Finding Your Purpose: Embrace Change To Find Your Right Path With Danielle Silverman

by | Dec 14, 2023 | Podcasts

SWGR | Finding Your Purpose

 

Sometimes, we find ourselves in a stage where we are uncomfortable within the workplace, This soon leads to burnout. The key is to find your purpose, to find the path that’s right for you. However, that’s easier said than done. In this episode, Danielle Silverman, a Coach and Consultant, talks about how a vision coach can help you in the search for your purpose. She takes us through the process, showing us how to uncover the stories that show the way. Danielle also touches on the role of reinvention in her own career and how it has shaped her leadership. Learn to embrace change with Danielle Silverman, and find your true purpose today.

 

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Website Link: https://reinventing-u.com/

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Finding Your Purpose: Embrace Change To Find Your Right Path With Danielle Silverman

Before I get to our wonderful guest, I’d like to invite you to see where your presentation skills are strong by taking our free four-minute assessment at SpeakForResultsQuiz.com. That’s where you can see where your presentation skills are strong and are helping you, and where perhaps a bit of support could help you get the results you need and the recognition that you deserve.

My guest is Danielle Silverman of reinventing-u. I asked Danielle to join us because she is a wonderful career coach who helps you decide when it’s time to quit, how to find a new job, and most importantly, what your purpose is and how you find the job that’s going to fulfill yourself and is going to give you a fulfilling life.

I spend a lot of time helping people iron out communication problems so that they can get past the glass ceiling without having to quit, as it’s expensive when you quit. Danielle is the person to turn to when you’ve decided, “It is time to do something else.” You want to make sure that you don’t just take the problem with you when you go to a new organization but truly find out what it is you want to do.

Danielle’s official bio is that she’s passionate about helping individuals embrace change. Danielle Silverman uses coaching to accompany clients through career and life transitions. She believes that change is a feature, not a bug, and that as the speed of change is constantly increasing, reinvention is the new literacy.

Danielle is based in Montreal, Canada. She’s a fluently bilingual executive leadership change and career management coach and consultant. Danielle has coached hundreds of people in transition and provided management and leadership coaching and training to dozens of organizations. She combines courage, warmth, and compassion.

Danielle brings to the table extensive experience culled through wide-ranging experience in management, marketing communication, business administration, project management, event management, stress management, career management, strategic planning, all sorts of leadership, and organizational development in public, private, and non-profit settings. Danielle’s a wonderful, warm person with a great deal of wisdom. I know you’ll enjoy the interview. Onto the conversation with Danielle Silverman.

Danielle Silverman, welcome to the show.

Thank you. It is so wonderful to be here.

I’m happy to have you here. I was on your show. I have been meaning to get you back on my show, so I’m glad we got this to happen. I can’t wait to all the great things that you have to say. Before we start, let me ask you, who would be your dream interview? If you could interview someone who’s no longer with us, who would it be, what would you ask them, and who should be listening? This is about speakers, so who should be listening?

You are right. There are so many people that I would love to interview, alive or dead. The one that comes to mind first is Maya Angelou. First of all, I love her quotes and her poetry, but she said something. There’s one famous quote that I repeat very often, and that is, “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” That’s what I live by. That’s what I hope for the world as well.

I know it sounds a bit lofty, but my prayer for the world is about peace, how people feel, and how they want to be happy, fulfilled, and at peace with themselves. It would be wonderful to have a conversation with her about her background, everything that she’s accomplished, and all the difficulties that she’s had in her life. Who should be listening? Everybody. I don’t think it matters, whether it is people who are speakers, who are coaches, who are in the public eye, who live a quiet life in the country, or who are in turmoil.

Get up every day, put your shoes on, and go forward with what has to be done.

One step at a time and one conversation at a time.

I always remember a line I read from one of my favorite authors. It was a character in the story. He said, “Sometimes, prayer is putting one foot in front of the other.” That’s what you have to do. I’m a huge fan of Maya Angelou. I’ll be there, too. I asked you to be on this show because I spend a lot of time helping female executives get past the glass ceiling. Often, it’s a matter of straightening out the miscommunication. Often, women especially, many of us, if we don’t feel appreciated, sometimes, it’s a communication problem. It’s not really that it’s biased. People will get fed up and quit, and then they find the same problem in another organization because they are the common element.

