Author Archive

Taking Control of Your Future: Lessons from a 93 Year Old

Posted February 11, 2020
90sI recently wrote the blog Your 50s Are Your Magic Years!  The premise is there are lots of people in that age group struggling to figure out how to plan for what’s next. I offered a framework to reinforce that they have many gifts to offer and suggested how to take control and move forward with confidence.

I received comments from a lot of folks agreeing with me and also pointing out that people of all ages struggle with the same challenges of being happy, successful, and fulfilled. It’s not just limited to those in their 50s. I wholeheartedly agree!

The most remarkable response came when someone called me and said, “Tim, I want you to be my coach. Can you help me?”

He is 93-years-old.

I have known this man for much of my life but had not seen or spoken with him for over 30 years. I was stunned he was reaching out.

“Why do you want a coach?” I asked.

“Well, I’ve never had a coach, but I think you can help me,” he responded.

“What’s going on?”

“I don’t think I have any value anymore.”

It felt like a punch to the gut.

No value? This guy is a very successful professional who positively impacted the lives of thousands of people throughout his career – including mine. Even as he got older, he never quit working. He told me he “failed at retirement three times.” He was always urged back into service by those who knew what he had to offer.

Things were now difficult for him. He really couldn’t work anymore. He described to me his near blindness, difficulty walking, other health problems, difficulty doing things outside of the house, and several other real challenges.

Through conversations about value, he began to discover ways he does make a difference and deliver value. He also admitted there were things he was not doing that he wanted to, things that would improve both his health and day-to-day feelings of significance.

We meet via phone twice each month, and he updates me on the goals that he established for himself. As his coach, I hold him accountable for those things he wants to do.

His list has included such goals as:

  • Asking his wife to load more books he can listen to on his computer.
  • Using his walker 20-minutes each day to maintain mobility.
  • Consulting with his pastor about the best ways to deliver a virtual ministry for the elderly.
  • Making regular phone calls to longtime friends to stay connected with the people in his life he cares about.

And, one of the most exciting goals was when he decided he wanted to create his own “Personal Board of Directors.” He had done this throughout his career to make sure he was always surrounded by people who he could learn from, solve problems with, and share his wisdom and expertise. However, this time, he reached out to his four young-adult grandsons to be part of this group. He invited each of them to be part of this, and they enthusiastically accepted.

They’ll be meeting monthly. He will lead the Zoom calls using the three powerful questions he used throughout his consulting career: “What is going well? What are you worried about? What would you like to do more of?”

I asked him, “What value will you get out of this project with your grandsons?”

“I will be able to stay better in touch with younger folks and learn from them. I can be sure to stay connected to my family in another way. I know there are struggles they face, and I’m sure there are things I can help them with because of my age and experience.”

It sounds to me like he has quite a bit of value.

This man is taking hold of his life and not sitting back with a “we’ll see” mindset. He recognized he needed something, sought help, and is taking action to move forward even with the genuine challenges he faces.

The 90’s can be your magic years as well.

Why Change Can Be Powerful!

Posted November 12, 2019
Change Can Be PowerfulAre you like many people who shudder at the word “change”? Do you tell yourself and others “I’m just not good with change”? Change can evoke emotions like uncertainty and fear. It’s understandable to be resistant to change.

But, the reality is that The Only Constant in Life is Change. It happens. It’s there – whether we choose it or it chooses us. How we react to it can have a tremendous effect on the outcome of any given situation.

What if you were able to approach change with a different and more powerful mind set? What if you were able to embrace change and even look forward to it? What would be different for you? For those around you?

The dictionary defines change as: the act or instance of making or becoming different. Is that really so scary? Each of us is currently in the process of life and as we experience new things, meet new people, learn new life or career skills…..we are changing. We are becoming different. And in most cases, a better version of ourselves can emerge on the other side!

