Interested in a “what should I do with my life” workshop?

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Most of you who read my blog know that I love to work with people in corporate jobs who have a hot idea for a business but are perplexed by how to make it happen.  That is the primary focus of my coaching work, and I try to stay clear on that, to follow my own advice of choosing a niche and sticking to it.

But I get quite a few (hundred, actually) emails from people who say they know they are not happy in their jobs but have no idea what to do next.  Up to this point, I have said to most of them:

"Go buy Martha Beck’s book Finding Your Own North Star and go through the exercises.  If, after doing that, you get clear that you want to start a business, call me and we can discuss working together.  If not, I would be happy to refer you to great career counselors who can help you find a more rewarding job."

I point people to this book since I consider it a prerequisite to any kind of career work.  It has fantastic exercises for deciphering your conflicting desires, clarifying what you enjoy doing, clearing out any crappy thoughts that get in your way and providing a clear framework for making it through a career transition successfully. I have read it many, many times, and each time have gained new insight into my own path in life.

So recently, my friend and fellow Martha Beck master coach Brooke Castillo gave me a great idea:  she taught a 12-week teleclass using the book where each week the group would work through one chapter. She said it was an amazing and valuable experience for the participants.  I got really fired up, since I think it would be a blast, and a great way to help a group of people who feel kind of lost. 

So before putting anything "official" together, I wanted to test interest.  Does something like this sound fun to you? 

Class details:

Dates:  Start sometime in July
Meetings:  1 hour every week for 12-15 weeks (depending on if we cover one chapter a week or collapse a couple)
Format:  Conference call, recorded if you miss.  Private web forum available for participants for questions, sharing feedback, my coaching etc.
Cost:  I’m thinking around $500, but that is not yet set in stone

If it sounds good, would you mind signing up on this list?  That way I can gauge interest, and send  information to those who want more.  Feel free to email questions to pcs (at) ganas (dot) com.

Please remember to look for a confirmation email right after you sign up, as you have to open it and click the link to validate your subscription to this list, in order to get the follow up emails.

Thanks for your input!  I am looking forward to it.

10 Responses to “Interested in a “what should I do with my life” workshop?”

  1. Hey Pam,

    I went out & bought the book after reading your post- wow! Great stuff. So glad you mentioned it here- I’ve enjoyed a lot of Martha’s stuff in “Oprah” but don’t subscribe anymore and hadn’t yet realised she’d written such a career/ life-path based book.

    The classes you propose aren’t what I need personally, but they sound like fantastic value for what is being offered here- good luck and I hope you have plenty of applicants (I’d be amazed if you don’t).

    Also, great blog, keep it up & thanks for writing πŸ™‚

  2. Chris says:

    I would be interested, however, like a few other folks, $500 is too steep for me. And I must admit I am more than a little skeptical – no offense – about what one could gain from this. I mean, for example, I am a corporate slave who would like to make the jump to “freedom”. And whatever the end result, I must deal with the very real obligations imposed by having two kids and a mortgage. Not to put too fine a point on it, but will forums such as these provide any meaningful insight on how to do that? Sorry if that seems negative, but, as I mentioned, I am ever the skeptic.

    BTW, I love your “Open Letter to CXOs.”

    Hi Chris!

    Yeah! A cynical consumer! That is a *good* thing, don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise. My thoughts:

