“I’m not a career coach.”  I uttered these words to an acquaintance yesterday, after an event, where the speaker (a friend) had just finished talking about career reinvention. Photo by Erich Ferdinand.

That’s an odd thing to say for someone who has made her living for the last 13 years by helping professionals find more meaningful work.

But it’s true. I’m not a career coach.  What am I then? I’ll get to that, but first some background.

I seem to help others with whatever I’ve just been through myself.

After I changed careers, from 20 years as an engineer to career coach and writer, I helped others make career shifts.  I started my business, Carol Ross and Associates in 2003.

After I built a following, and established my brand with a clear story, I helped others do the same.  In 2013, I created the tagline, “I help misfits find their place in the world” and re-branded under Stand Out and Belong. I emphasized Self-Mastery, Story, and Tribe as the elements for walking your own path. I still identified with being a career coach, although a pretty non-traditional one.

After the last 18 months of immersing myself in Great Story work, I have plumbed the depths of my inner world. I have uncovered more of how I get in my own way, by studying the ways of my Negative Ego. I have experienced the beauty, grace and courage to be connected to all of my emotions, including ones that I’ve been denying for decades. I have created magic, through my resonance.

If all of this sound esoteric, it’s not. Becoming intimate with my inner world has impacted my daily life, my relationships, my business. Each day, I step more into of my Great Story, one where I let go of proving, use my emotions as breadcrumbs back to my whole self, and learn about forgiveness.  I am experiencing, in a way I have never before experienced, how I am the author of my story.

As I have dismantled self-sabotaging patterns of thought, feeling and behavior, I help others to do the same. As I have created magic, by focusing on my resonance, so have my clients.  As I have been able to hold more light, so it is for those I serve.

This brings me back to the realization of my shifting identity.  I’m not a career coach.  The work I do helps professionals step into the job of their dreams. However, I don’t care what your resume looks like. I abhor elevator pitches. I think it’s nice to take an inventory of your skills and your likes and dislikes from past jobs. But that’s just an attempt to satisfy your Negative Ego that you are doing something productive. It’s scratching the surface of something that is much more profound: What you came here to do matters. Your life is a reflection of a soul-designed purpose.

Yeah, I know the skeptic in your head when you hear words like “soul” and “what you came here to do”.  She lived in my head for many years. I kicked her out a few months ago.  She stopped paying the rent. The eviction was long overdue.

My skeptic was the part of me who didn’t want to be disappointed. That’s what would happen if I bought into a higher power, a more grand design of my life that is cloaked in mystery. What if there was nothing there? It would be like discovering that the Wizard of Oz was just an ordinary man behind the curtain. Ouch.

What I know now is that my connection to a higher power allows me to stand  on higher ground.  I help others find their way to higher ground. When this happens they can see more, be more, get that dream job, live that ideal life. They step into their Great Story and experience the joy and responsibility of intentionally creating their reality, while working in partnership with the unseen. Yeah, that’s another word to throw at your skeptic, “unseen”.

This is a long way from the title of “Career Coach”.  What do I call myself instead?

I’m not quite sure.

What I am sure of is that I’m not a career coach.

What I know is that I help those who feel lost in the wilderness of their career. And that in guiding them to higher ground, healing happens and truth gets uncovered.  That makes me smile.

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