Sometimes, you’re in an organization where the values are not your values, or you are doing something that you’re miserable. You don’t want to be there anymore. That’s where you come in. That’s where it is like, “It’s time to call in Danielle.” How do you know when it’s time to quit your job? How do you know if you are in the wrong job? How do you find out what your purpose is?

Those are two different questions.

Thank you.

It starts with realizing that you’re unhappy. It is trying to figure out why you’re unhappy. Most often, it is because a person’s values don’t match the company’s values. When that happens, it’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. The more you try to fit it, the more harm it does you and the more miserable you get. I had an example. It was a client. Let’s call her Valerie. I haven’t even asked her for her permission, but this is a true story. She was extremely unhappy in her job to the point where she was going to quit. Everybody around her was telling her she needed to quit, but she wasn’t quitting for a variety of reasons.

The more you try to fit in a company that is misaligned with your values, the more harm there will be. Click To Tweet

One day, she went to see her doctor. Her doctor said, “What’s going on?” Valerie told her doctor what was going on. Her doctor said, “You need to go on sick leave.” It was sick leave on medication, therapy, and all that kind of stuff. Often, what happens is we don’t realize what’s going on and we end up getting burnt out, but really, it’s depression. It’s mental health. You don’t want it to get to that stage.

When you start being a little bit uncomfortable, you don’t get along with your boss or colleagues, or something is going on, try and figure out, “Is it something with me? Is it a communication problem?” Speak to somebody, whether it’s a coach or a therapist. It doesn’t matter as long as you try and build some awareness about what it is that’s going on. If you and the company need to part ways, then face that. Look at it and say, “I cannot do this anymore because what they’re asking me to do goes against who I am.” Fundamentally, it’s about understanding who you are and figuring out who you are.

I like that.

Also, what you stand for and what you believe in.

It is easier said than done.

That’s your second question about finding out what your purpose is. There are many different ways. Some people go the traditional route of what your values are, what your vision is, and those sorts of things. I like to go at it a little bit differently. I’m not unique in this. I didn’t invent this. I know of other people who have done this and are doing this. That is to take stories from your life and try and connect them in some way.

Those are various things that have happened, milestone moments in your life, or anodyne moments in your life that have come up that you describe. How did you feel when this happened? Who were you with? What were the circumstances? How old were you? Where were you? It is that sort of thing. We look at those stories and analyze them. We look for the golden threads that are going through these stories. We look for interrupted dreams. We look for things about our personality that make us hold back.

SWGR | Finding Your Purpose

Finding Your Purpose: We look at those stories, analyze them, and look for the golden threads that are going through these stories.

 

I’ll never forget. If I may tell a quick story. When I was fifteen, I told my father I wanted to be a doctor. He said, “I know you like I know the inside of my pocket. You’ll never be a doctor.” What did I do? I said, “I have to prove him wrong.” At the age of nineteen, which was very young, I got into medical school without doing a university degree first. That’s right out of grade thirteen. I failed my first year of medical school because I’m very squeamish. There’s a difference between dissecting a fetal pig and dissecting a human cadaver. I learned, but it took me years after that to figure it out. I had vowed to prove him wrong, and this was something that was blocking me.

We have to look at all of these things and figure out who we are fundamentally. Much later in life, for example, I realized I started doing this for myself. I have clients who did it as well, and I can give you examples of those. When I did it for myself, I realized that when I was very young, I wanted to be a missionary, and then I wanted to be a teacher and then a doctor. When I look at all of those, what’s in common? The common is helping people. Fundamentally, this is who I am. We look for these things in people.

I have another client. Let’s call him John. He wrote in his stories that he loved playing soccer when he was a little boy. He wanted to play defense. That was the role he wanted to play. I thought that was very interesting. I asked him, “Why specifically did you want to play defense?” He said, “When I was a little boy, my father always told me that I needed to play center because that’s where you score the goals. In life, you want to be there. You want to be there to score the goals.”

In his reflection afterward, John came to me and said, “I realized after our discussion that I don’t want to be the number one in the organization. I want to be the number two. I want to be the person who protects the goal, protects the CEO, and protects the team.” Through the telling of this story, he discovered something about himself that was fundamental to who he is. That’s the process that we go through.

