The Art of the Career Pivot with Executive Coach Nicole Jones

The Art of the Career Pivot with Executive Coach Nicole Jones

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I’m a mom I’m a wife I was in a you know
a vice president or senior director and best relation corporate communications
like that’s that’s what I identified myself as being and I think what we
allow society to do is to constantly throw those labels your way and then in
your mind you’re like up this is what i do i do investor relations or corporate
communications I’m a wife I’m a mom I’m a sister I’m a daughter like I’m a
friend we just have these labels that we identify with but that’s not our purpose
our purpose is something that you’re passionate about our purpose is what you
want to get up for every single morning Welcome to YourBrilliance.com
I’m your host Amy Waterman so have you ever been in one of those situations
where everything was going along just fine and then something happens you lost
your job or a family member got sick or you just realize that you aren’t happy
anymore it can be really hard to figure out what
to do next because you’ve been operating on autopilot all this time just going
through the motions and now you’ve got these big decisions to make are you
going to keep living life the way you’ve been living is or are you going to take
a risk and go off in a completely different direction our guest for today
was in that exact same situation and in just a moment you’re going to find out what
she decided her story might just help you sort through the confusion and come
to clarity about who you are now what you want and what those next steps
should be Nicole Jones is a classically trained vocalist with a BA in music from
the University of Virginia she moved to Boston to study jazz vocal performance
at Berklee College of Music where she took a receptionist position in a
financial firm in between gigs numerous promotions and pivots later she ended up
back in Virginia where she’s currently a master of the pivot, a certified
executive coach, and CEO of Nicole Jones coaching
welcome, Nicole!
Hi Amy it’s nice to see you so
I want to start out with your story – this is so great – you lost your job in August
of 2016 and it was the best thing that ever happened to you how’s that possible
right yes I was working at a company in Massachusetts and I was doing Investor
Relations and corporate communications that was my career basically for a
little bit over 15 years I was working at a cancer company and unfortunately
our Phase two trial completely bombed and I knew at that time that they were
gonna have a RIF they were gonna lay off probably 50 60 percent of the company
and I knew that I was probably going to be one of those people and so when I got
called in by the CEO and CFO you know those call those conversations are tough
right you have to tell people that you’re no longer gonna be working here
that means you’re not gonna have to pay the health benefits you’re not gonna
have food for your table right and when I came in they were like we really need
to talk to you and I kind of said you know what guys it’s okay like save that
for someone who is really going to be upset I believe this is the nudge that I
needed to potentially pivot and do something else and they were like what
is that else what do you mean you’re gonna be doing something else but in
that moment I almost felt like freedom I’d been working really really hard and
I when I say hard it was just like hours grueling hours more than 40 hours a week
and obviously as we were positioning and getting ready for what we thought was
going to be a successful announcement of the trial I knew that was going to be
shifting my headspace to a Phase three to more traveling talking to investors
and that kind of thing so really had no moment to breathe and at that moment I
felt like it was like an ah-hah, like, exhale, it’s okay and so it was very interesting
because I I don’t think that I had been laid off before it was before I had our
child it was a week before we had our baby and at that moment I was kind of
like oh my gosh this is awful but I had something to keep me busy I knew
that I had a new little guy that I was going to be taking care of in this case I
had nothing in this case it was just going on a buildup I think over the
years of I think I need a break I think I need something new so one of my nice
things about that even though it’s really not nice at the time is that it
forced your hand it forced you to make a different decision for a lot of people
they’ve got they’ve got this sense something needs to change they’ve got
the sense that there’s more they could be doing but they are on autopilot
everything’s going along normal they think well you know maybe once I retire
maybe once the kids leave home maybe then I can achieve my dream how do
people know when it’s time to make a change I mean the short answer you don’t
know and what I mean by that is I think there’s there’s this thing that you get
over it’s like how do you know it’s the right time how do you know it’s it’s the
next step and I don’t believe you you actually know the time but what I can
say is that there is a feeling that if you keep thinking about that if it never
leaves then I believe that’s something that you should be doing sometimes we
just have a thought sometimes we think it may be a hobby and if you keep seeing
things aligned you keep getting asked to do certain things to be part of
something I think there’s a moment where you start listening to that voice the
whisper becomes the scream and over my career that’s I think what culminated I
would always have people wanting to talk to me about you know how do I approach
they’re my manager how do I approach you know one of my peers and then I worked
with CEOs and CFOs and they’re always asking me things so over time you start
thinking like is it just what it is just surface we just take it for surface like
someone just needs my help or is it really that knock that says you
