Kristy Wenz, Chief Communications Officer for Winetraveler
After working in Marketing & PR for two decades, Kristy decided to make a change to an industry that really excited her.
WHAT IF YOUR CAREER LOOKED LIKE TRAVELING THROUGH WINE COUNTRY?
A slight breeze cools your skin as you sit in the afternoon sun. In the distance, you hear words you don’t recognize, a melodic language just faint enough that you can’t identify the specifics of its European roots. Instead of turning to identify the voice, your gaze wanders over the grape fields in the expanse below. You trace the rows with your eyes, curious which trees are responsible for the wine you’ve been swirling in your glass. You take your time sipping on this glassful, guessing at its tasting notes, as you decided to ask the in-house sommelier which mezze to pair with this varietal. These unhurried moments are as delectable as the wine itself. You can’t help but think, “This. Is. The. Life.”
A BITTER BEGINNING WITH A SMOOTH FINISH
If you were transported in the story above, you may have imagined yourself retired or on vacation. Surely that kind of life couldn’t be a career, right? WRONG. Let me tell you a story about my friend Kristy. Kristy signed up for Happen To Your Career emails a few years ago. After almost two decades of working in marketing and PR for an industry that wasn’t particularly thrilling, she knew it was time for a change. Kristy read a few emails, listened to the podcast, and passively dreamed of living a career she loved. She’d heard of people going on sabbatical for career self-discovery, so at one point, she and her family packed their bags for a European adventure. Like many of our students, she took flight seeking an ‘AHA’ moment. But after a while, she landed back home, still unsure of what she wanted and how to get it.
THE EMAIL THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING
As disappointment and depression set in, Kristy talked with her husband about her career woes. As they collectively committed to do everything possible to find career happiness, Kristy watched a Happen To Your Career email land in her inbox. The message? It was the last day to join Career Change Bootcamp. Kristy couldn’t believe it. Minutes after deciding to go all in, she was forced to act on her commitment. Taking the email as a sign, she immediately registered for the program.
TURN YOUR VISION BOARD INTO AN ACTION PLAN.
The bootcamp began. As Kristy worked through the modules in the program and talked with her career coach, she realized an essential lesson: the greatest vision, without consistent action, leads nowhere. Early on, Kristy picked up on the importance of momentum. To put it simply (and cheesily), “momentum = mo’ happiness.” Kristy told herself, “No matter how small the step, I have to keep doing things every day, whether it’s just updating my LinkedIn or contacting somebody that I worked with a long time ago that I can reach out to and connect with again. All those little steps—even if it was just one thing a day—were necessary. I had to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving.” Kristy knew if she stopped moving, fear would kill her progress, so she made a plan to ensure the momentum would keep rolling.
UNCORK THE WINE. IT’S TIME FOR A (MINI) PARTY
To keep from wallowing in the difficulty of navigating a career search, Kristy learned to celebrate small wins along the way. Instead of saving the good wine for an exciting job offer, Kristy began to uncork the full-bodied flavors to celebrate a phone call she hadn’t wanted to make, an interview that helped clarify her goals, or a completed bootcamp activity that helped her identify key strengths she could carry into any new workplace. She identified and celebrated little victories, and these moments of cheer kept her moving forward.
ASK FOR THE BEST BOTTLE.
At the beginning of her journey, Kristy defined four major desires in her dream career:
Today, she gets to work in each of those areas, but her role didn’t just fall into her lap. Instead, she explored positions, connected with the right people, used the Test Drive Method on new types of work, persevered through disappointment, and kept her goals in mind. Eventually, she asked for a role running communications for a wine tourism company. Did you catch that? She ASKED for the role. And they said yes! Kristy worked with the CEO to create a position that utilized her unique skills. This is rare because it’s rare that someone actually asks for what they want. Like Kristy, you may need to ask for a role to be created that benefits both you and your employer.
THE FIRST TASTE OF CAREER HAPPINESS
Today, Kristy gets to live out her career dreams. Her daily work tastes as sweet as a tawny port dessert wine. Delight dances on her tongues as she says her new title, Chief Communications Officer for Winetraveler. Kristy is the perfect example of a phrase we say all the time at Happen To Your Career: People who are willing to do unconventional things end up getting unconventional opportunities. You just have to decide… Are you willing to do the work?
To hear more about Kristy’s road to career happiness, press play on the podcast above.
Kristy Wenz 00:02
There are some things I like about it. But it's kind of been alone and doesn't get very exciting. And it just there was really no upward mobility. It kind of lost its bluster to me at that point.
This is the Happen To Your Career podcast, with Scott Anthony Barlow. We help you stop doing work that doesn't fit you, figure out what does and make it happen. We help you define the work that's unapologetically you, and then go get it. If you're ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.
Scott Anthony Barlow 00:40
What if you were literally stuck in your job? Not because you couldn't leave and not because it was a terrible situation, by the way, I'm using air quotes for terrible, but instead, because if you left, you didn't know what else you do.
