had to stop comparing myself to every other coach out there. I’ve had to get over my fear of looking stupid and of failing. I’ve had to stop worrying about what “everybody” might think. What I realize now is that I took that first leap and I continue to take leaps all the time. That’s the joy of being an entrepreneur!
What do you love most about what you do?
There’s something about knowing I’ve helped changed the course of a person’s life that gets me the most. That’s what I love. It’s seeing people push past their own limiting beliefs and rock their business and feel so good about what they’re doing in life. Watching someone live life on purpose is a powerful motivator. My clients inspire me every single day. What more could I ask for?
If you were to give advice to people thinking about changing careers, what would it be?
If you’re thinking of changing careers here are three pieces of advice that you must follow:
a) Trust your gut and don’t settle. If you know that the job you’re in isn’t quite “you” then keep looking. Pay attention to what you’re naturally good at and what you love to do, chances are the right career for you will be related to that.
b) Create your very own personal board of advisors — this should be a small group of your biggest fans/friends/family who believe in you and who support you 100% in going after it. Have support. Allow this group to be your cheer leading team. Making a change, exciting as it can be, it can also feel hard. Have people you can count on to help you through those tough times.
c) Simply do it. There will never be a “right” time to make a change. You will never have enough money, time, energy, patience, assuredness, knowledge, etc. to know you’re doing the “right” thing. Jump. Take the leap. Decide to do it now because at the end of your life, you’ll never regret the things you did do, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do.
What’s that saying? “Jump and the net will appear”….it’s so true.