know what this keeps coming up it’s not going anywhere and I think that belly
turning it’s not going anywhere is when you start realizing I probably need to
look at this a little bit more yes I completely agree it’s
you’re stuck and there’s no chance of things changing so the problem is though
is that one of the things about being stuck that’s actually quite good is that
if you keep doing what you’re doing you know exactly where you stand right if
you stay in this career you know exactly how things are gonna play out you have a
sense of security even though it’s not your dream whereas if you take a risk
you have no clue what’s gonna happen you might just shoot yourself in the
foot how do we know if that risk is gonna pay off I mean do we know that the
risk is gonna pay off by staying in what we are in every single day I mean we we
do know that if I say in this job I can probably get another job right but I
also was in that job and did I think I was gonna get laid off probably not
I think there’s I think there are risk that we don’t think about there right
close to us and that’s one of them are we do go and get comfortable in our
day-to-day but what was interesting about this is I believe when you believe
it’s the right decision the risk dissipates and what I mean by that is
I’m not you could ask anyone that knows me I am NOT a risk-taking person I play
by the books I play by the rules the policies that that’s who I am and I
think in some regards we those policies those those rules regulations or
whatever you know keep us inside the box keep us inside those four corners where
we sometimes don’t want to open up the box or open up the door and be like hey
I just want to test and see what else is out there I just want to look right and
oftentimes we’re just like you said we just kind of like doing our routine
thing every single day get up go to work drop the kids off whatever your routine
is that you don’t have that space sometimes to take a step back and say
huh is this really what I want to be doing and so when I made that decision I
personally didn’t think it was a risk because I felt like something needed to
change but also at that time I felt like everything finally aligned for me and
was like you know what this is always been your purpose now you just need to
step into it how do we
that so that is fantastic because it gave you the space to really have that
ability to think about what you wanted what about people who are uncomfortable
they are stuck is not going to go anywhere but they don’t know what to
step into next right they don’t know what their purpose is or maybe what’s
happened to them is they had a purpose like their purpose was their job and the
company folded their purpose was being a wife and they got divorced they don’t
have a sense of purpose in where it’s been taken away how do they figure out
what those next steps are well I think you know that’s a that’s a great
question because what I think about that is is that a purpose or is that how
you’re identifying yourself right I’m a mom I’m a wife I was in a you know a
vice president or senior director or invest relation corporate communications
like that’s that’s what I identified myself as being and I think what we
allow society to do is to constantly throw those labels your way and then in
your mind you’re like up this is what I do i do Investor Relations or corporate
communications I’m a wife I’m a mom I’m a sister I’m a daughter like I’m a
friend we just have these labels that we identify with but that’s not our purpose
our purpose is something that you’re passionate about our purpose is what you
want to get up for every single morning and for me the way that I believe people
need to kind of get back into what is my purpose is think about what you liked
when you were a kid you know when you were a kid I remember sitting around and
talking to friends and circles like what do you want to do when you grow up I
don’t know I want to be a doctor I don’t know I want to be a mom I want to be a
nurse like people always had something they wanted to say about what they
wanted to do when they grow up and what is odd but not odd now that I look back
is that I wanted to be a pediatrician the outsource of that is helping
children I wanted to help someone okay and when I look back on my career and
things that I’ve done it’s always been in
spaces where I help someone and so transitioning from that to where I am
today when I decided to take that leap I’m like I’m still helping people but
this these are the types of people that I really want to help now now I know my
purpose this is what I need to be do so I have a question about purpose does
your purpose have to be your job or can it be your hobby or you know something
something you do on the side you have to make your purpose into your career you
don’t have to but what I do believe is that sometimes when that job starts not
getting as exciting as you want it to be every day then you know your purpose is
probably still that hobby that’s sitting beside you you know your purpose
typically keeps you in the game it makes you excited there’s fire burning in that
belly but when something starts not feeling quite right do you need to shift
your purpose do you need to dig deeper to make sure that is your purpose but
but I do believe that you can have the hobby and that can be a good outlet for
those moments when you feel you really need to be close to that but I don’t
know how much that passion will come out when you’re doing something that may not
truly align and look I understand sometimes we have to do things because
we have to do things we have to pay bills we need to pay student loans or
what have you I hear you but I do believe most people that I deal with or
talk to when they are really living their purpose they’re so much more happy
so I have another question about that because it sounds great to believe that
we can have a career that aligns with our purpose and to wake up every morning