What if you chose to see change as an OPPORTUNITY? You see, the real way we experience change is how we choose to experience it. What if you thought about it as the opportunity to decide who you want to be? In that moment AND moving forward? A step in the process of your becoming? How would you feel about ANY change if you truly believed that if you put as much energy into leaning into the change as you previously put into swirling in fear – that the outcome would be an improved you and the circumstances surrounding you? Change can be powerful and transformational and cathartic and it can set you on an exciting new path to self-discovery, or more fulfillment, or more success in whatever you choose to do.

Have you ever heard the saying “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got”? The most successful leaders in history have not only embraced change, but created change because they understood that the only way we can truly live is if we grow and we cannot grow without change.

Are you ready to change your relationship with change? Are you ready to change your resistance to change??? Are you ready to stop playing small and start living your life as large as you’d like?

  1. Take a breath.
  2. Ask yourself – “what is the worst thing that could happen?”
  3. Ask yourself – “how likely is that to happen and what if it did?”
  4. You’ll find the answer isn’t as scary as you thought it was.
  5. Take the leap, embrace it, learn about yourself in the process, choose who you want to be.
  6. Repeat.

Every time you exercise your new habit, you’re creating a new reality of how you roll with change and you’ll find out, pretty quickly, that you’ve got this. And you might even love it.

Kerri Ressmeyer is an executive leadership and life coach with 30 years’ of professional leadership experience in the hospitality industry. Through 1:1 coaching, she helps clients align their passions and values to find a greater sense of purpose and fulfillment both professionally and personally.  

 

 

Your 50s are Your Magic Years!

Posted October 1, 2019
50 year oldHi,

Turning 50 is a big deal. What I’ve learned through my coaching – and my personal experience – is the entire 50s decade is a bigger deal. I believe it’s a magical time for leaders who want to figure out what is next.

Many of my initial calls with clients go something like this:

I’ve been successful, but I’m not sure I love what I’m doing anymore or that I want to keep going on the path I’m on. I don’t know what I want to do, and I don’t know how to figure it out. I do know I want to be happier.

More often than not, they are in their 50s (or late 40’s and looking ahead!).

What is really exciting is that as the conversation continues, I hear them shift from being scared or lost to being inspired and motivated to chart a course for the next phase of their life.

If you are in this age group, you have so much going for you:

  • You are still young. Yup. You can potentially live another 40 years. Life isn’t over by a long shot.
  • You have experience. And a lot of it. Whether you have been on a single career trajectory or had many careers, you have (gulp) over 30-years of experience. That’s a lot to build on as you look ahead.
  • You have not only survived, you have thrived. Tenacity, grit, resilience – whatever you want to call it – has been baked into your experience. You have more of it than you think and it will serve you well.
  • You have honed a bunch of skills. You are likely a continuous learner, and have the opportunityto use the runway you have ahead of you to discover new skills while leveraging what you already know.

Nonetheless, there are things getting in your way of gaining the clarity you want. Money, relationships, confidence, passion, etc. are all muddled at this point in time. That’s normal.

It doesn’t mean quitting your current job and doing something dramatically different – although that has been known to happen – it’s about making a plan to start now to gain control of your future.

The good news is there is a way forward!

If this resonates with you, send me an email, share your story, and let me know what’s going on.

If you’re interested in digging deeper into what’s next for you, consider working with me in a very powerful way to gain control and create the lifestyle you want to live.

I work with serious high achievers who want to work hard and invest in themselves to create the future they desire.

I offer three options:

  1. A 12-month, one-on-one coaching program. It includes in-person coaching at the start, middle and end. Scheduled monthly virtual sessions, and unlimited email and text communication are provided throughout the engagement.
  2. A 6-month, one-on-one coaching program. It includes in-person coaching at the start. Scheduled monthly virtual sessions, and unlimited email and text communication are provided throughout the engagement.
  3. A monthly subscription program. We meet together virtually a predetermined number of times each month. We start with a three-month commitment, and the engagement continues indefinitely until your plan is in place or your goals are achieved.

This is not a “follow these 5 steps to happiness” program. It takes a commitment on your part to dig deep to uncover and remove obstacles getting in the way of moving to your next phase. We will chart a course forward together, and I support you throughout the plan.