Kristy Wenz 00:58
I had this doubt that I would be taken seriously in a different industry, because it really was an industry shift for me. So I was very scared about being taken seriously. And are they just gonna think you know, I'm just some nut that just wants to do this just because I have no experience.
Scott Anthony Barlow 01:14
That's Kristy Wenz. She started a marketing and communications company a while back, yeah, a number of years ago. And at first, it was awesome. It was everything she wanted, it was challenging her in all the right ways. And then one day, she found she was hitting the snooze button. And she'd never done that in her entire life. She knew she was going to need to leave, she knew she was going to need to do something different. But seriously, what else would she do? If not this, then what? And that's where we got the opportunity to meet her. Here's her story of exactly how she went from listening to this very podcast, and all the way to getting her own job offer, created for her, working in wine and tourism and most of all, writing and communications. Here's her story.
Kristy Wenz 02:07
I am officially the chief communications officer with winetraveler.com. And it's sort of a hybrid of roles that kind of involves operations as well as kind of a chief of staff angle, and obviously, the communications piece. So it's really kind of a self created role that I designed with the CEO of the company. And it's been fantastic so far. I've been at it for about a month here and things are going really well. I'm very excited and thoroughly happy for the first time in my career, perhaps in my life.
Scott Anthony Barlow 02:38
No small effort on your part, I know that we got to take along for the ride and participate on the journey. But you've done some really amazing work. And we're going to talk about what went into that both the good things and maybe the harder things too at the same time. But let me first of all, just say congratulations, because I don't think you and I have actually talked since it has happened other than over email. So.
Kristy Wenz 03:00
Exactly, exactly. The official. After I rang the bell, got to ring that awesome bell. Pretty awesome. Yay.
Scott Anthony Barlow 03:08
And here's the thing that I wanted to ask you about first, why was this such an exciting role for you? What about it really lined up with what you wanted? Because you did some amazing work identifying what would create an ideal career for you. But this lines up in so many different ways. So what are some of those ways?
Kristy Wenz 03:25
Oh, there's so many. I mean, it really kind of ticks all my buckets. I love travel. I love wine. I like history and culture. So I knew that that had to be a part, right, I wanted that to be a part of whatever I did. I also needed something that was going to be flexible and allow me to work remotely, kind of on my own hours. And I put in a lot of time, but it's at my schedule, which is wonderful, especially as a mom. So that was a huge piece for me. And it's really allows me to do all of that, I get to write, I get to be a manager, I get to jump in with ideas. I have a seat at the table and work with a dynamic group of people that are really amazing. And that was important to me as well. Just working with like minded people, people with similar values, and kind of have the same goals and missions that I did. And this really everything fell into line. And I honestly did not think it was possible even six months ago.
Scott Anthony Barlow 04:17
Isn't that crazy?
Kristy Wenz 04:19
Yeah, it's insane. But it all really came together and fits everything so far.
Scott Anthony Barlow 04:24
That is so amazing. And we hear that same thing too, like, you know, when people enter our world, they hope it's possible. And I think that you did too. You had this hope that could be a reality. But a lot of times, you know, as we get the opportunity to meet people, I don't know that we entirely believe it's possible. It sounds like that was true for you too.
Kristy Wenz 04:42
Exactly. There was definitely the hope that it would be possible and even if, you know, I got some of the pieces that would have been better than where I was. So hopefully that there'll be something that I could take from it but not expecting really to have all my box checked off of me that really just kind of blows me away still like pinch myself.
Scott Anthony Barlow 04:59
I know. That's so phenomenal. But it wasn't like prior to six months ago and even before that, you know, this was far, far from a reality. And what I'm curious for you is, first of all, what led up to even wanting to make this change in the first place? Because you haven't always done this exact same sort of thing, certainly in this way. So where did first of all your career started? What sent you down this path to eventually wanting to make this type of change too? Help me understand that.
Kristy Wenz 05:28
Yeah, absolutely. So I actually started in-house marketing decades ago, and then eventually led to public relations, and I worked for a small boutique agency. I liked it at the time, it was exciting, it was new, I learned a lot, I made some fantastic connections and ended up staying in that industry for 20 years, and eventually owning my own business in that industry. So it was interesting to have my own company and be able to design that in a way that fit my lifestyle. But it wasn't satisfying enough for me, if that makes sense.
Scott Anthony Barlow 05:58
In what way? I'm curious.
Kristy Wenz 05:59
I eventually kind of learned as much as I could learn, kind of hit a wall there. And there was no way for me to advance anymore. Like I take on new clients and new projects who still had diversity. But it was in an industry that, frankly, was is not very exciting to me, there are some things I like about it, but it's kind of been alone and doesn't get very exciting. And it just there was really no upward mobility. It's kind of bluster to me at that point. And the thing that held me to it was the flexibility that I had, I was able to work from home and work with people I wanted to work with in terms of my own company, clients were a different story. But the flexibility is really what kept me going, it was able to work from home, be with my kids while they were young. And that just really made a huge difference in my life. And I wouldn't trade it for the world. I mean, we had some amazing vacations, we had, you know, time at home with the kids. And so it really... been able to kind of keep up with my career and have a role that I was content with, I wouldn't say happy with but I was content with. And then about 2015, I really kind of started to realize, you know, this isn't really what I wanted to do.
