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.

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.





SoulSalt Inc. Welcomes a New Staff Member

As founder of SoulSalt, Inc., it is my pleasure to formally welcome our newest staff member to our ranks.  Please meet Professor SoulSalt.  This fine fellow joins our staff bringing with him a legacy of wisdom, practicality and high intellection.

His first assignment was to unravel one of the complex mysteries facing many of our clients within the hair and beauty industry: how to price your hair cuts.

Here you see the good professor posing with us at the Image Studio Salon Success Summit in September 2012.












If you’d like to witness for yourself the wizardry and style of our Sage, click below.  We recorded his entire debut presentation at the Success Summit.



Do It And Review It – Final Steps To Project Management

Once you’ve wisely taken time to scope and plan out your project, you need to launch it.

This interview  will help you understand some of the dynamics of successfully running a project. 

No project is considered complete until you’ve wrapped it up properly and archived your plans and outcomes for future reference. This clip discusses things to consider when reviewing and closing out a project.


Check out our entire playlist series of Project Management on our YouTube channel! 

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

What Are The Benefits Of Play In The Work Place? Come Find Out!

SoulSalt Inc. is teaming up with Planet Play in an experiential learning engagement geared toward small and medium sized businesses. If you are an executive playing in this realm and/or your team is, here’s what you can expect:

o   A new agreement has emerged between corporations and the talent that
works there.

o   Do you know what it is?

o   Learn about this new agreement and how well you are keeping up your end
of the bargain.

o   Engaging and retaining top team members is not just smart, it is a
critical competitive edge.

o   Gain insights on the employee and corporate aptitudes your company needs
to nurture as part of keeping good people retained and growing.

o   If you are an executive, gain insights on the habits you may have that
are tripping up your employees. Also gain a stronger understanding of those
things you are doing well and must continue to do regularly to keep your
company strong.

o   Each participant will leave with a scorecard showing how well you show
up in each new aptitude.

o   Consequently you will also leave with a two week action plan and an
accountability partner so you can take the learning back to work and apply

In the process of play you will see yourself in a manner that may be rare to witness at work. Come be inspired and have fun in the process.

Friday, November 2nd
8 AM to noon (check in 8:00-8:15)
$50 per person, this includes:
A half day of play, fun, learning and experiments
Full lunch buffet
Also included is one hour of games and a $10 game card to be used at any time (valued at $25)

Please register via email at or call 801.631.8572.

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