Don’t leave your greatness on the table! I look forward to hearing from you.

Warmly,
Tim

 

Kickstarting Your Own Onboarding: How to Get Started in a New Role

Posted July 24, 2019
Adult at ComputerI recently wrote another article for Burtch Works’ blog. It is the second part of a two-part series on successful onboarding. Part One examined best practices for companies onboarding new employees. In Part Two, I examine how employees can take charge of their side of the process.

Read the article

Reinvention v. Version Development: Ressmeyer Partners 2.0

Posted June 18, 2019

Reinvention v Version DevelopmentI don’t like the term reinvention with respect to career or life changes. It makes it harder than it needs to be. One definition is to invent again or anew, especially without knowing that the invention already exists. You are starting over unaware that you already have what it takes to seek the happiness, success, and fulfillment you feel you want right now. That makes it harder than it needs to be, and can lead you to not even wanting to try.

Let’s use the ubiquitous “number-dot-o” language instead. We all know when there’s a release of Version 2.0 or 3.0 of an app or program, and we expect it to deliver even more usefulness or cool new bells and whistles. We are excited about it!

The prior learning and experience of Version 1.0 has not been thrown out. The company didn’t reinvent the app. They built on the successes while trimming out the things that didn’t work as well in order to achieve impact in the future.

Your Next Steps

When you are unhappy with your current situation or know you can be or do more, think first of your strengths and successes and aspire and dream for what life would be like if you are living and working every day doing what you love and what you are good at (my definition of passion).

This fear of knowing how to create change for yourself is hard for everyone, including successful leaders. When you have invested so much time into a seemingly single path it’s difficult to know who or what you would be without it.

Don’t try too hard to start from scratch. Get out of your own way. Get out of your own head. You have what it takes to create the 2.0 (or 3.0 or 4.0) version of yourself!

Practicing What We Preach

Ressmeyer Partners is a great example of version development. We are moving into iteration 2.0. Kerri Ressmeyer has left her 30-year career in the restaurant industry to bring those skills and gifts as a Partner in the company. She is building on her leadership and management experience by becoming a Certified Professional Coach.

Six years since founding Ressmeyer Partners, I am continuing to develop coaching expertise with additional training in the areas of neuroscience and deep personal coaching. I will be working with fewer clients in more intensive, transformational year-long engagements.

Another change that is a part of our transformation is our location. Chicago-based for years, we are moving the headquarters to Asheville, North Carolina. The individual client engagements and 1:1 coaching are already primarily done by phone so little will change there. Workshops, corporate engagements, and 1:1 intensive coaching are done in person at the client sites, and Asheville has a great airport; there will just be a stop or two along the way. The new version will also include the opportunity it create innovative new offerings including retreats and travel-based enrichment events.

Remember, we don’t only face change, we create change. Take charge of what your next version will look like!

Contact Tim tim@ressmeyerpartners.com or Kerri kerri@ressmeyerpartners.com for more information about these changes and anything else that is piquing your interest.

My Home Life is Killing Me at Work – and Vice Versa

Posted April 4, 2019
Home Life WorkIt’s hard to do it all.

It’s hard to be your best at work when things are hard at home. It’s hard to be your best at home when things are hard at home.

Carol (C-Suite Exec): “I’m thinking about taking this new job. I’m ok in my current job, but the money in this new one is great.”

Coach: “How will that impact your family?”

“I haven’t told my husband I’m even considering the new job.”

“Why not?”

“We’ve always struggled to talk about financial stuff and other big moves.”

“Why is that?”

“I don’t know. Balancing both our careers, the kids, where we live, who makes more money, and such have always been topics that are hard for us to tackle.”

“How has this played out in the past.”

“Sometimes either one of us have moved down the path alone, and it’s too late to turn back and we just cave. Other times I’ve just looked away from opportunities because I can’t see how we would have productive conversations. I’ll probably do that in this case.”

“What would you like it to be like?

“I’d like to have the confidence to bring it up, and to have a plan for how to navigate these tough conversations. Once we talk about it, it’s typically ok. I just put off having the conversations and it stresses me out.”