Scott Anthony Barlow 07:06
What caused you to realize that?
Kristy Wenz 07:07
I had an opportunity to go in-house with a client a couple days a week. And the first year of that was it's so thrilling and exciting. I was creating a marketing department, they had one but it was really, you know, low production, low morale, they were losing people left and right. And so I got to come in and own something and turn it around and turn it into a successful program. And that was, I loved it. I was you know, out with people in downtown. And that was all very exciting. But again, in that same industry that I was kind of getting tired of. So I knew that I needed something more. And this gave me a little bit of that. And so I kind of wanted to start exploring. And that time we were actually leaving for a sabbatical in Europe. And I knew I was gonna be gone for seven months. So but this would be a great opportunity to kind of really explore things, come back and know what I wanted to do. And present didn't happen. And whenever there was high expectations of I'm going to have that aha moment. And I'm going to come back and know exactly what I'm going to do. And I did.
Scott Anthony Barlow 08:05
Well, let me ask you about that though. Because we encounter a lot of people that want to take a sabbatical and feel that same way going into it. For the ones that do actually go forward, they feel that same way. Like if I just create the time and space, then I'm going to get that aha moment or that clarity or then I'll be able to immediately come back. But almost all of them that we talked to, you know, before and after that have done that, just gone on and done that without anything else and there kind of have the similar type experience. They don't have the clarity or don't have the aha moment, if they're just going over there expecting that to take care of itself. So I'm curious, what your experience was and why you thought that was that you didn't come back with that aha moment?
Kristy Wenz 08:47
It's a good question. I don't know why I didn't come back with it. I mean, the experience is definitely amazing. I wouldn't trade it for the world. That was difficult being in foreign places with small kids. And as a family, the four of us were always together all the time, really didn't have any breaks from each other. So it was a really intense kind of experiment as a family. And I wouldn't trade it for the world. We met amazing people and so many fantastic experiences, learning about different cultures and histories. So we have a lot of amazing things out of it.
Scott Anthony Barlow 09:15
Intense is the right word, by the way. That is, Alyssa and I use the same word when we have traveled with our kids in the past for, you know, a month or six weeks at the time. Yes, it's amazing and also intense.
Kristy Wenz 09:28
Right? Yeah. And there are moments you wouldn't trade for the world. And then others you're like, why are we doing this? Are we insane? It's just... it was nuts. But it's almost like hitting pause on life for a minute. You know, we kind of got to take a break from all of our responsibilities, and schools and activities and things like that. And we really just got to hit pause and be together. So that part was amazing. I expect that I would have more time to kind of dive into my inner workings and figure out exactly what I wanted to do and do some, you know, major thought work and what areas I really wanted to come back and what I like. And I did do some of that. It kind of was able to pull out of myself, things I knew needed to be a part of my career, like I knew I wanted to write, I knew I wanted to communicate with people, I knew I wanted to somehow be involved in food and wine and travel, if I could, because I love how it brings people together. So I knew that that needed to be a part of it, I didn't know what it looks like at all. And so when I came back, and I found myself doing my same things, again, you know, back at my same job that, you know, or same routines, that's when it really kind of hit me that I didn't have that aha moment, I'm still I'm back to where I left, and I don't want to be here. And if that's what it turned ugly, for me. To be honest, it was not in a good space. It was, you know, I had some depression, I had some resentments, and anger. And it all stemmed from the fact that I didn't figure it out. And I'm still here at home ever gonna get out of this place. And so it got ugly for a little bit. And it was a struggle. And it took a while for me to kind of get a hold of myself and say, "Okay, I need to do something about this, that I can do something about this." And I would have starts and stops, and I go get some books and read about things I could do. And then I would start to do some things and get sidetracked and then just be like, oh, it's just a waste of my time. Anyway, I've got too much going on. And, you know, it's easy to distract yourself. So I found myself getting involved in things that weren't fulfilling, but kept me busy. And for the next, I would say, until the spring, really, I have lots of starts and stop. And then I hit the point this spring where I just decided, time's up, I've got to do something. And I'm the only one that can make it happen. When people around me can support me and I can find resources to help me but I need to take that step and stay committed to it. And I did. It's been fantastic since.
Scott Anthony Barlow 11:48
Do you remember if anything, was there one or a series of things that caused you to eventually have that realization that, hey, nobody else in the world is going to do this for me. And I need to do it and stick with it. And what finally happened that caused you to have that? I'm going to call that an aha moment. But maybe it actually wasn't.
