Dr. Kim Burns

It’s my anniversary! On September 3, 2021, I wrote in my journal that it was the first day of the rest of my life. My friends treated me to mimosas and breakfast. It was time to officially launch my new life as a full-time coach and consultant. This was the official transition from full-time employee to an independent business owner. A week later, I had my official federal tax ID number. Like the Velveteen Rabbit, I was real!

Yesterday, I finished legendary executive coach Marshall Goldsmith’s book The Earned Life: Lose Regret, Choose Fulfilment. In it, he shares a checklist for what he calls an earned life; a life lived according to our purpose and values. His checklist to achieve this life of fulfillment and no regrets includes motivation, ability, understanding, confidence, support and marketplace. As I wrote down my notes in my commonplace book, I thought the items in the checklist would be a good framework for my reflections on the past year.

I certainly had the motivation to succeed in my new role as a full-time coach and consultant. Goldsmith defines motivation as the emotional state induced by having a goal coupled with the impulse to do all the things needed to achieve the goal. I no longer had the salary associated with my full-time dean’s job, so I was motivated by financial need. I had been preparing to eventually pursue coaching and consulting upon retirement; it just happened earlier than expected. I also wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. My overdeveloped discipline muscle helped me complete the necessary tasks to get started.

With 27 years experience in community college administration, I had the ability and understanding needed to offer my consulting services. I had completed Katie Linder’s Slow Hustle Mastermind to learn the basics of business ownership. I had been working towards ICF coach certification by completing Katie’s Coach Training Program and gaining coaching experience.

Confidence is the area where I was lacking, especially in the beginning. Luckily, I had friends who assured me I had what it takes to succeed. They believed in me 100%. At the beginning, I just went on that belief because I could think of a million reasons why I wouldn’t succeed. I knew I could do the work. I just didn’t know if anyone would need my help and how I would find those who did.

In the area of support, I had an embarrassment of riches. Not one person expressed doubt in my decision or told me I was making a mistake. My husband had full faith in me. My friends cheered me on and celebrated my small and big wins. My network of colleagues provided leads, referrals, and hired me. My family, friends, and professional network have meant everything to me this past year. THANK YOU!

Even with all of the above, this endeavor wouldn’t work if there wasn’t a demand; what Goldsmith labels marketplace. There is demand. Colleges, school districts, and nonprofits are understaffed. They need help. Often, it is less expensive to hire a consultant to get a project done than to hire a benefitted staff member. There is also a demand for coaches, which is a burgeoning field. The ICF 2020 Global Coaching Study determined that the number of coaches increased 33% between 2015 to 2019.

In addition to motivation, ability, understanding, confidence, support and marketplace, I also filled this past year with family time and alone time. The waning of the pandemic has brought more socializing. I’ve also had more opportunities for beach time than usual, which is an unexpected bonus!

So, what have I actually been doing for the past year? Here’s a snippet – by the numbers:

My first year of entrepreneurship, by the numbers.

I want to offer a big thank you to my clients, who have welcomed me into their hearts and organizations. This year has been the absolute best because of all of you. Onward to year 2!

I would love to hear from you. You can send me an email at drkimburns@gmail.comconnect with me on LinkedInTwitter or Instagram. You can also sign up for my monthly newsletter.


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