+++

James (Business Owner): “Revenue has been down, projections for the new year aren’t good, the Board is all over us, and we have to lay off a bunch of employees in a couple of weeks.

Coach: “That’s a tough spot to be in. No one enjoys that. What are the biggest challenges you see in making those cuts and communicating it to the company?”

“I just have to go ahead and do it, but I’m really stressed and don’t know if I have the energy to handle it well.”

“How come?”

“Things at home have been exhausting and I’m always drained. I’m not spending enough time thinking about the work stuff.”

“What’s going on at home right now?”

“We had to move my dad into a full-time memory care center a couple weeks ago. Mom is struggling with the decision. At the same time we’re trying to get him adjusted, we have to make sure she is doing ok and is able to get to see him. Every time I bring her home from a visit it’s an emotionally devastating for everyone involved.”

“How’s that impacting your wife?”

“She’s super stressed too. And, because of that, I haven’t even told her how bad things are at work. I can’t talk to her about work, and I can’t tell people at the office what’s going on at home. I have to make sure after all these layoffs are made that me and the company are in a good place. I don’t want anyone to think I’m distracted by the personal stuff.”

+++

This is the reality of being a senior leader. You have a big role and you are human being and a wife, husband, partner, son, daughter, parent, friend, uncle, etc. When you are at the top of the pyramid you don’t have a lot of people to talk to. And you have to be in control of your world personally and professionally.

And it is exhausting.

There are four ways you can find ways to strengthen both parts of your life.

  1. Uncover and align with your core values.

You are typically unhappy with your job or relationships if there is misalignment with your core values. Take time to discover your values, ask yourself how aligned are you with them, and then commit to the steps to honor those values.

Let’s say communication is one of Carol’s core values, and she is really good at it when at work. That’s how she has risen to the top of her company and is in high demand elsewhere. Unfortunately she is not living up to that value at home. The result is a great deal of stress and an inability to discuss important situations with her husband.

Family is certainly one of James’ core values. He cares deeply for his parents and is trying to do the best he can in a difficult situation. His connection with his wife, however, is suffering. He is assuming she can’t handle anything more and therefore is withholding the stress he has at work. He doesn’t need for her to fix anything, but by sharing what is going on he can at least benefit from the support from someone who cares.

  1. Create, Repair, Lean Into relationships with your closest circle of support.

Carol and her husband have work to do to overcome the inability to communicate. It’s time to break old patterns. James is afraid to share his work pressure with his wife. In both cases there is a reality that things are hard, as well as a missed opportunity to gain support from those who care for you the most. It might take professional help (see #4 below) and it can also get started by discovering new ways of communicating around challenging topics.

How is it working for you currently? If the answer is, “not so good” it’s time to mix it up.

  1. Don’t make work your only source of identity.

A recent article in the Atlantic describes how work is no longer just a necessity for successful college-educated leaders, but has become “a kind of religion, promising identity, transcendence, and community.” The result is working more hours and having less satisfaction. Historically the wealthiest worked less and had a life of leisure. Now, they are workaholics and despite the money are unhappy.

Be intentional about finding those other things that give meaning to your life outside of the your title or role. Exercise, engaging with churches or civic organizations, volunteering, committing to hobbies, taking time off, travel, giving your family your full attention, etc. are all ways to help develop a holistic view of you and how you fit into the world.

  1. Seek and commit to the professional support you need.

The three points above are great in theory, and are hard to execute, especially if you’re trying to do it alone.

Finding a counselor or therapist will help when there are addiction problems (drinking, gambling), concerns about depression, grief, marital problems, etc. With their professional expertise they will be able to help you understand and address the challenges and offer direction during the challenging times.

Find a coach. The presence and ROI of coaches in the C-suite continues to grow. Coaches help with creating personal awareness, setting goals, taking action, and the accountability to make things happen. It’s tough going through these challenges alone. A coach is that independent third party not connected to the outcome who can hear everything that’s going on without judgment and help support and assist with a plan forward.