Kristy Wenz 12:06
Right. Yeah, it was probably more of a somebody's beating me over the head moment. Before I actually like realized what was happening. I gotten so stressed to the point it has started to affect my physical health, of having back pain and neck pain and all kinds of random pains. So then started worrying that I was sick, into this whole cycle and it was stressed, it was just really stressed. And so it really kind of took a hammer over the head to pick my body to just had to say stop, for me to step back and say, nope, this is... I need to address it, or I'm going to end up sick and miserable. And I really didn't want that. So it was combination of that. And then I was doing some dabbling in some part time work. And that wasn't going where I wanted it to go. And I just had this moment where I was on a trip, I was doing things I like, was traveling, I was working in food and wine, but it's something still wasn't right. And I was on one of the trips, and I almost just started crying as I was walking down the street. And that's completely unlike me. And I thought it's time like everything is just lining up. This isn't working, we need to actually sit down and make a decision. And my husband, took a weekend away in March, I think it was and talked about things. And we had been saving up and kind of getting ourselves in line for me to be able to take some time and do some research and really figure this out. And so we decided it was time to do it. And it has so happened. And this was kind of a weird, coincidental thing.
Scott Anthony Barlow 13:31
It always is. It seems like.
Kristy Wenz 13:33
Yeah, exactly. I had reached out to you in 2015. I remember and did initial work on what you want in your career and had since then been signed up to the emails, but I believe they were going into my spam or I hadn't seen them in a long time. And honestly, after that weekend away with my husband, it popped into my inbox again. And it was the bootcamp email that it was the last day to sign up for bootcamp. And I was, "what?" like, there we go and talk to my husband. And he's absolutely, "Do it. Just sign up." And that was it. So there were a lot of things that led into it. But it was that email just showing up that day, right after we had had that conversation that it was just like, Okay, this is time I'm on the right path.
Scott Anthony Barlow 14:12
Well, I think what is amazing about that though, Kristy, is it was not a small series of events that led up to you creating the right time and space for you to be open to owning it in a completely different way than what you had before and looking at it through a different lens than what you had before. And...
Kristy Wenz 14:31
Scott Anthony Barlow 14:32
All honesty, like it looks different for everybody in terms of like the journey to get to that point. But you've done a phenomenal job in getting to that point. And clearly, it was not always easy. And many times it was rough to even get to the point where you were ready to look at things differently.
Kristy Wenz 14:47
Exactly. It's a mind shift. I mean, you really have to be ready to kind of change the way you think about things in a lot of respects. And that's not easy to do. It's definitely not easy to do.
Scott Anthony Barlow 14:59
What do you think was the hardest part for you to have that mind shift? Or what do you think was the element that was the most impactful, but maybe difficult for you in terms of what that mind shift actually looked like for you?
Kristy Wenz 15:15
I think the hardest part was convincing myself that I could do it, that I was smart enough to do it, and that I was capable enough to do it. Because I had been doing the same thing for so long, I had this doubt that I would be taken seriously in a different industry, or kind of, because it really was an industry shift for me. So I was very scared about being taken seriously. And are they just gonna think, you know, I'm just some nut that just wants to do this just because and I have no experience. That was the biggest shift, I think, in my mind that I had to and going through the program, it really helped me to kind of outline all of the accomplishments and all the things that I have done, and look at them in different ways that they don't just, I don't know which step it was, but where you have to list out all the things you've done. And then it wasn't just about stating your responsibility. But as a result of that responsibility, what came from that? What successes did you create? What impact did you have? Once I started to draw all that out, it was really kind of able to see, well, I could apply that to all these other different industries as well. It's not just this industry. And I actually have done a lot of things. And once I started to put it all down, it really kind of helped me to see that I do have value and can bring value to some, to a new company and a new industry that I have ideas and intelligence and thoughts and I can apply it all somewhere else. But I think it was just getting over that fear of doing something different and doing something out of my routine and not something I had normally done or even thought about doing. So getting over that fear was probably the biggest shift I had to make. And I remember going through it, it would... when we had to write you know, what's going to be the thing that derails you through this process? I knew it was going to be fear, at some point that that was going to get me. And it did. There was a probably a good three or four week period where I really just kind of avoided the program altogether. It was like, nope, no, I don't know what's gonna happen and just kind of started to go in that stop mode again, and had a call with my coach. And after I hung up the call, it was like, I just felt that energy and excitement again, I was like, no, I got to keep moving. Like, I just have to keep the momentum going. It's when I slow down, that the fears can start taking over my thoughts, I just have to keep going. And I did. And it was shortly after that, that everything else manifested and the job offer and all that stuff. And it all came together very quickly after that. But again, those starts and stops and the fear can just really start to get into the thoughts and into the mindset when you're not moving forward. When you're slowed down, it's easy for that to kind of take over and fill you with the self doubt again.
