I would like to share with you the personal story of one of my coaching clients. This story provides an excellent lesson about the financial challenges of making career transitions to a non-clinical career. It’s a lesson from which everyone can benefit.
Dr. X came to seek CPPR coaching several years ago in an advanced stage of professional burnout. This physician had, in fact, been on a disability leave of absence from practice due to the severity of burnout symptoms. Once in coaching, it came to the surface that Dr.X’s true lifelong passion had always been fiction and poetry writing, not science or healing. After further work together in coaching, Dr. X resolved to make creative writing a career.
Significant concerns arose at that time around money. How could Dr. X and spouse survive without the usual income from medical practice and in an environment of uncertain demand and money for fiction writing? In addition, uncertainty whether or not Dr. X’s spouse would be able to pick up the slack financially and help to replace the income Dr. X was about to give up was troubling. There was talk of moving to a smaller, less expense part of the country in order for them to survive financially. Dr. X agreed that if they were not succeeding financially after two years, Dr. X would return to some form of clinical work. Both of them were fearful of making these painful and risky choices.
Two years later, Dr. X has succeeded dramatically. The writing has led to numerous publications of short stories and poetry in local, regional and national venues. Dr. X is also nearing completion of a book-length fictional story that should be published next year and bring in royalty income! Dr. X’s spouse has been extremely supportive, turning up the career pace to earn several promotions and working full-time. Together, they have worked hard to evaluate their spending patterns and have downsized their lifestyle considerably, eliminating the fluff spending and the impulsive spending. Added income from Dr. X’s spouse, resulting from the promotions, has permitted them to keep their present home without moving. And, both of them are feeling increased self-esteem, personal fulfillment, and improved intimacy in their partnership together. Not bad, huh?
Of course this couple was willing to take big risks in order to achieve their vision for increased career fulfillment. The major steps they succeeded in taking included:
- Committing to fully support each other.
- Committing to help each other pursue their best.
- Reassessing their mutual values and goals.
- Being open to modifying their lifestyle in order to succeed.
- Each taking responsibility to support the other.
Let the success of this couple be an inspiration to us all! Think about how you and your partner can use this story to guide your life and decision making. Remember that “leaning into the wind” (taking risks) and taking leaps of faith (when the outcome is not guaranteed) are both frequently necessary on the road to a successful career transition and personal fulfillment. It is through these inherently spiritual steps that the true “juice of life” begins to flow into our lives.