Do The Dumb Thing First, Stress Free Career Reinvention

When you are facing a brand new page in life, when you are afraid because you are reinventing a working identity, artist Stan Fellows suggests that we do the “Dumb Thing” first.

Well, maybe he didn’t exactly say that about career reinvention.  Although he recently reworked the way he earns a living.
What he has to say, and what I took from this sketchbook video clip was how to benefit from doing the most unpractical, logic void experiment first.


By doing the thing that seems impractical or silly we can relieve ourselves of excessive stress and pressure.  And in the process, we actually take steps. We move from fear and paralysis toward movement and eventual outcomes.

Taking those first, few steps to carve out a new way of life or a new career can be some of the most terrifying and clumsy. And yet, often they are the most critical. When we take these steps in a manner suggested by Fellows, we unplug from being overly concerned with outcomes. We start to get traction.

I am a student of career reinvention. Having changed my working identity at least seven times and coaching those currently in the process I know many of the strategies that support reinvention.

Here are a few first steps that you can take right now:

No matter where you are, stop thinking about change and start acting toward your next working identity.
Events forced me to act boldly, to act fearlessly, to take a chance and assess what really matters.” – Stan Fellows, a former acclaimed magazine illustrator who now paints landscapes along roadsides.


Post Script

Changing a career means we must redefine our working identity. How we’ve considered ourselves in past, professional roles has become a sort of identity. Healthy and sustainable career transition often follows an act-first-then-think-about-it sequence of events. The intimate connection we have with our identity at work has come from years of action. When we take on the process of reinventing how we work and who we are at work, we are wise to resort to the same method – take action first.

Let me know if I can assist you in your quest for a new life or a new career –

More on Stan Fellows

Reinventing Your Working Identity

If the Great Recession and its chaotic aftermath have a story line, it goes something like this: “The worst economic downturn in nearly 80 years throws millions of Americans out of work – 15.4 million are unemployed at the peak, 13.1 million are still without a job two years later.

Out of that crucible, an increasing number of workers are trying to reinvent them to fit in with a fragile, fast-moving world. For some, it’s a voluntary change. For many, it isn’t. It’s a rough-and-tumble necessity. The future demands it.” – The Christian Science Monitor, Cover Story; The job-shifters: people who reinvent themselves mid-career, February 5, 2012

If the Great Recession’s employment scene has a personal voice it would say something like this:

I didn’t grow up knowing what I wanted to ‘be’, it all sort of happened. And I never realized how much of my identity was tied up in my job until I was without one for the first time in 30 years. And that I could not detect the changes in my role because I never really planned them….And it is more than a little humbling to have absolutely no idea what to do next…” – SoulSalt Inc. Reinvention Client, 2012

Most professionals are being forced to create new careers in what has been called an “unforgiving economy.

This phenomenon is so widespread that Fast Company did a Cover Story on the topic calling it Generation Flux. The Christian Science Monitor did a similar story titling it The Job-Shifters, People who reinvent themselves mid-career.

No matter what you call it, the world of work has forever changed and those of us who are choosing to earn a living must learn to adapt.

At SoulSalt Inc. we teach classes and coach individuals and groups through tried and true strategies that support you safely through the complex process of reinvention.

One such client is waist deep into crafting a new life and a new career. Having attended individual coaching sessions and investing in a 2-day intensive, Julie McLaughlin Perez has gained valuable insights into how to “earn” while she “learns” – a vital step in sustaining one’s life while completely reworking one’s career.

Join us for a free webinar to follow Julie’s tracks, the reality of reinvention from her eyes and to offer the listener tools for their own, similar process. (Please click this link to register for Reinventing Your Working Identity on Monday, December 17, 2012 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM MST, Limited availability.)

Celebrate Christmas like a Fish

Artist and creative genius Amanda Herring loves Christmas.
She especially loves decorating for the season and gathering friends and family around.
Take a peek into her world by viewing her latest e-mag.
See why SoulSalt believes she’s most clever of all the fish in town.

Direct Communication

One of the key distinctions between a master coach and a novice is the use of language. In specific, a coach uses the power of Direct Communication in a skillful manner.

According to the I.C.F., a mastery level of Direct Communication goes beyond one’s ability to communicate effectively and with positive impact on the client. (see number 7 in the link)

A few key indicators that a coach has reached a high level of impact through language are as follows:

  • The client and coach have an ease and freedom in the words and pacing used within their sessions.
    Meaning that the coach can offer up information of various sorts without attachment. And the pacing matches the client, not the coach.
  • The coach shares what they have to share in a manner that incorporates the client’s language. Meaning metaphors and analogies fit the client’s frame of reference.
  • The coach invites and nurtures respect for the client through the sort of words and language patterns incorporated in the session.
  • The coach hears and celebrates direct communicate flowing from the client to the coach.
  • The session supports more client talk time than coach talk time.

