Let Inspiration Lead To Big Life Changes

Written By Deborah Brown-Volkman

Many people hope to find a magic formula that will transform their careers. The truth is they’ll never find what they’re seeking because they’re looking outward when the answer is within.

Last year, I took the biggest leap of my life. I left the corporate world to turn my passion and side business — coaching — into a full-time business. Until then, I worked full time as a marketing executive while coaching clients in the evening and on weekends. My schedule was hectic, but rewarding.

Over time, I began to enjoy my day job less and my coaching more. The feeling I received from motivating and empowering people to be their best didn’t leave me when I went to work on Monday mornings. Eventually, I knew it was time for a change.

As it happened, I chose to start a full-time business a few months prior to Sept. 11, 2001. When the economy took a turn for the worse, many of my short- and long-term clients couldn’t afford my services and let me go. Prospective clients loved my ideas and believed I could help them, but lacked the funds to pay me. I was dazed, confused and without a regular paycheck.

But my coaching business survived and a year later, it’s still growing. What has kept me going is inspiration. This means knowing deep down that helping people with their careers is what I’m supposed to do with my life. It’s the belief and faith in myself that I’ll make this business work, no matter what. When I speak to clients about their careers, I know I’m making a difference in their lives. To me, there’s no better feeling. Seeing the transformation in their lives transforms my own.

What’s Inspiration?

People ask me what inspiration means. I tell them that inspiration is an almighty force that arises from inside. It lights you up and gives you more power than you ever expected. It’s what pushes me to pick up the phone, write another letter or send out another e-mail when I don’t expect a response. To help my clients find inspiration, I ask them to recall a time in their career when they were excited and energized because everything was going their way. I challenge them to apply that feeling to where they are today.

So, How Did I Get Inspired?

First, I stopped comparing myself to others. I realized that comparison was the root of my suffering. Everyone has a hard-luck career story to tell, so I knew I wasn’t unique. Comparing myself to other people was self defeating and unproductive. Once I understood this, I stopped it immediately.

I also realized that I was more than my career and how much money I had in the bank. Recognizing that my career is part of who I am, but not the entire picture, has been one of the greatest gifts I’ve given myself.

I stopped worrying, because I knew it wouldn’t get me where I wanted to be any faster and wasn’t the best use of my time. I began taking time out for me. I knew that I couldn’t handle small and large tasks if I didn’t take care of myself.

These steps helped me to feel positive and believe in myself, clearing the way for inspiration. Next, I got into action. I looked at what was working in my business and what wasn’t. I evaluated my strengths and started working on a plan to address my weaknesses. I took classes on how to sell and network. I started a coaches’ group in my area so I would be around people who were in similar situations. I wrote down my goals as if they already had happened. I visualized my success and kept moving forward regardless of the obstacles I faced. I was determined to succeed.

What Will Change

No matter what difficulties you’re facing in your career, becoming inspired is your answer. The challenges and roadblocks you’ll overcome will amaze and delight you. What will you do differently when you feel positive and believe in yourself?

  1. You’ll call people you were afraid to call. You’ll pick up the phone and have conversations that get others excited. You’ll articulate exactly what you want and be amazed as the person you called offers to help you.
  2. You’ll send e-mails you’ve been afraid to send. You’ll stop telling yourself that people are too busy to read your e-mail. You’ll write and send notes that inspire others to take action, and they will. Your creative powers will be at their height and words will flow easily.
  3. You’ll mail letters you’ve been afraid to mail. You’ll find yourself buying fine paper so your thoughts will stand out. Addresses of people you want to contact will be easy to locate. The people you write to will read your letters because they want to know more about the passionate person who wrote them.
  4. You’ll meet people you’ve been afraid to meet. You’ll network with people you have avoided, describing eloquently what you want. Those you contact will understand and refer you to someone else. You’ll enjoy yourself and be comfortable around people you don’t know. Your magnetism will cause people to want to know you and be the catalyst that creates the relationship.
  5. You’ll have conversations you’ve been afraid to have. You’ll ask close friends and relatives for the support you need to move forward. You’ll apologize for expecting them to read your mind and take responsibility for your relationships. You’ll acknowledge them for their importance to you and tell them what you want and why you need it from them. They’ll appreciate your honesty and lend a hand.


Inspiration will help you to conquer your fears and change your life for the better. To become inspired, put your disappointments behind you. They serve only to hold you back. Recognize that your career will get better when you take responsibility for making it better. Write your vision on paper and look at it daily. Finally, create and write down a plan for reaching your goal. After all, you only have one life to live, so it might as well be a life you love.

— Ms. Brown-Volkman is president of Surpass Your Dreams Inc., a career and mentor coaching company, and author of “Coach Yourself To A New Career: A Book To Discover Your Ultimate Profession.”

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Deborah Brown-Volkman, PCC
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