Scott Anthony Barlow 17:42
What you just said, I don't know if people as they hear that will realize how meaningful and impactful that actually is. And I just want to take a moment and repeat it because that's one of the things as we delve into the science behind this stuff that causes people to propel themselves forward and actually do things that they previously thought were impossible. And one of the things that you just said was, it was the continuously moving forward and rolling forward that allowed you to move past the fear. And we talk a lot behind the scenes on our team about how do we help people build momentum? And how do we get rid of all the things that stop them from building that momentum, because momentum is the surest way to allow you to move past fear. But it's also when it stops, the surest way to allow those fears to creep back in. And it sounds so simple, but and certainly there's more to it than just that. But it's one big element that we've seen as people feel like they're moving forward and are actually taking steps forward, even though they're small and creating that momentum, then all of a sudden, yeah, well, not all of a sudden, but it gets you there.
Kristy Wenz 18:50
Right. Yeah, and one way or there may not be a straight road, but it's certainly going to move you. When I read something somewhere at some point in all my research and it was something about, it can't catch the wind until you hoist the sail. And that just stuck with me like I've got to have my sail up so that I can touch it. And I have to, no matter how small the step, I have to keep doing things every day, whether it's just updating my LinkedIn or contacting somebody that I worked with a long time ago that I can reach out to and connect with, again, just all those little steps, just even if it was just one thing a day to be able to kind of, you know, just putting one foot in front of the other and keep moving. And there are days that was hard. There were days you know, you were faced with rejection, and it made me want to go backwards. Like somebody would say, No, I don't want to talk to you about that. And you know, we can't take personally but it's hard not to.
Scott Anthony Barlow 19:40
Kristy Wenz 19:41
And so those types of things are in there too. So it's hard you need to say "Okay, no, but this other one works. And so I'm just going to keep moving." And but it's not a straight line and it's not easy. And you do face those rejections and those moments that don't make you feel good, but I was a big believer in celebrating every little small victory, no matter how small, even if it was just calling someone I was scared to call like, that was a celebration because I picked up the phone and I did it. So I made sure to kind of reward myself along the way for the little steps too, because it made a difference and kind of reinforce the positive things that I was doing.
Scott Anthony Barlow 20:17
What did you do to reward yourself? Give me a couple examples of what you would do big or small to reward yourself. Because I think that's important. A lot of people don't think about that being a vital part of the process.
Kristy Wenz 20:29
Oh, exactly. Typically, it would involve opening a good bottle of wine, usually the ones that we've reserved for special occasions and be like, this is a special occasion, I'm going to do it. Going for a massage, going into a spa, just little things I could do that way. Even just getting outside for a walk in the middle of the day just to you know, if it was sunny outside and just go be in the sun. And, but anything or in things that I would enjoy that would make me happy that I normally wouldn't take the time to do because I'd be so obsessed on trying to find what I wanted to do or getting lost in it and just kind of taking a few moments to, you know, allow myself to do something I really like and enjoy the moment. So it's combination of a lot of different things. But I would say the most common was digging into our wine cellar from our trip to Europe and all the bottles that we had saved. And that was a lot of fun to kind of go through along the way as well.
Scott Anthony Barlow 21:15
I am a fan of that type of celebration. Sounds like you and I celebrate similarly.
Kristy Wenz 21:22
Yes, yep. And I think my husband enjoyed it. He was along for the ride. So he wasn't complaining about opening those bottles.
Scott Anthony Barlow 21:28
Like, "Another bottle? Well, okay."
Kristy Wenz 21:31
Yes. Every success, definitely worth it.
Scott Anthony Barlow 21:35
Oh, that's fantastic. So I'm curious, you know, through this entire journey, I would love to talk to you about, you came back from your sabbatical knowing a few of the elements that you wanted to carry forward with you into your next role. And I think it's important distinction here. Because just like you said earlier, like you stayed a long period of time, because you didn't want to give up that flexibility. But when we work with people, we think about it for a different mindset. We're thinking about it as how do we carry forward the things that we want to keep with us like that flexibility? And then how we bring into it, those other things that were missing in one way or another after we identified with them. So you came back, identifying a couple of those pieces, and then did some great work to identify the other pieces that you need too. But then once you had identified that, what did you do in order to begin to experiment with where you could create this type of career or where you would belong?
Kristy Wenz 22:29
Good question. I kind of went down a couple different paths. At the time, I was writing a monthly article for one traveler. And so I was already kind of connected with them. And I knew that they were had a lot of things in the works, a lot of plans, and the more I would talk to them, the more I would kind of give feedback and engage with the CEO, and we'd have a lot of great conversations. So that door was already open. However, I really... I did not envision anything happening there. Other than I was just contributing articles, which I enjoyed doing.
Scott Anthony Barlow 23:00
It always sounds obvious in hindsight.
Kristy Wenz 23:02
Right? Yeah, exactly. And I didn't even know if they would have any available positions. Because it is a startup, it is the very beginning stages being kind of the company that it is. And I wasn't even sure what opportunities were there if there were any. And if I would even be considered for that. That one started more is a kind of a subconscious Goldilocks experiment, I guess. I think it's the Goldilocks ones.