Recently I went through an audit of my own coaching skills. I hired a seasoned mentor. Together we took me through a battery of proficiency like pass-off sessions. The notes shared during one such session and the corresponding pod cast might further prove useful as you absorb the broad topic of Direct Communication.

Mischievous College Sophomores

In Junior High, I took a keyboarding class with a smart young lady named Laurie Ann Richardson. At the time, she was the shortest girl in the entire seventh grade class. I noticed such things because prior to attending Junior High School, I was often the shortest girl in my class. Unlike me, Laurie’s stature had nothing to do with genes. It had everything to do with being such a smarty pants that she had been advanced a year in school. Shortness in seventh grade was due to being much younger than the rest of us.

Laurie and I sat next to each other during keyboarding. I usually got to class before her and noticed that she headed straight for the book shelf before sitting down. She needed two large books on her chair before she could reach her keyboard.

As time went on I decided to be a good neighbor and grab two books off a nearby shelf and place them on her chair before she got to class. It became a sort of unspoken custom.

As the years passed on, Laurie grew tall and thin and surpassed my height by several inches. Our camaraderie continued and we became room-mates during our sophomore year at Brigham Young University.

During this time at BYU everyone in our dorm was studying Spanish. Somehow we came up with a crazy idea to “crash” the Mormon Training Center reserved seating during devotionals and pretend to be sister missionaries headed to Spanish speaking territories.

I remember the event as a chance to harmlessly tweak a rule at the stout and undaunted institution we attended. Now, I find out Laurie’s true intentions in our “crash” plot. And, I find them, by no small coincidence through her use of those keyboarding skills we both learned in seventh grade.

I’ve always admired Laurie’s sense of humor and her practical sense of life. Now you can enjoy her side of the story as it was recently published in a BYU magazine.

Becoming a Missionary the Old-Fashioned Way
By Laurie Richardson McIntosh (BS ’81), Spring, Texas

As a young freshman, I was awed at the quantity of young, earnest-eyedmissionaries everywhere. Rules being quite different then for MTC missionaries, they strolled down the hill through Heritage Halls, loitered in the BYU Barbershop, and sat en masse in a great pie-shaped section of the Marriott Center at devotionals.

My equally enamored roommates and I positioned ourselves strategically at the devotionals to get the best view of these handsome and righteous youngmen. Oh, we knew they were off-limits—I was way too shy back then even to flirt—but we enjoyed the scenery and our dreams of someday having an RM of our very own.

Once, we contrived a plan to surround ourselves with dark-suited, white-shirted splendor: we’d make nametags for ourselves and impersonate sister missionaries! Our goofy coed dream was to sit through the next devotional in a sea of priesthood wonder.

It wouldn’t be hard. Nametags back then were color-coded Dymo-taped strips attached to an easily aped pin. We even put “Hermana ________” on the tags, because we were enrolled in Spanish 101.

When it came right down to it, we chickened out. Bad enough to be deceitful, but worse to be dishonest by posing as servants of the Lord.

Later, after graduating from BYU and working for a year, I found myself legitimately among the ranks of missionaries as I accepted a call to serve in the New Zealand Auckland Mission. Young elders surrounded me at the MTC and in the field, but by then my heart was focused elsewhere—on the great work of learning and sharing the gospel. Thank goodness I’d grown up a little since those freshman days at BYU!

In the Reinvention Trenches

You know when your work no longer fits.
You also know when you need to change the way you’re living.
Knowing this and actualizing a successful transformation are completely different propositions.
Coaching individuals through reinvention begins with one key concept:
Carving out a new career, or a new life, is not synonymous with finding a needle in a haystack.

There is a strategic pattern to this sort of change and there are tools, models and exercises that can support you to make the terrifying landscape of reinvention feel less threatening. Yes, there is a means through the madness. You will have to reconfigure not just your life, you’ll have to rewire your sense of and how you experience being “you”.

The best, single piece of advice for making this sort of transformational journey is to read the book:
Working Identity by Ibarra. If you are someone who needs more structure and support than having a book to read, look into SoulSalt Inc. Reinvention Coaching.  Chances are that if this blog speaks to you, a big part of your own self has already left your current job or life. These two short videos may be useful in gaining insights into the results of our program and also into learning that you are not alone.

Here is a link to SoulSalt’s Facebook events page.





The Quilted Fish


Amanda Herring is the big darn deal at the Quilted Fish. She’s the creative genius whose new fabric line Flutter is about to launch at Riley Blake Designs. I and SoulSalt Inc. are proud to support her at this juncture in her creative journey.

Amanda is a true and honest artist who isn’t afraid to talk about anything from depression, to diet coke, to how many fabric patterns a budding new designer must prepare in order to sell their art.