Life is complicated and there are so many stressors we encounter. As a professional you have high expectations for yourself as do others. Personally, you have responsibilities and challenges as well. So much of what you do is going well. Find the strategy and support to address those things that are holding you back from being who you want to be.

Tim Ressmeyer is a professional leadership and life coach. He is also the author of The Impact of Confidence: 7 Secrets of Success for the Human Side of Leadership (2018). Available on Amazon.

Article Featured in Burtch Works Blog

Posted March 20, 2019
Burtch WorksBurtch Works, a market research recruiting company, recently featured one of my articles in their blog. Entitled “Onboarding Best Practices: Setting Up New Employees & Leaders for Success”, the article provides insight into the on boarding process and six critical steps for onboarding new employees and leaders.

“For both the leadership team and the new leader, onboarding is too often a missed opportunity. Too much is left to chance, the fragmented process is spread across too many parts of the organization, and there is not enough focus on the individual in question. Too much emphasis is on company structure and systems, and not enough on strengths and success.”

Click here to read the full article.

You Can’t Fix Idiot

Posted March 14, 2019
You Can't Fix Idiot“He’s and idiot.” “She doesn’t get it.” “He’s such a slacker.”  Leaders are not immune from saying such things, hearing them from their team, and allowing them to inform their management decisions.

You can’t fix idiot.

Labeling someone – using judgment terms – is easy when team members are making mistakes or not living up to expectations. What does idiot or slacker really mean? If someone gets labeled as such, it’s actually impossible to work with them to fix the problem. Still worse is if a team or company perpetuates such labeling, you have created an atmosphere of negativity and judgement without a culture in place to address very real problems.

Why do you consider Brian an idiot? Is it because he embarrassed himself and the company at a client meeting? Is it because he wrote an email to a prospective client and misrepresented the cost of the project? Is it because he was at a conference, got drunk and missed the early meeting the next day? Anyone could legitimately say Brian is an idiot. But how helpful is that?

Labeling Brian doesn’t solve the problem. If everyone just thinks of Brian in this way without addressing the underlying behaviors he is likely to carry a stigma that impacts his effectiveness and will likely repeat the behaviors.

Look at the behaviors, not the person.

Brian is an idiot. Isolate the behaviors that Brian exhibited that embarrassed himself in front of the client. Here are some things that can be focused on:

  • Had he prepared content adequately?
  • Did he understand his role in the meeting?
  • Did he have the confidence to speak up when appropriate, and shut up when necessary?

These are all skills that can be addressed through coaching, training, and supervision.

What are the causes of his unfortunate email?

  • Did he research the client’s need and communicate internally to get the right price?
  • Does he manage his time effectively so he’s not sending out important information at the last minute that is subject to errors?
  • Does he cave in to client pressure and compromise pricing intentionally?

The ways to address the problem at the conference should be pretty obvious.

Each of these behaviors that result in the “idiot” label have underlying skills that can be taught to bring about better outcomes if  leaders are willing to step in and address it rather than perpetuating the label.

Linda is a slacker. Look for the behaviors that can be addressed:

  • She doesn’t show up to the office as early as everyone else. Why is this a problem and how can this be addressed?
  • Reports she delivers are often late. How can she be coached or trained to hit deadlines?
  • She doesn’t step up and take on new assignments. How can she understand the impact of her not raising her hand, and what can be done about it?

A culture that revolves around labels of judgment is one of negativity, blame, and shaming. Work to create a constructive atmosphere by looking at the underlying behaviors that have created that label, then work to address them professionally.

Tim Ressmeyer is a professional leadership and life coach. He is also the author of The Impact of Confidence: 7 Secrets of Success for the Human Side of Leadership (2018). Available on Amazon.

Fireside Chat at The Metropolitan’s Entrepreneurs Club

Posted March 1, 2019
Fireside Chat

Thank you to The Metropolitan’s Entrepreneurs Club for inviting me to speak at their fireside chat this week. I shared my own experience transitioning from 20+ years in the corporate world to my coaching career. We also discussed the ups and downs, opportunities, and confidence that comes from stepping out on your own.