Scott Anthony Barlow 23:24
Yeah, and for a little bit of context, for people who may not know what that is, you can go back and listen to our designing experiments episode on the podcast. But within career change bootcamp, one of the things that we do is we help people validate the road that they're going down. And the Goldilocks is being able to talk to a variety of different people in organizations and like this chair is too big, this corner office is too small, that sort of type of thing. And being able to find what is the right fit by getting continuous feedback and building relationships.
Kristy Wenz 23:53
Exactly. Yeah. And so I started doing some of that with him. And then I also started doing it with some of my clients, my existing clients and talking with them about different roles in their organizations, and talking with people that are in communications for, in the industry I was currently in, and just really kind of feeling people out and getting a sense of what's out there. I also connected with some people that really have been mentors over my career, and kind of like cheerleaders and talk with them about, what are some ideas you have that maybe I haven't thought of? Because there's just things out there that you don't even know exist, or they're maybe already been in your consciousness. So how can you think about them if you don't know. And so in talking to other people that you know, they would give me ideas that I could consider and from that, I started to pull out the ones that would get excited about or the pieces of each of these roles that I found rewarding or that I knew I would enjoy. And then a picture started to kind of take shape for the first time in my life of exactly what I wanted to do. And I always told my kids, I don't know what I want to be when I grow up, you know, I still don't know. But going through this, I really was able to kind of create that vision of who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. And when I would think about it, the excitement I would feel, and it was just tangible. And so I knew if I was on the right path, and a lot of it had to do with just kind of testing the waters and talking to lots of different people, and kind of just working through this whole process of exactly, down to the minutiae of, you know, do I want to commute? Do I want... how many hours a week do I want in the office? Is it important that I have... that I manage people? Or how am I going to work? And that was actually one of the biggest concerns for me is, can I work for someone being, as I've had my own company for such a long time?
Scott Anthony Barlow 25:34
Yes. Are you employable anymore?
Kristy Wenz 25:36
Right, exactly. Like, am I going to be able to be an employee? Or, you know, how is that going to be to have that kind of relationship again? So that was interesting, kind of testing all of that out. And it just really it was a matter of going in and just like you said, Is this chair too big? Is this chair too... like, what the fit for me? And I was able to really kind of define everything after that process.
Scott Anthony Barlow 25:57
What was one of those conversations that stood out in your mind that you had along the way through the social Goldilocks type experimentation that was particularly helpful? And I'm gonna ask you, what made it so helpful?
Kristy Wenz 26:08
Oh, that's a good question. It's about my conversations. I think, probably the one that had the most impact on me with one mentor, in particular. And she was former clients, and the one that I had actually gone and worked in-house for a few days a week. And she had been my superior in that role. And I just really respect her, I mean, her whole career path, she has really created for herself and continually created positions for herself to get her where she is. And she's huge champion of supporting people along the way. She won't, you know, you don't like your job, she wants to help you find something that you will like. So she really always had a positive kind of inspirational effect on me. And we went to lunch one day, and I told her I had started this process, and I had no idea where it was going to go and what it was going to look like. And she just really reinforced for me, she's like, "Well, here's all the things I think you're good at. And which one do you like?" And so we really kind of talked about that. And she just started naming all these different roles and companies and like, have you thought about this? Or how about that. And so she really kind of opened my eyes to more possibilities that I hadn't even dreamed of, like, I've never thought about that. And you know, she, why don't you talk to this person? And so she really kind of opened the door for me to see that there's a lot out there that I hadn't even given thought, and just what those possibilities looked like, and she kind of pushed the momentum angle too. She was like, you know, "what's your timing?" And I said, "I don't know", you know, we've kind of set aside a year for me to explore. And she just looked me straight in the eyes. And she said, "You do not take a year." She's like, "You don't wait that long." She's like, "Keep going." She's like, "You need to do this now." I'm like, "Okay. I'll do it, I'll listen to you." And she was just, she said, "Don't wait. Trust me, just don't wait. You've got the momentum, go." Okay.
Scott Anthony Barlow 27:55
There's that momentum again.
Kristy Wenz 27:56
Exactly. And I left, so energized after that lunch. So I think that was probably a, you know, one of the most inspiring conversations that I had just that, don't wait, and here's all the things you can look at, and the world's your oyster, just go, you know, there's a lot of opportunities out there. And she was. She was a cheerleader through the entire process. And if I get stuck, I'd send her and she was very open about that, too. You know, if you get stuck, shoot me a note, and I'll push you, you know, she's like, whatever you need, I'm here. And so that really helped. And it just kind of that validation too, that what I was doing was that I wasn't crazy that I get stuck, that everybody gets stuck, you need people in your corner to cheer you on, it was a great conversation.
Scott Anthony Barlow 28:34
That's amazing. It becomes evident as to why that was such a helpful conversation too, in terms of the exposure, as well as all the challenges. And then on top of that, being able to understand, you know, some of those different places that you could be a fit, because that's one of the things that you said you struggled with earlier is trying to see, what you do or what you have done and some of the things that you're great at and have experience in, can translate into other areas. And we get so many people coming to us and asking for that exact same thing. But what people don't realize is that so much more of it, nearly every one of us realize this is actually translatable.
