You want to do as many different genres as you can, and that’s what I’ve been doing. I decided that I was here to try different parts and do different things. That’s what it’s really all about. That’s what a career should be. — Ray Liotta, Actor 1954–2022
Fifteen years ago, I left my career as an attorney and started in business as a real estate broker. At the time, and for many years after, people would ask or comment about how I “wasted” my law school education.
Even though I had practiced law for 7 years.
There was a time when a person would get a job with a company and stay with the same company, perhaps even in the same job, until they retired.
Then job mobility increased. People would leave their company to work for another company, but essentially in the same job.
Those times are over.
These days, we are likely to have multiple careers, not just multiple jobs.
Sometimes one career leads to another by virtue of similarity, or spinning off one aspect of what you do to focus on it.
My coaching practice evolved from my real estate business. I didn’t leave real estate behind; I realized that the essence of what I do with my clients is coaching.
I help them establish their vision and values, create strategies for how to get what they want, and help them get out of their own ways to get it. I also help them navigate transitions and make aligned decisions.
It made sense for me to offer that coaching as a stand alone offering. Sometimes people are in transition but don’t need to move — at least not yet.
Other times it’s not so obvious how one career leads to another. It may be that there’s no connection at all; you leave one behind and move to the next thing.
Maybe the through line emerges eventually.
Such was the case when I left the legal field. I wasn’t bringing my law practice to my real estate business.
It doesn’t mean I wasted the skills I acquired or the knowledge I had from my legal career.
What you learn and what you do becomes a part of you. You take it with you.
In fact, I still use my legal knowledge and skills all the time. Sometimes in less obvious ways.
In a recent coaching session I introduced the rules of evidence to help a client gain clarity on what stories were not worth listening to.
No Learning is Wasted
Some people like to dig deep and specialize. They enjoy the stability of honing expertise in one area over decades.
Others of us are meant to be generalists. We seemingly bounce from role to role, from career to career.
It may look aimless at times, but it’s important to remember that no learning or experience is ever wasted.
In addition to my coaching and real estate practices I also am a yoga teacher. Not everyone sees the connection between these but I do. I’m passionate about helping people move, heal, and find their “home.”
I also love helping clients be more effective in their work and rest.
I bring to my clients a vast breadth of knowledge and experience that allows me to help them with everything from calming their nervous systems to strategizing their next big move.
The fact that I can play a lot of different parts is not a weakness but a strength.
Follow Your Sparks
You are never too old to follow the sparks of what interests you and explore a new career. Don’t worry about wasting your knowledge — you can’t waste what lives inside of you.
What you’ve learned and embodied is part of who you are and you will bring it to your new roles.