Etta Jacobs: "The seminar started dislodging my resistance to change. Even though I didn't recognize it, my [former] job was no longer challenging, and there was nowhere to go. The only way up was via a particular corporate ladder I didn't want to climb." Now, with a new job and new home, she's on a new path. "I was sleepwalking through my life and didn't know it," says Etta, who believes she's finally living the life she was meant to have.
Norma Simmons gives herself structure by using a business plan she devised in the seminar: a written description of where she wants to go and what steps she can take to get there. "It has given me a sort of glue that I need right now to hold things together," she says. Having to continually reinvent herself is tough emotionally, but Norma's accomplishments are also a source of strength. "Every day I figure out a way to make it work," she says.
Yakiry Malena has survived massive layoffs. Now she has a lot more responsibility, yet the prospects for promotion are more distant because the budget has been slashed. "It may take longer than I planned," she says, but she remains confident. Yakiry says she understands the importance of moving toward something that will really make her happy. "Life is so short and so precious," she says. "As a country we'd been focused on success and money. Then we realized there's more."
Chris Coun is thinking about getting a degree in education and is concentrating on starting a family with her husband. "It's not easy to say goodbye to a company I worked at for 13 years," she says. "This is the first time my security and identity are being challenged since I started my career. But when it came right down to it, I just didn't want to be the kind of person who says what they want to do and then never does it."
Melissa Dalrymple stayed with her plan to go back to business school. Her conviction that she's moving toward a goal and not just running away from life has grown. The seminar's emphasis on creating small milestones, which let her see incremental successes, helped with Melissa's short attention span. She has learned that a career isn't about "either getting to the big goal right away or you've achieved nothing," she says. "You don't get a gold star every day."