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Carol Adrienne Your Unfolding Path
A Quarterly Column
April-June 2005
by Carol Adrienne, Ph.D.

When Life Changes or You Wish It Would by author, Carol Adrienne
Carol's New Book

Carol Adrienne's work and teachings have been a great inspiration to me!  In August of 1998, about four months after my father passed away, I read about one of Carol's workshops in a Learning Annex catalog and synchronistically found her book on a bookshelf at the bookstore.  The themes of her teachings were familiar and comforting, as they confirmed the thoughts and ideas my father had shared with me shortly before his passing.  Her books and workshops ignited my spiritual curiosity, setting me on my soulful life path, which led to the very creation of SoulfulLiving.com!  Carol's participation has been an integral part of SoulfulLiving.com, at its soul level!  Thank you, Carol, with all my heart!
~Valerie, Founder and Soul, SoulfulLiving.com

Just Say Yes

In 2001, Patricia Caldwell, a forty-year-old Londoner, quit at the top of a lucrative and successful career in hotel management that she really enjoyed, to begin a practice as a life coach—then a relatively new field. Many of us make changes when we are unhappy with our jobs—which, of course, makes logical sense. However, Caldwell’s family, friends, and colleagues thought she was a bit daft to give up such a prestigious position.

"I loved my job," says Caldwell, "but I looked at the [mostly] men who were a good ten to fifteen years older than I was, and I decided I didn’t want to be in the hotel business at that age." Starting out in sales and public relations for an international hotel chain, she had worked her way up in twelve years to a position as general manager. "I really enjoyed the business and I had lots of perks. For example, I could stay in luxury hotels around the world at very discounted prices, and part of my job was to entertain clients at top restaurants in London. I had a good salary and lots of bonuses. The working conditions were fantastic because I controlled my own hours and I had a large staff. It was a very enjoyable existence. A lot of my peers were men, and it was fun being the feminine influence. I didn’t feel competitive with the men, and I felt we saw each other as equals. I had a rather playful, diplomatic approach with them, that I felt worked better than some of the women I knew who were more aggressive, or who tried to be one of the boys."

Even as Caldwell started thinking about making a change, she had no idea what else she might like to do. "I just felt a need to move in another direction and develop more of myself. I felt there had to be something more. I had achieved all my materialistic goals, but another part of me felt unfulfilled." One day one of the directors of personnel told Caldwell that she was leaving to become a teacher of blind children. Caldwell says, "I remember being very shocked that she was making such a huge and complete change. But then I thought, ‘Well, why not?’"

Let Synchronicity Provide the Connections

As synchronicity would have it, shortly after this incident, Caldwell was invited to attend a seminar for women called Directions for Life. There were four women speakers, one of whom was a life coach and author. As soon as she heard this presentation, Caldwell remembers thinking, That’s what I want to do. I want to be on stage doing motivational talks. She began to investigate schools that taught coaching. "At that time, there weren’t many coaching schools," says Caldwell, "and I didn’t want a distance learning program. I didn’t know where to get more information."

Again providence provided the link. Because she had attended the seminar, Caldwell’s name was on a mailing list. A new London-based school called the Coaching Academy had purchased the seminar’s mailing list in order to advertise their classes. Just as she was pondering what to do next, she received their information. It turned out to be just what she was looking for. The school offered residential weekends, allowing her to work part-time and complete the program in about a year.

Keep the Focus on What You Want

After qualifying from the academy, Caldwell knew she was ready to leave the hotel industry and start her own practice. What helped her make the transition during the next year, she says, was a little bit of savings as well as the willing support of her husband. During that year, Caldwell’s big question, of course, was how to find clients and get her practice going. Incredibly, synchronicity again paved the way. "I got a call from my old university—the University of Ulster-- to ask if I would give a talk to the alumni society about my career change. After I had graduated, I worked at the University for three years. After I left my job there, my boss went on to become director of communications. I would always stay in touch with her when I visited my parents in Northern Ireland. That’s how she knew about my life changing decision to become a coach. When the conference came up, she thought of me as a speaker."

The invitation turned out to be a pivotal point in Caldwell’s life, both personally and professionally. "When I got the call, I had only just qualified and I had no clients yet. I was very apprehensive about figuring out how to do the marketing. My first thought when I was asked to speak was, No, it’s too soon. I’m not ready yet. But then I realized it was an opportunity from the universe, and I knew I had to say yes."

Her talk was not only very well received, but several people immediately signed up for coaching. Her practice was launched. Additional clients started arriving after the University followed up the talk with an editorial about her in the alumni magazine.