Even Successful Leaders Fall into a Hole Now and Then

Posted February 22, 2019
Climbing Out of a HoleKristen started, grew, and sold a company. The liquidity event was very, very beneficial for her. She had since moved to a new role in another company. She wasn’t the CEO this time, and was brought in by a friend to serve as a transformational leader in this new organization. Things weren’t going as planned. She was not fully engaged, and wasn’t delivering the value she knew she could offer. She wasn’t exactly mailing it in, but she wasn’t playing at the top of her game either.

Kristen wanted something different but she didn’t know how to get started. She needed a push to start climbing out of her hole.

At the Bottom of the Hole

Even successful leaders have trouble breaking out of the funk that happens more often than you might think. Because Kristen had made a lot of money in the sale of her other company the expectation is she would be able to be successful and fulfilled wherever she went. It doesn’t necessarily happen that way. Sometimes there is clear evidence of being stuck, other times it is more subtle.

Think of being at the bottom of a very deep hole. It’s so deep and dark you can’t see a thing. You know where up is, but it seems too daunting to even start the ascent. You don’t know where the nearest foothold is to get started, and it’s unclear how much effort it will take to get to the top. Because of this dark and seemingly desperate situation, an unwillingness to take any action takes over. It’s scary, and even though it’s crummy, it’s what you know.

In Kristen’s situation, she was in that dark place.

Before you get out of the hole, let’s get an idea of what got you there in the first place.

3 Things That Put Us In The Hole

  1. Expecting the tide will always carry us.

People who have had success often feel there will always be that tide to carry them onward and to other great things. Personal or professional accolades and rewards are a drug that can motivate us to head to other great things, and also serve as a looming threat in case things don’t work out.

In Kristen’s case she was sought after to step into this role. She thought that what got her to this point will continue to propel her forward. As soon as there were some hiccups (financial and personnel) she became disenchanted. It wasn’t such a smooth ride. Rather than looking for ways to understand and/or address the situation, she began to slip into the hole.

New business owners experience this all the time. The excitement of launching the company and closing the first few deals leads to the expectation of a nice, linear trajectory of growth. When this doesn’t happen, the leader can slip into a place of self-doubt and has trouble being hopeful. You become more fearful and negative, your executive brain function starts to lose its impact, and you are unable to solve problems and look for creative solutions.

  1. Blaming others.

When you are scared, frustrated, or angry, it’s easy to place the blame on others. Kristen readily blamed the management of her new company for not being fully clear on the financial situation of the company. Outright she said, “I wouldn’t have come here if I knew this was the case.” She also felt the talent she had to work with wasn’t up to her standards. Kevin, the guy she thought was going to be her “go to” guy was way less experienced and less competent than she was expecting.

Of course there are external factors that cause obstacles for us to move forward. We have a choice of how we show up in those cases. When in the bottom of the hole it’s easy to blame everyone else for landing you in that place. With righteous indignation, a feeling of entitlement, or just an unwillingness to look at our decisions, we can blame others for the way we are feeling.

Unfortunately blame is not a pathway out.

  1. Losing touch with our values.

As we start slipping into that hole we can lose our north star; the reason we do what we do.

Metaphorically, we can’t even see the stars at the top of the hole and we don’t know what to do.

Kristen had lost her focus personally and professionally. At home she wasn’t being the mom and wife she wanted to be. She was admittedly cranky and no fun to be around. The impact on the home life was significant. She had worked hard in the past to successfully create a stable foundation for her family. She used the skills and experience she had to achieve the goal of creating and leading that first company. She valued family, hard work, achievement, excellence, and continuous innovation to motivate her during those demanding years.

She had lost touch with those values and the impact was being felt at home and at work.

Climbing out of the hole is tough, but it can be done. Acknowledging this is not where I want to be and I want to do something about it is the necessary first step. Moving up and out of the hole is hard to do on your own, and that’s where seeking help comes in. Finding those trusted resources – personal and professional – will start pointing you upwards. Depending on the circumstances, coaches, consultants, therapists, mentors, family members, friends, and colleagues can all be valuable sources of support.

