Episode 81: Your "Ah Ha" Moments are Your Career and Life Pivot Points

When the Lightbulb Goes on, Your Story Takes Shape

Dr. Carla Cooke might be what you’d call a late bloomer. Her stories about her late teens and early 20s aren’t about a driven, ambitious young woman. She worked hard in whatever job she had, but that often wasn’t enough to break through barriers. It took a painful experience with racism for her to realize her first calling to counseling and psychology. She knew there was more to that behavior than what she could see, and her compassion for every being was on full display.

She started to see her gifts as an intuitive and active listener and observer as her calling. Once she figured out the nature of these skills, she was highly motivated to learn more and grow to help others.

After decades of helping people through her counseling practice, she started to feel too comfortable. Not bored, though what she was doing in her work no longer excited her as it used to. She still loved it, she still valued it, but the day-to-day work didn’t fit the same way it. During our conversation, we used the analogy of clothes she wore 20 years ago: They still fit, but differently. Things have shifted.

She was asked to present a session at a women’s event and jumped at the opportunity. My favorite part of our conversation was this story:

As Dr. Cooke was walking the hallways of the conference venue, a participant walked up to her to have a conversation. This participant hadn’t actually attended her session, but said she felt like she had benefitted from it. She had been in discussions with women who were there, and the session was so insightful and relevant that the discussions were carrying over into buzzing, energetic conversations with women who didn’t attend it.

The women said to Dr. Cooke: “You need to do this more. This topic is important and you make a difference!”

It took her a few days to process what happened, and to choose to make a substantial shift in her practice and her business, but it didn’t take long once she made that choice. And it didn’t take long for her to realize she was absolutely on the right path, the one where she could and did make the positive impact on people’s lives that she KNEW was her calling this time around.

Connect with Dr. Carla Cooke on LinkedIn, check out her website to learn more, and I highly recommend her workbook, On Being Well.

Episode 79: Some of Your Stories are Totally False

"Just be happy! It's a beautiful day!"

Those words spoken by a family member were completely lost on a teenaged Courtney Ackerman facing depression and anxiety. Not only were they lost, they caused some damage to the relationship.

Depression wasn't just an illness for Courtney, it was also a source of curiosity.

Use Humor to Engage and Connect

Storytelling is Best with an Element of Humor

Ron Feingold, like other brilliant and well-know, but not necessarily famous comedians, has worked for nearly 30 years to make people laugh, to entertain them, and to connect with them for the brief time he has on stage for each show.

Every story he shares has some element of humor in it, though sometimes it's subtle. What I love about his style is that he's doing his own thing. He's not trying to be like anyone else. He's also combining comedy with his love for music, something unique and very entertaining.

There are pivotal moments in our lives that we recognize immediately, and that we know within seconds that they have changed us and how we see the world - and ourselves. But most of our pivotal moments aren't that obvious. Most of them are hidden in our brains until an experience that may feel similar happens to wake the memory and bring it to the conscious mind. I love discovering those moments with people, uncovering them and making necessary adjustments in order to take responsibility for our current actions and decisions.

The first pivotal moment Ron shared in this episode was one he didn't necessarily know would change his world, but after processing it for a few weeks and months, he was able to identify it as a turning point.

That first story might just take you back to a similar experience, one where a virtual stranger offered time, patience, kindness and wisdom at exactly the moment you needed those things. I know it brought back a couple of memories for me. Your lesson may be different; my lesson was simply a reminder to be as present and engaged as I can when I see someone who needs that same time, patience, and kindness. A moment of kindness like that can truly be the difference between life and death.

I'll be curious to hear your thoughts about this conversation, please let me know if you have a memory pop into your head that is similar, and maybe the lesson you can take from it now, possibly decades later.

Ron Feingold is a comedian and musician, and always has an entrepreneurial idea in his head. You can find more information about him, and even book him for your next event by visiting his website. My favorite thing he does is "The Power of the Smile", exactly the inspirational performance that any organization will appreciate at a conference or training.

You can also connect with him on LinkedIn, and please take a few minutes to enjoy this: