Your job is what you do, not who you are, right? The two may be aligned more closely than you think – and you can add in how you feel as well. That’s according to Nancy Scott, M.A., a holistic career coach based in Minneapolis. Scott believes that true change – career or other kinds – happens best when approached holistically.
The dictionary defines “holistic” as “concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts.” In medicine, holistic practitioners don’t just examine the part of you that’s injured or ailing. They look at your mind, body, spirit and environment to determine what might have caused your disease.
Scott takes the same approach to her coaching practice. She created a program called DiVA (Dreams in Vivid Action), a group coaching practice that helps women in transition achieve their goals. She says, “When women experience a quantum event – a shock to the system – like a layoff, getting fired, losing a spouse, their first instinct is to make a change in their lives. They gravitate toward self-improvement.” Scott should know; she lost her husband to cancer when he was just 41 years old. Scott had spent her career in real estate sales and training. After her husband’s death, she went onto get a Master’s degree that would allow her to work more deeply with women who were seeking meaning or going through transitions in their lives.
The first DiVA cohort came together in 2006 as a focus group on the future of real estate sales as a career. As the women discussed what they really wanted from their careers, Scott helped them articulate their dreams and develop a plan for achieving them. One member of the group had lost her mother, father, husband and special needs sister, all within a period of about two years. It became apparent during the program that she needed to get through her grief before she could see a clear path to a better job. In fact, she grew close to another program participant and eventually went into partnership with her.
Scott works with groups for nine months, and the length of time is not a coincidence. “We sometimes call ourselves doulas, bringing ideas into the world,” she says of herself and her coaching partner. They specialize in helping people who are committed to change, but unable to make it happen on their own. They feel what Scott calls the “whisper of discontent,” but who may not be able to articulate a vision for a more fulfilling life.
Scott says that it’s hard for modern workers to make space in their lives to dream and think about what they really want. “We are filled to the brim, but not fulfilled,” she says. “We are busy in the same way a hamster in a wheel is busy. We go round and round, believing we’re getting somewhere, but we wind up in the same place.” Scott’s coaching helps clients look inward, to slow down enough to be able to hear their inner voice – the one who knows what their spirit is seeking.
Here are Scotts’ tips for knowing when you might be stuck – and when getting a coach might be an option:
- You’ve had the same New Year’s resolutions year after year with no progress
- You’ve gone through a major transition or loss in your life
- You are unhappy where you are, but have no idea what would make you happy
- You feel busy, but not fulfilled.
Nancy Scott is fond of quoting Mark Twain: “I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is that I can’t find anybody who can tell me what they want.” If you’re having trouble figuring out what’s next, a coach or a Mastermind Group may help get you started on a new path.