Trust Your Gift to Fulfill Your Purpose

What do we learn from this story? For one thing, we notice that Caldwell, throughout her life, has made relationships a priority. She maintains contacts. She creates good working relationships. It was her gift for relationship that accounts for the invitation that would bring her what she was asking to receive. It was also the clarity of her intention or question--How can I get clients?--that allowed synchronicity to meet her request. It was her courage that allowed her to step up to the plate and meet the opportunity.

Caldwell says, "I tell people to listen to their heart. Ask for what you need. Start to live authentically, which means focusing on what you are passionate about. When an opportunity comes, just say yes."

Not only did the invitation to speak set in motion her career, but it became an example of the power of the psychological process of individuation. "Out of my own experience I can see that we never stop evolving, even as adults. This subject of becoming one’s authentic self--the Jungian psychological maturation process--struck home for me. We never stop growing into becoming more of who we are. I realize now, it was the need to continue individuating that was the impetus for me to leave the comfort of my "good" job and set out for the unknown."

Whenever we think about making major changes, we are confronted by our basic fears, such as fear of looking like we don’t know what we are doing, starving to death, being inadequate, or losing what we already have. But to truly live, is to change and grow, albeit in large or small ways.

What is the cost of not individuating? Of not making the changes that come from deep within? There are many examples. Our health may suffer if we feel we are not fulfilling our purpose. We become unhappy, depressed, or envious of others. We suffer from fears and anxieties. In extreme cases, suicide might even be a tragic choice. Failing to follow our hearts may result in a loss of sense of identity, or in displaced anger.

But does society really value the process of individuation? Not as much as we would hope.

Avoid Fearful Naysayers

Caldwell remembers how people reacted negatively when she first told them of her career change. "They couldn’t understand why I would leave a successful and prestigious job for something unknown. I have come to see that when we commit to individuating, the first thing that happens is that we have to confront our unconscious attachment to cultural myths. Myths such as, Don’t rock the boat. You might lose what you have. You won’t get another chance. Nobody has it all. Once you leave, you can’t get back in. You’re too old to change. Shouldn’t you be happy where you are at your age? People get upset when someone they know acts out of character.

"I recognized that my identity was caught up in the glamorous life of the hotel industry. I wasn’t at all sure what would happen if I give that up," Caldwell admits. "In the beginning, I didn’t tell many people about my plans, only those that I felt would understand. My husband, for example, was always very supportive of what I wanted. When I did tell people, I could tell they didn’t really want to know the answer to why I was going in a different direction. Cultural wisdom doesn’t really value our inner drive as being all that important. Ironically, now, four years later, I am coaching a lot of people from the hotel industry!"

Today Caldwell has a thriving practice—all from word of mouth. She is an inspirational speaker, and has founded a networking forum called Q-DOS for qualified coaches. The group meets monthly in London and has guest speakers, with over 100 members. "Starting Q-DOS has given me much more visibility and ability to meet coaches from al different backgrounds. Coaching is definitely growing here in the UK. It’s more common now that Blue Chip companies are hiring executive coaches like they did in the US five to ten years ago."

I couldn’t help but take a peek at Caldwell’s numerology chart, and found that interestingly, she has a 1 Destiny—indicating a pioneer and leader, in this case, within the coaching industry. One’s have the drive to go beyond what they think they know about themselves and the world—to step into the unknown. Characteristically, Caldwell says, "I believe in the power of paying attention to our inner voice, and to allow ourselves to evolve into the next stage. In a nutshell, for me my success has come whenever I’ve had the courage to just say yes to the next opportunity."

To contact Patricia Caldwell, please email her at Qlifecoach@aol.com or visit her website at www.1to1point618.com

© Copyright 2005 Carol Adrienne, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.

REQUEST! I am looking for stories about people who have made a transition to a new lifestyle, career, or meaningful interest in their fifties, sixties, seventies, or eighties. I’d like to know what and how you did it! Please email me at Carol22@sonic.net. Keep it short—I’ll be happy to telephone you for details. Thank you for your energy and time in advance.

Carol Adrienne, Ph.D., is an internationally-known workshop facilitator and author whose books have been translated into over fifteen languages. Her latest book is When Life Changes, or You Wish It Would. Oprah hailed, The Purpose of Your Life: Finding Your Place in the World Using Synchronicity, Intuition, and Uncommon Sense a must-read. She is also an intuitive counselor and life coach who has helped thousands of people work through doubt, procrastination, and obstacles to create the life they want to live. Visit http://www.CarolAdrienne.com to register for free newsletter subscription; free numerology birthdate analysis, or order numerology charts and forecasts. Private consultations and coaching available.



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