What kind of job did he wound up with once he realized this?

He wound up as an assistant director to a director of a nonprofit organization. That was very interesting as well because that’s a job that popped up. That’s another thing. I don’t believe in coincidences. As soon as you start talking about what it is you want to do, the opportunities come up. The doors open. It’s quite extraordinary. Time after time, this happens.

As soon as you start talking about what you want to do, the opportunities come, and the doors open. Click To Tweet

If you realize who you are and what you want to do, there’s a myth out there to do what you love and the money will follow. Is that true? Does that happen? Is it possible?

It’s not always true, but it is possible. It’s a fear that many people have. It’s one of the things that holds people back. That’s also why I don’t talk about money until we’ve gone through the entire process. I love to say you have to allow yourself to dream. Let the pendulum swing as far possible as you can.

Allow yourself to dream. I love that.

We will bring it back to something more realistic. In the process of going through life stories and whatever other exercises that we do go through, in the end, what happens is you come up with a series of possibilities of things that you can do that fit who you are. The example I gave you of helping others. There are so many ways to help others. There are a zillion ways. I had to draw my mind back to figure out, “Where do I want to fit in all of this?” There as well, we write down as many things as possible and then narrow them down.

The idea of monetizing has to do with once you’ve figured out what your passion is and who you are. You need to understand what the value proposition is that you are going to be offering. You identify what that is first. You do some market research. Is there a demand for it? First of all, do you enjoy it? What specific aspects about it do you enjoy and why? The word in French is de côté. We take this thing apart into little pieces so that you understand it at its core.

Who else is doing it out there? How are they doing it? How is what you want to do any different from what they want to be doing? You can look at, “Do you have the skills to do what you want to do?” Is there any way you can test the waters and do a little bit of exploring? If it’s a service or a product, even while keeping your job, try and test it and see if it works.

I love this idea of taking things apart. I remember for years, I have been asking people, “What’s the coolest thing about what you do?” Most people can’t answer that. What’s the part of what you do that lights you up? What’s the part of what you do you wish you would never have to do again? Sometimes, that’s easier to find. Even in that, a lot of people can’t pin it down to say, “In my job, I need to do this. I need to do A, B, and C. I can, but the part I really love is B. I don’t like the C part so much.” Most people can’t do that without help.

It is very difficult to do any of this without help. It is possible. It will take a lot longer. Even if it’s a sounding board, you need somebody to think with. It’s very hard to think with a blank canvas, for example.

SWGR | Finding Your Purpose

Finding Your Purpose: You need somebody to think with. It’s very hard to think with a blank canvas.

 

We are always too close to our own stories to be objective about it, which is why what you do is so valuable. You are being the outside eye and the informed outside ear who can listen and say, “Maybe this would fit here.” Take us a little bit through the process that you take people through. They sit down and tell their stories, and then what?

I call myself the vision coach because that’s the biggest part of what we do together. It’s looking for that vision of who they want to be, who they are fundamentally, and who they believe they want to be. We are then exploring that in as much detail as possible in this kind of career, that kind of career, or whatever. Going back to my example of wanting to help people, I could have gone into any one of the paramedical fields, like physiotherapy, osteopathy, or even massage therapy or something like that. It could be in education, therapy, or as a coach, where I eventually landed.

You have to explore each one of these. That means going out and speaking to people who are doing it and asking them what we call informational interviews. If you’ve ever gone on a job search or if you want to change jobs, you know what an informational interview is. It is ideal for people who want to change industries, for example, because you’re not asking for a job. Networking at that level is research. It’s exploring. It’s finding out what the other person is doing and asking very straight questions like, “How did you get into this job? What do you like about your job? What do you not like?”

You were talking about you asking people, “What is it that you enjoy? What is it that you don’t enjoy? If you had to do it all over again, how would you do it? What advice would you give someone like me?” It is those kinds of questions. You also have to be self-aware of what you’re feeling as you walk into the environment, how you relate to the person that you’re speaking with, and how you relate to what they’re saying. Can you imagine yourself being in that position and doing what they’re doing?

I go back to my example because it’s a full example. I spent a weekend taking a course in Osteopathy to figure out if this was something I might want to do. In the end, I decided it wasn’t because I couldn’t imagine myself being alone in an office. You’re not talking very much when you’re working physically with somebody on their body. I couldn’t imagine it.