    -The focus of this class is in doing the very specific assignments in the Finding Your Own North Star book and getting feedback and coaching from myself and the other participants. That is where many people find the value in doing a program as opposed to just trying to figure it out themselves. But as my commenter Barbara pointed out, not everyone gets value from a group learning environment. If you are one of the introverted learners as she described, this would definitely not be the class for you.
    -This is *not* a class on “how to get out of the cube and start a business.” That is the focus of all the info I offer for free on this blog, in my monthly free coaching calls (look on left sidebar under my picture to sign up), podcast and the book I am writing.
    -This *is* a class for people who feel really uncertain of what they want to do, and who want to learn a way to discover what their *true* voice is saying inside, and how to manifest vague desires and interests into actual plans. I talk to thousands of people who have been in corporate life for so long that they have no idea what they really feel anymore, since they have spent so many years bowing to a system that squelches creativity. The material covered in the book is a great start to unload the “crap that gets in the way” and discover the path that will make you happy (and pay the mortgage!). The tools you learn in the book are applicable to so many things: making good career decisions, building healthy relationships, choosing the right business, building good partnerships, etc.
    -I believe that the best, most successful businesses are started by people who are crystal clear on what their strengths are, who choose a market that they are extremely passionate about, who know how to diagnose and overcome unhelpful beliefs and nagging doubts, and who are not afraid to be their true selves.
    -As I stated before, the value of the workshop should offset the cost. Meaning — if you cannot see how participating in such a workshop would net you at least twice the value (by doing such things as making much better career decisions that lead to a better salary or bonus, choosing the right business, having excellent relationships with your spouse and kids, saving $ on medical expenses due to stress-related illness, etc.) than you should *not* take this workshop. From my perspective, it is about 6x cheaper than 1:1 coaching with me, and gives you the benefit of a small group of people (no more than 10) who are there to cheer you on and support you in your goals. I could offer it cheaper for a much larger group, but I don’t think it would have the same impact or value that way.
    -Just like you, I need to pay the mortgage (and diapers! πŸ™‚ So while I offer a truckload of free information to my market, I feel really good charging for things that I know will provide real value for the right candidates. If it doesn’t look like it is worth it for you, no problem! I still welcome you on my free calls, and encourage you to browse the archives of this blog for all kinds of ideas.
    -I tell all my clients, to *get as much as they can for free* before paying for advice. You should invest your hard-earned $ in something that you truly cannot or would not do on your own.
    -Glad you liked the Open letter! It came from the heart. πŸ™‚

    All the best,


  3. Annie Binns says:

    I think this is a great idea – I was just over on Brooke’s new site, actually! I got out of my corporate life about 60 days ago due to a “leave now or go postal” moment. I’m so insanely happy at this point I can hardly stand it … but I confess I am clear as mud on where I want to go next. I’ve read Martha’s book(s) but I think that combining that with your coaching would be a FABULOUS experience. $500 is a lot for me, too (since I, a’hem, have no income) but I’d swing it for this, having been a fan of both you and Martha for some time now!

  4. Ellen Hart says:

    Pam – I liked your quote, β€œOur path doesn’t go away, it just gets buried.” That is so true! Half the battle is shedding negative messages and expectations which come from both the world around us, and our own head.

    As for the workshop … it would have been an excellent opportunity for me about 10 years ago. Luckily, I’ve already been able to focus in on my passion and start my own business. However, I’m sure there are many people who would benefit from the experience now. Good Luck

  5. Bunnie says:

    The correct turn of phrase is “pig in a poke.” Wikipedia entry:

    $500 is way too rich for me.

  6. Re: the eye of the beholder. I think what we tend to value follows our own personalities. I’m a hard core introvert, and I tend to get much more from (for example) reading books rather than taking classes and having to spend all that energy on socializing! However, I know plenty of people who have the opposite experience.

    This awareness has implication for my work life, too; as much as I like doing work that benefits others, I tend to want to do it by working on ideas in the background (research, writing, etc.) rather than interacting with individuals directly. I find meaning in freelance writing for utility companies — as dry as that sounds. Helping people manage their energy that way helps ME manage my own energy much better than when I was teaching energy management as a personal trainer. πŸ™‚ Funny how the ultimate theme stayed the same!

  7. me says:

    The title of the post is very interesting as the dilemma applies to me and I’m in search for a solution. While I will read the book you recommend, and I’d maybe go to a workshop, $500 is too much for a pig and a poke. Is there a guarantee that if this is just some sort of regurgitation and of no value I’d get my money back? Any kind of a la carte?

    I don’t know that the format is appealing either.

    2 cents. Hope that helps.

    Hi Me!

    Good questions.

    I have never heard “a pig and a poke.” Great expression! Here is what a workshop like this would be:

    -A chance to not only to read material, but discuss it in detail. I guess this is the “book club” function: find out what it means to each individual in the workshop, and how the content does or does not apply to his or her situation.