Kristy Wenz 29:13
Right? Yeah, exactly. And that actually just reminded me one of the other big things that really kind of helped propel me forward, was the... at one point we had to go and ask people in our life, colleagues and family and friends and people that have managed us, that we've managed and different people to give five characteristics of, what they think our strengths are, which is a difficult thing to do you know, to call and ask people these questions and kind of embarrassing and you feel a little kind of like, oh, I just want them to say nice things about me. And one of those things like nope, just gonna do it. Just going to ask and see what happens. And then collecting the list of the responses and looking at it was really interesting and eye opening. The amount of crossover and it was from people in all areas of my life from people that I work for, people that worked for me, you know, my family, people that I just acquaintances or have done projects for, volunteer work, the similarities that came out and all of their responses really, were eye opening and things I hadn't thought of like things I didn't think about myself like, "oh, really?" like, "Huh. Okay. That's an interesting" you know, like everybody talks about how approachable I am, that's came across in every single response. I just thought that was, you know, there are things I wouldn't have thought on my own, you know, because it's hard to think about your positive, I know I'm a hard worker, I know I am on time, and I get jobs, you know, you can think those things. But coming up with going beyond that, it's hard sometimes to think that way about yourself. So it's really interesting to see the responses. And that helps you guide to where, "Hey, where are my strengths, so my passion is going to collide?" And so just a really interesting kind of path to go down and see, and it was a great way to kind of look back and, you know, when I would get stuck to go back and look at that, like, okay, these are, you know, that's right. These are people in my life, think these awesome things, I can do this. And so it was really encouraging part of the process, I think, as hard as it was to ask for those things. It was a really great part of the process.
Scott Anthony Barlow 31:12
Well, when you do other things that most people are unwilling to do you get results that other people aren't going to get. So, that's some good evidence of that. And that's actually, you know, speaking of the momentum we mentioned several times earlier, that's one of the reasons why we, with all of our students in any capacity, we build that in a lot of times into the beginning portion of the process, because it creates some of those initial "whens" and a different lens to look at things through. Early on, which then does help carry you as you're getting into some of the latter stages. So I'm so glad that you experienced that as well. But here's the question that I have for you, since you went through such a range here, of going from, hey, I'm in the mind space, where I'm not sure if I'm ever gonna find this flexibility again. So I don't think I can do anything different all the way to completely flipping it. And I'm going to decide what I actually want in my life. And then I'm going to go and get it, which is the polar opposite end of that.
Kristy Wenz 32:17
Scott Anthony Barlow 32:17
What advice would you give to other people that are maybe closer to that fear type space, where they're like, I'm not sure if like, I've got a great, not what I want, necessarily, but it's good thing going for myself? What advice would you give them to move past that? So that they can experience what you've experienced with being able to decide what you're going to do and go and get it.
Kristy Wenz 32:21
Good question, I'd say to, again, celebrate those small steps. And because every door is an opportunity, every exchange is an opportunity. I look at it this and I still think about it too, you know, there's a chance that this role I'm in now could end up not working. And that was kind of scary, too. But it's the process works. So I know I can do it again. And I don't want to think of anything is the end, you know, it's always a journey, it's always a process. If this isn't the end, that's okay. It's still... it's an experience on my journey that's going to change me and shape me and open new doors that I didn't even think were possible. So I think just really understanding that, you know, there's things out there that you don't even know where possible until you start to take those steps, because I seriously could not have envisioned this six months ago, you know, we had an exercise of, you know, create your perfect day. And I couldn't have envisioned this. I mean, I had ideas, but you know, there's no way I could have made this up at that time in my head. But each small step just really introduced me to another person, that introduced me to another person or, you know, gave me an experience where I was able to say, "oh, wow, I really enjoyed that" or, like doing this. So that's interesting, and just kind of pulling, learning something from every experience, every encounter, every exchange, and looking at it, and just seeing what works and what fits. And kind of I guess, being a curious learner along the way, it was really helpful to remember that this is a journey, and it's not an end. Our lives just keep moving forward, every you know, I look back and I look at all the things that I've done, I couldn't have imagined any of them really. And so it's just remembering that it's not a road to an end. It's just all part of the journey, I think is helpful. And I would say just ask, just do it. That was so counterintuitive to my own thinking.
Scott Anthony Barlow 34:26
In what way?