really excited about our jobs but there are a lot of people in our lives
depending on us and what they want is they want us to stay the same they are
comfortable with who we are they can rely on us they know our schedules
if we say you know what I think I want to change what I’m doing for a living
there can be a lot of pressure to get back where you were how can we get the
support we need from the people in our lives to make these big changes well you
know that’s interesting because I believe a lot of people struggle the
first group of people is your family I believe that’s the biggest role because
they know you the best right your your parents raised you you may have siblings
they think they believe they know you best right and so that’s that’s that can
be a tough battle and sometimes if you have that family backbone that’s not as
strong for you that you maybe thought would be then you really need to look
outside of that support group and shift it to others that will support you they
may be friends or maybe they could be a group of people who are doing what
you’re doing or want to do or they’re just people that are taking their
journey and they’re you know having success the way that they believe
success needs to be in their lives and you’re gleaming and liking some of the
things that they’re doing I think it’s very important to surround
yourself around others that are going to challenge you but also cheer you on at
the same time mentor you know coach along the way so that you don’t
constantly get the berating of like you shouldn’t be doing this this is a risk
you’re not gonna get paid why are you doing this why are you
that’s tiresome and that also will put in your head other people’s thoughts I
call it OPT’s. I got it from one of my friends in the industry
that you then start just believing other people’s thoughts about yourself I’m not
gonna be good enough I’m not gonna make money then all those fears start coming
and all those limiting beliefs and now you’re still where you are a year or two
out instead of saying you know what I appreciate what you have to say but I
need to do what’s right for me and by all means I’m not saying that’s easy you
got to do some hard work to get to the purpose to really want to
forward to be whom you feel you want to be it’s hard work so part of that work
can be done a lot easier if you’ve got a support team behind you and also if
you’ve got a coach you do executive coaching you help people go through this
process of clarifying their purpose and living their purpose talk to us a little
bit about how coaching can help so you know I think some people have a myths
about coaching it’s funny because when someone says oh what do you do and if I
don’t say I’m an executive coach if you just say coach a lot of people will say
oh what sport do you coach and I’ll go no I’m not talking about
sports but you know a coach is really there to hold your agenda we’re not a
therapist you know we’re not a mentor we are someone who is there to walk side by
side with you to hold this space to help you move your agenda forward
we ask the questions that others may not or want to ask you but we dig to get you
to understand where you believe you want to go so working with the coach is very
much a person where you’re sitting you’re sitting with me and you start
talking about the things that you want to do and through clarifying questions
with these people you start realizing that maybe where they want to go or when
you clarify and give it back to them in their words they may decide I think I
can’t believe I’ve been thinking this all this time that’s not what I want to
do and it’s very interesting because you’ll have highly successful people
that really know what they wanted you going forward and they’re moving down
this path and this is what I’m gonna do and sometimes one question one question
at the start of the engagement all of a sudden derails what they’ve
been thinking it’s because a lot of people don’t say things haven’t written
something out haven’t actually talked about it but we’re really good at
keeping it in our head and saying that I want to do this I want to do I think I
want to do this this is probably the route that I want to take but we haven’t
communicated it why because we don’t want to hear whatever
buddy else has to say they could judge them right and so coming to a coach it’s
like it’s judge-free. You can tell me anything you can say anything and I’m
gonna be like okay if that’s what you feel you want to do
that’s great let’s get started we set up a plan we start thinking about ways to
move you forward but in those moments what I always try to tell people is that
there could be some areas where we start seeing you’ve been fighting against
yourself and those are the areas of the inner voice the areas of the limiting
the beliefs the assumptions and the interpretations that really keep people
where they’ve been and in order to really kind of open the floodgates you
have to kind of delve a little bit deeper to make sure you understand
what’s going on with some of those so for those of you watching if you would
like to try personal coaching, if you’d like to work with Nicole, talk to Nicole, we have a link for you just go to yourbrilliance.org/nicole
that’s yourbrilliance .org/nicole. Thank you, Nicole,
for coming on to the show and I wondered if you had any less message you’d like
to leave our viewers with sure the one thing that I would like to say is you
know what you always hear people say follow your heart and what does
that really really mean? there’s a period of time where I do believe your heart
and your head need to align so that you can decide to move yourself forward and
just listen to your voice at the end of the day words matter and people matter
so know that you matter and move forward and excellence thank you thank you so
much and thank you out there for watching and we hope to see you again
soon until then let your brilliant shine you you

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