Recently I was able to shadow her at the 2012 Sewing Summit held in Salt Lake City at the Little America Hotel.

Instead of telling you more about this delightful up and coming artist is, let me show you a glimpse into her style and presence:


Follow Amanda on Facebook, Twitter or learn more about her at

Putting It Together

Putting it all together… of all the exercises in the Hedgehog experience, this is the one that takes the most creativity.  Now is the time to enlist the help of three people who love you unconditionally.  These people must not be afraid of any change or shift in your working identity. They must be supportive to you, no matter what.

You can assemble this group in a final meeting or have separate meetings with each one.  Here’s how to proceed:

Step One:  Understand the mechanics of using a Venn Diagram or, some may refer to it as a “bubble map.”  Share that information with your group as you meet.

– The principle of these diagrams is that classes or sets be represented by regions in such relation to one another that all the possible logical relations of these classes can be indicated in the same diagram. That is, the diagram initially leaves room for any possible relation of the classes, and the actual or given relation, can then be specified by indicating that some particular region is null or is not null.

Step Two:  Now that you know that the intersecting regions represent areas of relationship, compare what information from your strengths circle combines with a parallel thought from your passion circle. Record those answers in the area shared by both circles. Do the same for the other two intersecting areas and leave the triangular center area free at this time.

Step Three:  Once you have the relationships recorded, look to see where these three areas can converge down into a specific line of work.  Those specific lines of work are now recorded in the center area.  When I say “specific lines of work” please be aware that I’m not talking necessarily about traditional careers.  I am talking about new working identities that could prove profitable.

Here are specific ideas that have shown up in the past month with the four clients I’ve most recently taken through this exercise:

  • Trainer
  • Coach
  • Consultant
  • New Age Minister for Peace
  • Speaker
  • Diplomat
  • Film maker
  • Athlete
  • Business owner
  • Broker – of information
  • Innovation Wizard
  • Healer

From this new list you have generated, fodder for your future. The boldest step yet is to craft an experiment:  carve out one simple experience where you can try-on a new working identity and see how it feels. See what you can give and what value is repaid to you. The course you will be charting from here on out is experimental.  Use these iterative experiences where you earn and you learn what you can do with the strength, passion and earning capacity that lives innately within you.

If you need further questions answered concerning the Hedgehog experience, you might want to check out The Entrepreneur Starter Kit.

 Return To The Introduction Of This Series: You Have Hedgehogs 

Watches : Cool S#!T

Once upon a time, clock makers pieced the essentials of motive power to make clock mechanisms function with a means to transmit and regulate this power into steady measures. Then they found ways to mark these measurements within the movements so that time could be known to the viewer on the outside.

Expressing my fascination for time pieces doesn’t flow easily.

Putting  words to an abstract feeling of awe and interest in the concept these objects evoke is difficult. I’m unsure and awkward in my attraction for clocks and watches.

I window shop them.

I notice watches on other people’s arms and around their necks.

I maintain a modest collection of my own, including a sundial and an oil painting of a clock.

I hang on to time pieces that wear out. Still valuing the inner machinery, the look, feel and personality of each one has found me planning a large piece of art composed of those objections literally stilled by time itself.

Today all this blends with wizard-like alchemy utilizing design, innovation, and fashion to provide us with the following:


The flexible L.E.D. good-looks of this Gucci watch has the fashion forward mind in mind.

See more shots of this watche’s personality.

Hrological-Machine, the HM4 

MB & F knock my socks off with this Thunderbolt. This displays the heigths of crafstmanship with an three-dimensional artistic approach to kinetic sculpture.

This beauty also comes in three other innovative styles.

OLED Linux Watch

This OLED Linux watch is experimenting with using Bluetooth as a front-end user interface device of PC’s.

Check this out or more insights on this watche’s capacity.

ZeroPointZero Watch

Designed by Luis Beruman, this digital watch is what it looks like – a pair of handcuffs.

Get an idea of how they would look on your wrist here.

Matrix M6001

This piece has been compared to a restored 1960 Ford. While retro in some respects, this watch is nothing but old-school meets the present day.

You can decide on a model and the band color of your own collection.

Seiko Bluetooth Watch

Seiko Japan has provided this slightly oversized, cool-looking, hardworking watch. It can pair with your mobile with built in ring tones, vibes and such.

Find out if this watch can partner up with your phone’s signal, incoming calls and SMS displays.


Reminiscent of a Cylon helmet from Battlestar Galatica, this London Storm watch is my favorite within this collection.

View this watch in black or slate.

And so it is that I present seven current beauties new on the watch scene.

Each one is a masterful exposé on design and utility.

How would you rank these watches in terms of your most favorite to least favorite?