Pete Aldin is a personal and professional coach. He runs Great Circle, helping people interact more effectively with the people they lead, with their families, with their colleagues and partners. A PWF reader has alerted us to Pete’s success story.
In 2004, after several stressful years of chronic back pain with severe restrictions as to what he could do – and after being unemployed for most of that year – Pete started asking himself something…
“1. ASK ‘WHAT CAN I DO?’ Every time I’d think or hear of an option that my back condition said was impossible, I’d ask that question.
‘OK. So I can’t go back to retail because I can’t carry customer’s parcels to their car or operate the registers which are always below my waist-height. So what can I do?’
Eventually I was left with a list of cans and musts:
- I can train people
- I must be able to move and change position/posture constantly
- I must have a high degree of control over my work environment
- Hey, I can run training courses because they fit those three criteria and I have qualifications/experience in that!
- I can coach
- I can speak on the telephone
- So I could train live and phone-coach!
Now I finally had a direction to head in, I could create new options based on that focus…
2. THE ‘WILL DO’ APPROACH
You’ve heard of the ‘can-do’ attitude. Well, I realised that many of us also have a will-do attitude and it was only strengthened in me by that season of my life.
One week when the 29th job application landed on deaf ears, I told myself ‘I will send another’ … and that one led to a contact which eventually led to a contract 12 months later.
Whenever I saw a job (ad) for which I was unqualified but which looked attractive, I told myself ‘I will go for that!’ One of these led to 2 months of fulltime work over summer.
When I took on a 3-day-a-week position over 4 months which required two hours of painful commuting on crowded trains on each one of those 140 days (painful because of my back condition), I told myself each morning ‘I can do this and I will.’ And I did.
I tried new things, I extended myself, I discovered more of what I was capable of, I positioned myself for the next break-through…
I don’t say this out of ego (I haven’t even mentioned the place of prayer in getting me through this time!). This attitude is a normal behaviour for anyone refuses to play the victim.
It does move people out of a rut and out of unemployment/underemployment… even out of a career rut.
3. WHEN YOU CAN’T GET A JOB, START A BUSINESS
And this is what I worked toward. It didn’t have to be complex, it didn’t require a 53 page business plan or $200,000 bank loan.
When none of the jobs I was in and out of between July 04 and July 05 suited my needs or restrictions, it became clearer than ever that not only did I have the makings of a damn fine coaching/development service within me, it was actually the best possible option to pursue health-wise.
I chose from that point to offer my services as a contractor, not an employee. I sought clients, not a boss. Income went up, not down.
Through my local chamber of commerce, I’ve met other solo business owners with a similar story. The new mum who now offers her secretarial services to a range of businesses but does the work at home; the former regional sales manager who (when his wife walked out on him, leaving him with 3 teenage sons still in High School) quit sales and started a mortgage brokerage which got him through the tough time and is now booming as his boys move into their 20s and he has more time for business; the plumber with a bad back who refined the services he offers and now specialises in those jobs…”
Pete says these three principles have worked for him and have also helped him coach several jobseekers back into meaningful employment and lifestyle.
Do you have anything to add to Pete’s experiences?