You couldn’t picture yourself in that situation.

It’s about also trying to visualize. We do visualization exercises occasionally. It depends. I did that with another client of mine, Sarah, not that long ago. It was at the beginning of 2023. She was trying to decide whether to stay in a job that she did not enjoy or if she wanted to do something else. There was an example she gave me about how she’d done some volunteer work with youth and she was teaching them some things. We did a visualization about how she felt doing that particular volunteer work. I have it in one of my podcasts. It was liberating for her because she realized how much she enjoyed that particular aspect of what she was doing. She went on to be a teacher in her field.

What’s the first thing you would have somebody do if they’re thinking, “I need to get out of here. I need to do something else. I’m fed up. I’m ready to quit?”

It’s not about what I have them do. It’s a conversation. I want to find out what is going on. I want to find out what mental state they’re in, if they are ready to move on, go, and find something else, or if they need some other support, like therapy, for example. Often, what happens when you’re in a very negative state of mind is you want to leave and find a job somewhere else. Because you’re not in the right state of mind, the interviews you go through, the people you talk with through networking, and things like that, you will come across as negative.

The people who you’re speaking with, whether they realize it or not, unconsciously, they’re sensing that there’s something wrong. They will push you away. You will not get the job. We first have to figure out what’s going on. Are you ready to make this change? There is a lot of awareness that has to happen. It’s not therapy. I’m not a therapist. I tell people that upfront, but we have to be ready to make that change.

Taking time to explore is a good thing. If somebody has gone through that, they’ve told their stories, and have found their throughline, if you will, then what?

They interview people to make sure that this is the right thing for them. It depends on what it is. Sometimes, somebody wants to become an entrepreneur, which is a different way of functioning or a different thing. Sometimes, they want to change careers completely. It’s about figuring out, “Where do I start? Who do I speak with? What do I need? Do I need to uplevel my skills? Do I have transferable skills?” Sometimes, it’s about finding a job.

I had a client in 2022. We’ll call her Carolyn. She was working in the finance industry. She was very unhappy because the particular organization she was working with wasn’t meeting her needs. She was working alone. There was no teamwork, and she missed that. As we worked together, she wanted to change completely. We worked to figure out what it was she wanted to do. She was ready to go back to school and do something completely different. She had a personal experience that she wanted to capitalize on and was seriously considering doing that.

She came to me one day and said, “I don’t think I can stay in this organization a day longer but I can’t quit. I have to be able to find a job somewhere else.” She happened to go to a conference where she met somebody she’d known for many years who worked for an organization that she had a tremendous amount of respect for and who happened to also be looking for someone with her skills. Instead of doing something completely different like going back to school and so on, she transferred her existing skills to another organization through a meeting she had at a conference.

That’s so important.

You have to be aware of what you’re able to do and what you’re willing to do. She was willing to go back to school, but there was something that was keeping her from saying, “I can no longer stay here even another day.” Different things pop up with time. I’m not sure if I answered all of your questions because things happen sometimes that come in the way of.

SWGR | Finding Your Purpose

Finding Your Purpose: You should be aware of what you can and are willing to do.

 

Technically, if you’re going through the whole process to the end, you find that spot and start to look for it, whether it’s working for yourself, going into a different field, or going in the same field with a different organization or a different industry, which is possible. It’s also an option that most people don’t realize. You can be in technology and work in pharmaceuticals or finance. They are two completely different industries. The people who are in pharmaceuticals believe that you have to have that background or else they will not hire you. That’s a myth or a perception that, in my opinion, is incorrect. You have to cross those barriers.

This brings me to my last question for you. You and I have talked about the role of reinvention in your career and leadership. Certainly, it’s something that we see over and over again. We are no longer in a world where someone gets a job right out of college. They work for 30 years and then retire and go play golf in their retirement. My career as an executive coach with presentation skills is career number five. Not all of which were my choice. There are some throughlines. It’s always been about communication. You’ve got some great thoughts about the role of reinvention in your career and leadership. How do you look at that?