    -A place to get feedback and ideas, as well as build relationships with other participants. This is the forum portion of the class, where participants (and I as the instructor) would openly share ideas, ask for feedback, share frustrations and insights. I have participated and taught many of these types of classes and the forum part of the program is really wonderful and robust.

    -Value is in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it? I weigh my $ investments by how they can concretely improve my life or situation. Does participating save me time? Deepen my understanding? Give me new tools? Allow me to make better financial and other decisions? Save time in derailed career choices? Improve relationships? I find that those that get the most from the class are really ready for a change and will be able to describe specific outcomes they are looking for that they can equate to return on investment. There is another funny thing that happens — when you invest some of your hard-earned money, you are much more likely to take the work seriously. Case in point: there is TONS of free information on the web about improving your life, finding your purpose, etc. I produce a good amount myself, and openly share it. But sometimes people need an added incentive to act on the information, not just read it.

    -I have always had a 100% money back guarantee on my work. If someone doesn’t find value from what I offer, I honestly don’t want the money — it doesn’t feel good. In the 12 years I have been in business, I have never had to use it. The only time I gave money back to clients was when I moved, and was unable to complete some in-person coaching sessions that were pre-paid for. So that is never a worry.

    -The format is definitely not for everyone. It will work for someone who doesn’t have a lot of time or $ to travel to an in-person workshop. But if you don’t like the virtual learning set-up, it won’t be for you.

    -I haven’t thought about A la Carte options, but that is a great idea! I will ponder how the sections could be broken up. If you want to look at the table of contents of the book and let me know what would be of most interest, I would appreciate it!

    Thanks so much for raising these questions — let me know if you have any more.

    All the best,


  8. Sandy Reed says:

    I sure identify with what you said above, Pam, only I spent 24 years in the corporate prison before I followed my gut and escaped. I’m now helping new business owners create marketing strategies and action plans with the Get Clients Now! System, with some Soulpreneur strategies mixed in…

    I’m soooo glad I saw the light!!!

  9. Pam – a question I’ve been meaning to ask: I’m curious – you have a lot of passion for “people in corporate jobs”? What draws you to that group specifically? (As opposed to entrepreneurs who have never been in corporate life – e.g., second-generation family business owners or life long entrepreneurs who want to expand or artists.)

    Good question Barbara:

    I have particular passion for this group since I spent a decade in their midst as a consultant to corporations and found so many that felt absolutely locked into their reality without a chance of escaping. Helping them break out of the traditional mold of what is “responsible” and “successful” makes me really excited. I feel like a rebel sometimes, sneaking into a heavily guarded camp and showing prisoners the way out.

    I love all kinds of people in my everyday life – artists, lifelong entrepreneurs, working people, not working people … but right now, I am really jazzed at figuring out this particular niche. I am sure I will get bored eventually and move on … but for now, it works well for me, and seems to serve a need in the market!


  10. I may be different than most people, but I’ve found that my life’s purpose was evident at an early age, and it was (drumroll): drawing Batman.

    So the drawing Batman gig was tough to break into, but there were plenty of opportunities in design, fine art, information graphics, etc.

    For some people it’s music, or forging relationships, or helping others, but I think who we’re meant to be isn’t a mystery if you look back far enough. The courage to follow that path just gets drummed out of us because we have to meet other people’s expectations.

    Oh, and no matter what your calling, it should incorporate some amount of “helping others achieve their goals”. Life it just more fun that way.

    Huh, might have gone off topic there.

    Never off topic Nathan!

    My 3-year old son would think you are a hero for drawing Batman.

    And you are right — our path is often squeezed right out of us by well-intentioned influencers like parents, teachers, bosses, etc.

    The North Star book gets to the heart of this and helps you remember what you long to do.

    It took me almost 37 years to “remember” that I loved to write. I can feel the joy as a 3-year old, moving a freshly sharpened pencil across a piece of paper.

    Our path doesn’t go away, it just gets buried.