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

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.





You Have Hedgehogs

When I use the term “hedgehog”, I am referring to something beyond the frumpy little pin-cushion like critter.  I’m talking about each person’s latent working identities.  I’m talking about those places where your passion, your strength, your ideas meet in powerful synergy with a market need or a market want.

 Years ago I wrote several blog spots with a coaching colleague on this topic. Over the next few weeks we’ll be reposting the articles which outline the process I generally use when supporting a reinvention client.  I hope they are useful for those of you who are switching out the way you work and the way you live.

Please let me know if you have further questions on the process or the programs we currently run on the topic at SoulSalt Inc.

Coming Next:  Part 1 Entrepreneurs Hedgehog


Reinventing Your Working Identity

Are you still trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up?  Do you feel stuck in your current position?  Do you find yourself thinking that there must be more to life than “this”?

Are you an entrepreneur that is successful, but you feel stuck in your current level of success and want to get to the next level of success, but aren’t sure what to do or how to get there?

Are you tired of your job? Are you tired of being tired of your job?

We are launching another SoulSalt group coaching engagement that will start on July 31st.  We are looking for individuals who can relate to the following questions and statements:

  • What are my strengths?
  • What is stopping me from finding out what I want to do?
  • I want to live more of my life for “me” versus for someone or something else.
  • What sort of work would I love to do?
  • I want to know how to organize the next phase of my life around the answers to the questions above.
  • I want to know where I can truly shine.

The group runs through September 4th (6 weeks).  The fee is $500.00 and includes all of your supplies and materials which are valued at over $100.00.

To register, please contact Shannon at (801) 631-8572 or at
View the invite here!

Living in the Storm of the Neutral Zone

The oscillating space between what you’ve done in the past and the recalibration of what you’ll do in the future often involves choppy waters. We call these choppy waters the neutral zone of a working identity transition.

While in this zone it’s important to remember that the process of finding a new working identity should not be compared to digging around in your head for a single hidden treasure. We are not looking for that “one true thing” you can become. Instead, finding your way is comprised of a collection of explorative journeys within a variety of possibilities. All these possibilities begin in the realm of ideation and brainstorm.

Part of my job is to support the client through this choppy time by taking these ideas and concepts and converting them into actual single steps or small projects we call “experiments”.

These experiments give you a chance to step into a possibility to sense how it feels. We never know what will happen while experimenting, yet I can guarantee that each one informs us by offering up a piece of concrete – a block of experiential knowledge that informs future experiments and can be built upon.

Through her past connections and conversations, Victoria has been able to germinate three potential experiments.

She describes these as such:

  1. My coaching work with nonprofit arts professionals is slow to grow in part because people in this low-paying industry don’t always have the funds to pay for a coach even when they want one. I recently received an email with information about an opportunity for young arts professionals in California to apply for coaching scholarships. I will send out one of my bi-monthly communiqués with information about this funding source. The hope of course is that they will use any grant monies to hire me, but I know that simply sharing the information is an act of good will that is important in and of itself.
  2. I’ve been developing a program to support first time executive directors of in the nonprofit arts sector. I recently got a nibble from a national arts service organization that is interested in helping me pilot the program. They could provide me with fiscal sponsorship which would enable me to apply for project development grants, marketing support to get the word out about my product and the use of their distance learning software to create online courses. I’m not sure how this will play out, but knowing that a major player in my sector believes in the concept and wants to help is a terrific first step.
  3. A coaching client has been using Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People for some of our work together. It has excited her so much she’s been talking with her colleagues about it. She suggested I start a leadership book group using this book for her and others like her – she indicated that she and her colleagues would be willing to “pay me” to create a group to help them work through it together. Music to my ears.


When we change our career and we reinvent the manner in which we work we can’t follow conventional wisdom. No amount of self-reflection or pondering can substitute for jumping in and taking action. Once you jump in, as Victoria has, your vision becomes far more informed from that experiential vantage point. So if you are working on a career change, pull your head out of diving into the depths of thought. Plunge your entire self into the act of doing something.

To read the next entry of Victoria’s story click here.


To start at the beginning of Victoria’s story click here.