The first thing is to realize that we are living in a world that is in constant turmoil where change is a constant. It’s not a bug. It’s a feature of how we live. We have to embrace that. Gone are the 30-year careers because organizations have a lifespan of, on average, about six years. You’re not going to spend 30 years in an organization when it’s going to die after 6 years. You have about three and a half years before you have to reinvent yourself. In the tech world, it’s a lot shorter than that. If tech companies last one year, that’s a good thing. You are reinventing yourself every six months.

We live in a world with constant turmoil, and change is constant. It's not a bug. It's a feature of how we live. We have to embrace that. Click To Tweet

What you have to do is understand that you have to constantly look at what you’re doing. It’s a little bit like manufacturing where you’re testing to see if something works or not. You test something. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t work, then you have to adjust it. What is it that worked? What didn’t work? You’re constantly looking at, “What is it that I need to adjust?”

Even as an entrepreneur, when we’re doing something, if it’s not getting the response that you’re expecting, instead of pushing through and doing the same thing over and over again, which we used to do way back when, you go and do a survey or figure out. You try and figure out what it is that you need to fix, what’s working, and what isn’t working. Don’t throw out the baby in the bath water. You keep what’s working and fix what else needs to happen.

It is the same thing with organizations. Leadership of organizations need to understand this. If you want to be able to survive and thrive, get a group of people together in your organization and ask yourself, “What would kill the company? What sorts of things might hit us that will kill the company?” In the past couple of years, it has been a pandemic that has killed many companies. It has gone from even speakers who’ve had to transfer their skills from speaking in person, which was no longer possible, to speaking online. Having to transform your skills and understand how to do that is a necessity. It’s the same thing with your career.

That sounds very good. Yet, those of us who are still working open up the email in the morning and there are fires to be put out. There are 50 new messages in the inbox. How do you take the time or find the time for long-term thinking for that analysis in such a short-term world?

Some older rules are still very valid. When you talk about the example of emails, what’s important and not urgent? What’s important and urgent? What’s not important and not urgent? You leave them aside. What can you delegate? What do you have to take care of right away? Was it Stephen Covey who came up with those many years ago?

Yeah.

It’s still valid. We have a tendency to always want to put out the fires. There are two timelines. It’s today and tomorrow. We look at these timelines based on what can we do now that will help us tomorrow.

One of the things that I found is for me to do it, I set up accountability time. I have at least an hour every Friday with an accountability partner where we say, “We will turn off the internet and finish writing this plan or this idea. We will finish writing this article.” For me, I have to have somebody to report to. I need an accountability partner. Otherwise, I’m so easily distracted. Knowing I’m meeting somebody is what has me do it.

Earlier in the season, I had a wonderful interview with the great Dorie Clark who talks about a survey of 100 CEOs. 97% of them said the most important thing is the time for long-term thinking. Only 94% of them did it. That’s another thing. It has been wonderful to have you. There is so much more to talk about it. Tell us quickly what your website is.

My website is reinventing-u.com.

If we’ve got a reader who is saying, “She’s speaking my language,” what’s one thing they can do as soon as they finish reading?

They can start writing down and thinking about what their stories are. They can start thinking about what were they like as children. What did they want to do? Allow themselves to dream.

Allow yourself to dream. That’s a great thing. That’s a great phrase to finish on. Thank you so much for joining us on the show. Readers, if you enjoyed this, please tell your friends. Subscribe to us on YouTube and on whatever app you are tuning in. Do us a favor and leave us a good review on Apple Podcasts. That’s the one that people track. It would help us a great deal. Tell your friends. This has been the show. I’ll see you on the next one.

 

Important Links

 

About Danielle Silverman

SWGR | Finding Your PurposePassionate about helping individuals embrace change, Danielle uses coaching to accompany clients through career and life transitions. She believes that change is a feature, not a bug and that, as the speed of change is constantly increasing, reinvention is the new literacy.

As a fluently bilingual EXECUTIVE, LEADERSHIP, CHANGE and CAREER MANAGEMENT COACH and CONSULTANT, Danielle has coached hundreds of people in transition and provided management and leadership coaching and training to dozens of organizations.

Combining courage, warmth, and compassion Danielle brings to the table extensive expertise culled through wide-ranging experience in management, marketing communication, business administration, project and event management, stress management, as well as strategic planning, career management, leadership and organizational development in private, public, and non-profit sectors.