I look at St. Patty’s Day 2008 as one of the defining moments of my life.
It was the day Jeff Shuck hired me at Event 360 to lead the new fundraising event consulting service line. To many I may not have been a likely candidate. I’d worked in several disparate industries including marine shipping, oil and gas, health care technology, and hospitality. Much of those 14 years were spent in a sales capacity or a role with a sales component. Nowhere in there was there any nonprofit experience.
However, among the skills that did come with that odd list of roles on my resume were an ability to convey a concept, to talk with people at any level, to become a trusted advisor, to set growth strategies, to outline short and long-term investment plans, and to manage teams, budgets, and forecasts. Luckily, being the visionary he is, Jeff saw they were skills that could be translated and leveraged to meet the needs of his clients. He was open to new talent, regardless of how unconventional my background seemed to be, a topic that Lea talked about in her recent blog. As for me, I was more than ready to leave the cutthroat world of sales and I knew I was capable of learning something new. Most importantly, I wanted to do more meaningful work.
Fast forward to Thanksgiving 2013 when we started Plenty, another very important moment in my life. The experience of taking a service line and proving it could be grown and stand on its own was exhilarating! The first six months offered everything you’d imagine a start-up would: a fresh start, the thrill of creating something new, the angst of wanting to do it justice, and the worry of pulling your share of the weight with just a handful of people. What got us through that first year was us – this small but mighty band of do-gooders who at our foundation first and foremost had the utmost respect for each other and a shared commitment to the vision we created for ourselves. That vision is our cornerstone – a world in which there is plenty for everyone.
It is a vision I still whole-heartedly believe in, even as I announce to you that I am leaving. I am leaving because more than anything I believe there is plenty of health and wellness for everyone. Plenty of years to be fully lived. Plenty of dreams to be fulfilled. Plenty of goals to be achieved. Plenty of well-being to be gained. I believe this is available to everyone if they are willing to make the choices necessary to get there. And that’s where I come in. For those who need guidance, encouragement, and accountability with those choices, I provide holistic health coaching. Yes, I now have another skill to add to my resume.
I am ready to tap myself on the head and see what transformation in the world I can help create in this new career, one person at a time. We all hear the calling at some point. Though this has been mine since my mid-twenties I didn’t listen to it then. I had a view of scarcity. It won’t pay enough. It’s not prestigious enough. It’s not putting my college degree to use enough. Others expect more from me.
But there’s been a nagging whisper from my heart and an unrelenting interest in my soul to learn more, experience more, and experiment more in the field of natural health and alternative modalities. They’ve been driven by a series of my own health issues – the universe’s way of keeping it front and center for me. So I have decided to finally stop ignoring what has been there all along. I recognized that in the last twenty years I unwittingly had accrued a lot of knowledge and understanding that could help others navigate similar struggles, and am now ready to put that knowledge to work.
It’s how we’ve evolved at Plenty as well – learning, doing, testing. We’ve witnessed, waded in the waters, and gotten wiser. I, for one, am a smarter, more well equipped person for it. As I prepare to leave my teammates (who, by the way, are all amazing human beings!) and the nonprofit space I want to share what universally great advice from Plenty I will take with me to build a successful coaching practice:
- Be fully engaged. As Laurie states, progress happens when we put technology aside and have face-to-face conversations with each other. Discussing what is working, what we know to be true, and what we need to do to reach our goals motivates and inspires us all to grow. This applies to all individuals, groups, and entities.
- Double down on cause via storytelling. My mission may take time to be known, but as Jim reminds us, it doesn’t mean it isn't worthy. It will be up to me to use every opportunity to share my story and convey my vision for a healthier world.
- Find “your people”. I will grow my practice with Erin’s cultivation suggestions in mind. I will seek to work with people who want a different future for themselves and want help achieving it. It will be key to have a brand that resonates with that audience and a communication plan to keep me connected to them.
- Speak their language. Being connected is one thing, but stewarding my people for the long term is another. I will heed Casey’s advice to choose relevant platforms to consistently share meaningful topics and testimonies of success. And if the opportunity presents itself, I will ask Bono for an endorsement as well.
- Answer the voice that is calling you to be a person of action. I am incredibly moved by Suzanne’s blog about the limitless power of peer-to-peer. Her inspirational message of taking action – any action you are called to that will make the world a better place – will be my lighthouse and should be yours too.
So I am taking action. It’s intimidating and a bit scary, but as Kari reminded us, when we invest in ourselves, there are opportunities everywhere. We’re all worth the bet. Even middle-aged people like me dreaming of what else could be.
– Jeff Shuck
By this definition, Plenty to me is HUGE. There aren’t words to convey the thanks I feel for my work family and the impact they’ve each had on me. I am forever changed by their passion, smarts, excellence, provocativeness, resilience, and vision. I will miss them immensely. My deepest gratitude goes out to all of you in the space who make a positive impact on the world by showing up every day where others don’t. It’s been my pleasure and privilege to work along side you as well.
I don’t know exactly where this new path will take me, but as long as I follow my internal compass toward my higher purpose, I’ll be creating the life I imagine. As one of my best friends says, if you’re going to go up, you have to push the button.