Kristy Wenz 34:27
I never would have just asked, you know, I can't ask for what I want. Why would I do that? If it's not available to me, why would I ask for something that's not available? And my coach just said, you know, "Just ask. Why not just ask? What are you going to do if you don't ask?" And that kind of hit me. Like, if I don't ask, it's not gonna go anywhere. And if I do ask and it doesn't go anywhere, it's still the same spot. So it's not going to hurt. And it was a very big change for me to just ask. And it's been incredible. I mean, I did just ask, and it works. And there are times I asked, and I get a, you know, counter response. But it's a response that you can engage with them and start the conversation. So it's never a bad thing to just ask, hearing 'no' isn't an awful end of the road thing. It's an opportunity for conversation, a chance to ask questions, you know, and a chance to turn it in different direction, whatever it may be. I think just ask, and don't be afraid to ask. It's scary. It's terrifying, because nobody likes rejection. But just be able to say it out loud and ask for what you want and not be afraid. I think, you know, once you do it a couple times, it gets a lot easier. But it's something everybody I think, if you just do it, just ask, and I think it'll, it opens just so many different doors.
Scott Anthony Barlow 35:42
That's amazing. We have definitely found that when you ask for what you want, there are a surprising amount of times that you're more likely to get what you want.
Kristy Wenz 35:50
Yeah. It's funny how that works.
Scott Anthony Barlow 35:52
It is so funny how that works. I love those simple types of logic though, because those allow me to be able to move forward and do things like this. And you've done a phenomenal job here. And one of the things I hear all the time that I just want to commend you on, because you didn't allow yourself to stay in that space, I hear people say, I'm not the type of person that asked for what I want. And you have, through this process, been able to become the type of person that asks for what you want and there's so much buried in that, that we're not going to be able to even get to or even touch here, in terms of what that journey actually looks like. And I know it's not easy. And I'm just so proud of you that you've gone through it and done such an amazing job, really great work.
Kristy Wenz 36:33
Well, thank you, I do have to credit the program, too. I mean, the way you guys have it laid out, it makes it... I don't want to say easy, because it's not easy, but it makes it easier to move through the process. Because the steps are laid out in such a way that it's clear and it really covers a lot of different basis. And so it just it makes it easier, just that extra support to help you move through the process. And it's awesome program.
Scott Anthony Barlow 36:55
Well, thank you very much. And thank you so much for taking the time and coming on and sharing your story. I know that so many people are going to listen to this and pick up different pieces that they haven't thought about before. So I appreciate you taking the torch and carrying it and helping people be able to do things differently than what they knew were possible. That is amazing. I really appreciate it.
Kristy Wenz 37:17
Absolutely no problem. And always happy to... if people want to reach out to me, I'm on LinkedIn, I'm happy to share advice or you know, give encouragement. There are a lot of people in my life that pushed me along the way and opened doors and paid it forward. And I'm happy to do the same. I think it's the community that we're in, high achieving job changers. It's an awesome community. And if we can help each other, I'm all for that. So open to doing that.
Scott Anthony Barlow 37:41
Absolutely amazing. And we'll link up your LinkedIn into the blog post that goes along with this episode so that you can find it on Happen To Your Career, too. And I want to just say thanks again, so much. Very, very much appreciate it. And you've done phenomenal work.
Kristy Wenz 37:57
Awesome. Well, thank you too. I appreciate it. It's been a blast.
Scott Anthony Barlow 38:01
Hey, Kristy was a podcast listener. And I know that there's so many people out there, they're in the same place as she started out where they want to do something different, but really aren't sure what, they really aren't sure exactly how, and maybe you're in that exact same place. And if that's the case, then I want to encourage you to keep listening, but also take actions along with it. One really easy way you can get started taking baby steps, right down that road is with our eight-day mini course, or eight-day figured it out mini course, to help you begin to get clear on what you want in your new career. Two easy ways to do that, you can visit figureitout.co that's figureitout.co or you can simply text happen to 44222. And then, we'll send you all the links and you can get started right away, making it happen for yourself. Hey, I also just want to say I so appreciate you taking the time to listen and rate and review the podcast. We've had so many people that have done that. And it just really means the world to us. Plus it helps other people be able to find the show in the future too. This one comes from gratitude elzie and says, "if you feel lost about career happiness, this is the podcast to listen to. I'm so glad to have chanced upon Happen To Your Career. The host is a joy to listen to" thank you very much. "He offers great insight about all kinds of career advice through interviews with people who have gone through all kinds of career changes, you can tell that he's genuinely interested in helping people" I'm glad that comes across. Those are my words not theirs. "But this podcast exude positivity, compassion and practical advice. If you're feeling lost about how to achieve career happiness, this podcast is your guiding light." Thanks so much for taking the time and making the time. We have so much more coming up for you next week on Happen To Your Career. We've got another surprise in store for you.
Dan Chevelle 40:02
And so all of this came together and I was just like, this is what I'm meant to do. And as many times as I was bullied and made fun of I just knew, I just knew it. I knew it. I knew it. And I just put so much energy. I was working over 100 hours a week, nights and weekends, I would comment on every single blog that mentioned personal branding. I was just so dedicated to it.
Scott Anthony Barlow 40:25
That's Dan Chevelle. He will be here, next week on Happen To Your Career to help you understand how to make work more human. Until then, we'll see y'all next week. I am out. Adios.
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