You Can Do Anything...Especially Today

I had a client, who I'll refer to as Lynn, who had been let go in a downsizing. She was trained as a lawyer and worked as a compliance officer in a bank.

Losing a job is an emotional experience -- it can involve a real sense of loss -- but it also offers the chance to take stock and look at one's life. In my first meeting with a client, I usually say: "You've lost your job, and we'll deal with the emotions associated with that. But, it's also an opportunity to look at the life you want to create. What kind of life do you want?" I watch the eyes of my clients flicker as they glimpse possibilities.

That's exactly what I said to Lynn in our first meeting. She answered: "I want to be a compliance officer in a bank." I thought, really? Because Lynn came across as a very dynamic, high energy woman, the kind of person who walks into a room and makes an impact. Lynn, a compliance officer? I couldn't see it.

So, I answered: "OK Lynn, that's fine. But, you can do anything. You don't have to be a compliance officer any more."

She assured me that being a compliance officer is exactly what she wanted to do. Every week we met and talked about her positioning, wrote her resume, created her networking strategy, compiled her list of targets, and did all those things one normally does in a traditional job search. And, every week, I would say to her: "You know, Lynn, you don't have to be a compliance officer any more. You can do anything."

Finally, in our tenth week, she came into my office with a HUGE smile on her face and something in her lap. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "What's up?"
Lynn: "I know what I want to do."
Me: "Great...what is it?"
And, at that point, she lifted a book off her lap and said "DOGS. I want to work with dogs." (DOGS was the title of the book.)

I was surprised. She had never said anything about dogs before.

It turns out that she had five dogs, and had always harbored the dream that she would start a pet care company for dogs. So, that's what she did.

She started out small -- creating steady income streams one at a time. She began by walking her friends' dogs and then expanded her dog walking services. Then she began to sharpen groomers' scissors in her kitchen. The next step was to add a breeder referral service. She had three diverse income streams. Then she began to get some media attention and started her own branded column on pet care for a local media channel. Her business has evolved to where she designs the care of pets -- mostly dogs -- for celebrities and high profile working professionals who want pets but don't really have the time to care for them. She provides a kind of "nanny service" for dogs. She loves her work and her clients love her service.

What does this mean for you?


I want you to pretend that you are my client. You are sitting in my office with me, and I say to you: "You don't need to do __________________ any more. You can do anything."

What would you say to me? I'm listening...

1) Write down what you would do if you could do anything (and if money was no obstacle).

2) Pretend that you are going to commit to doing this work. What's the first step you would take? How could you create a small, but steady income stream to begin? Are there other income streams you could add?

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