Working with such resources, there are three steps you can take to start the climb out and back to being who you want to be and be doing what you’re meant to do.

3 Tactics to Climb Out of the Hole

  1. Reconnect with what worked in the past.

You are not the ineffective loser you feel like you are when in the bottom of the hole. You are probably having trouble making decisions, and second guessing the decisions you do make. It wasn’t always the case. Force yourself to remember (make a list) things you did that worked in the past and stop your inner critic from saying it wasn’t a big deal.

Make a list of your strengths and dig into what the value of those strengths were. Know you can do things that others cannot and as a result amazing things happened. Ask others to identify the value you deliver and how they see you being able to have an impact. The things that come most easily to us (our strengths) are often the things we take for granted.

In her previous roles and in creating and selling her company, Kristen had exhibited skills of creativity, conflict resolution, discipline, learning, team building, and problem solving in addition to technical skills. These had not gone away! As she started to think about those skills she began to start to see a way out of the hole. She could help the new company look at their current situation differently (creativity). She could work with her colleague Kevin to help him grow in his role and learn the things that would help her, him, and the organization (team building).

As soon as she started reconnecting with her strengths, she could see how to apply them to drive change and to feel like she was contributing again.

You have a unique set of gifts and skills that are meant to be used at this point in time. You’ve done it before and there’s no reason you can’t do it again.

  1. Rediscover your passion.

When you are unable to feel good about where you are or what you are doing, it’s very difficult to create a vision for a path out. Our primitive brain has us in that place of fight or flight, and we are unable to create or inspire others let alone ourselves. One way out is to start to rediscover your passion.

Passion = What you are good at (strengths) + What you like to do

If you actively sought out your strengths in step 1 above, you are halfway there to uncovering your passion. Now what do you like to do? Really like to do? Try asking yourself the question, “I know I can do it, but do I want to do it?” This frees you up to start really defining what you like to and stimulates that desire to start the climb out of the hole.

Kristen began to realize she was really good at creating and innovating new ideas. She was also great at building teams. From her past experience, she also realized she liked and had the courage to build things from scratch. She wasn’t afraid to step into the unknown, because she had the proof points of success. In fact, she was passionate about creating and making things happen.

  1. Take baby steps.

In the bottom of the hole you can’t see where you can start the climb up. You don’t even see the light at the top of the hole. You know there’s a way out and you have to believe that if you start taking any step at all it will get you away from the place you are that doesn’t serve you. It’s scary, but you know there has to be something better.

Small steps get you started. Kristen started by sharing with a friend how frustrated and stuck she was feeling. This friend made the referral to a coach and she started a coaching engagement. She sat down with Kevin, the co-worker she didn’t feel was competent, and started working with him. Rather than blaming him, she used her skills to help him grow and have greater impact. That felt good. She started to reconnect with others who had helped her start her previous company. Was there the opportunity to “get the band back together” and create something new? She made the effort of not bringing here woes home each day and dumping them on the family. They were able to be more supportive of her and the general mood of the household shifted. This led to her being better able to see something different in her future.

These baby steps don’t propel you out of the hole immediately. Rather they help you start the climb. You feel a place to put your foot and take a step up. This leads to another step. You feel a ledge with your hands and you pull yourself up even further. There is a dim glow of light at the top of the hole so you know you’re going in the right direction. That light gets brighter and more distinct with each step. Suddenly you can feel a breeze and smell fresh air. It’s been awhile since that was the case. All of this reinforces you desire to keep pushing forward. You’re using your strengths, aligning with your values, and your energy is shifting as it becomes more and more clear what your next move will be.

You’re out of the hole, back on solid footing, and the opportunities for what’s next are laid out in front of you.

The down times are inevitable. They don’t have to keep you down for as long as you think.

Tim Ressmeyer is a professional leadership and life coach. He is also the author of The Impact of Confidence: 7 Secrets of Success for the Human Side of Leadership (2018). Available on Amazon.