266: How to Stick the Landing in Your Dream Job: Linnea’s 4-title Career Leap


Picture this.

You’re a 14-year-old gymnast. Until now, you’ve lived a seemingly normal life. You’ve attended school, completed weekly chores, showed up at pizza parties… all the usual teenage stuff.

But now, you’re getting close to what could be the biggest moment of your life.

You’re training for the Olympics, and you have only two years until your life could change forever. You could make the leap from being an unknown girl in Virginia Beach to an international icon.


So you train. And you practice. And you envision victory. You immerse yourself in the process with a guide—your expert-level trainer—who will lead you through physical workouts, teach you calming meditations, show you practice film to compare your form to past Olympians, and make you listen to music options for your routines.

When you’re on your way to practice, grabbing a quick bite to eat, or reading before you go to bed at night, you’re still thinking about what having an Olympic medal placed around your neck will feel like. Maybe you even select books written by former olympic athletes and listen to interviews on their training regimens. Around the clock, you are fully immersed in your dream.

Eventually, you look around and realize you’re doing it… You’ve made it onto the Olympic team, and you’re representing the U.S. on the biggest platform in the world.

The big day comes. Before you begin your floor routine, you play back everything you’ve done over the last two years. You do a calming meditation, get a last-minute reminder from your coach, and wait for the music to begin.


You launch into your routine, and before you know it, you are standing in your final pose. You’ve stuck the landing, and you can’t help but smile from ear to ear.

Later, when the awards ceremony begins, a gold medal is placed around your neck. It feels better than you imagined. In a mere two years, you’ve launched yourself from an underdog to a national hero and international celebrity. You’ve accomplished your dreams.

This is the story of Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas. Gabby, now a three-time gold medalist, was the first African American to ever win the women’s individual all-around. In the span of two years, her immersive training experience took her from a 5’2” no name to a towering gymnastics superstar. Since winning, she’s been featured on countless magazine covers and talk shows. She even had a movie made after her and a Barbie made in her honor. There’s no question… she’s arrived.


Gabby’s story reminds me of my friend Linnea’s career leap.

Like Gabby, Linnea advanced from an average level—which most people are content with—to unparalleled success.

In the span of six months, Linnea jumped FOUR TITLES! Can you imagine that? Most people look forward to a promotion that advances them only one title. Four at once is unheard of.

After completing her MBA, Linnea knew she wanted something more, but she wasn’t sure what that was. Before long, she found our Happen To Your Career podcast.

Once she found us, she binge-listened to every episode. A couple months into listening, Linnea claims she experienced her EPIPHANY MOMENT.

While listening to our episode on How to Confidently Land Your Dream Job with Laura Morrison, Linnea realized Laura had the self-actualization she longed for. Immediately, she joined Career Change Bootcamp, and now, six months later, she’s a Senior Vice President of her company.


Linnea’s process involved full immersion, as she not only listened to the podcast, met with her career coach, and completed the Career Change Bootcamp modules, but she also scheduled unlimited meetings with potential employers, bought books written by our podcast guests (like “Wait, How Do I Write This Email?” by Daniel Rubin), and wrote follow-up letters to everyone she met along the way. (She did all of this while continuing to work her full-time job as a Marketing Manager.)

Linnea took advantage of every free moment, listening to podcast episodes while running on the treadmill, listening to audiobooks on her commute to work, setting up meetings while watching TV… She didn’t waste a second.

Today, Linnea is exactly where she wants to be. Only six months since joining Career Change Bootcamp, she’s moved from listening to the podcast to being featured on it! As she loves to say, “everything has come full circle.”

To hear all about Linnea’s inspiring story directly from her, click the play button below.

This is the Happen To Your Career Podcast with Scott Anthony Barlow.

We helped 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: Welcome back to the Happen To Your Career Podcast. I’m very excited for this conversation, and I know I say that a lot, but I'm especially looking forward to this one, because list on our team has talked incredibly highly of our next guest and on top of that, she's done some things that are not easy  to do within her career and we're going to get the opportunity to dig into those and really uncover them, and for that reason, and many more I'm incredibly looking forward to this welcome to the happen to your career, podcast Linnea, how are you?

Linnea: Hi everyone, good! How are you doing?

Scott: I am really very good, it's been an amazing week and even better now that we get to chat. So we were talking a little bit before we hit the record button here about some of really the interesting things that you have done, but tell people what you were getting the opportunity to do now, and if I understand correctly, you're actually recording from your new role in your office, right?

Linnea: I am door shut, but I'm in my new space and I'm loving it. So this is great. This is what it's supposed to be about and it kind of you know comes full circle in a sense.

Scott: In what way?

Linnea: This is where I started with. You know, listening to the podcast back in January, and so to be at the place I wanted to be in my new office and you know, talking to you, it’s you know for about six months and so it’s a true full circle, you know I want to start earning.

Scott: We keep having that happen over and over again many times and I'm actually that's something that makes me really happy that in such a short period of time, we can take people from finding the podcast and listening and then making their own change and making their own journey and that's something you’ve done  really nice job. So what is what is your official title? What is your job? Tell people a little bit about what you get the opportunity to do now and then we'll there's?


Linnea: Sure, So my title now is senior vice president of emerging products, and what I get to do is develop product roadmaps and innovation strategies or retail partners across the US who ultimately provide payment services to their customers, when they're in the store, when they're in their app and I'm part of developing, what we do next with all of the top retailers in United States

Scott: That’s awesome! Why was that something that is really exciting for you and your situation, because we know that everybody's career looks a little bit different as far as what they need, but for you, why is this a great thing?

Linnea: This is for me great because it aligns with now I meet my personality that I want to do next my and so I’m someone who loves to think big picture and thinking to the future. I love to motivate people to do and think about what we want to do next and how we connect serve our customers and actually see it through you know, launch in the marketplace and so all of those components aligned with myself and what I wanted to do and I'm able to hit all of those key areas within this role.

Scott: That is awesome, and I said it before but congratulations again because that's a big change. Nicely done and what was for contacts I know, but what is your role that you're coming out of? What type of situation fill people in on what’s the previous role?

Linnea: Sure. So before then I was a senior strategy consultant or also you know senior marketing manager for contacts, and I let a team of 10 managers across an organizational change management system, where we deploying how we were working differently as an organization and then also training executives and you know where they wanted to go within their business. Developing their roadmaps and their goals and helping them get there so.

Scott: So. What is it that led you up this road then to want to make the change in the first place?

Linnea: Sure. I love this question because this is, I'd put a slide together for Lisa when I was actually you know, consulting with her initially on whether should do this or not, and my

Scott: Hold on. Can I just say that I love that you put a slide together for Lisa that makes me so happy on so many levels. Sorry to interrupt I just wanted to acknowledge that. So you put this slide together?

Linnea: Yeah. I actually put a whole PowerPoint deck for her and then this is one slide from it, but this actually started back in August of 2017, when I completed my MBA program and I knew I wanted to make a change, but didn't know exactly what I want to do, then September of 2017 I started actually career coaching with another coach and went through that process and at the end I felt okay, but I wasn't really prepared on what I should do next and I wasn't a hundred percent sure this was a what I should do next, and I just didn't feel comfortable, and I was missing something and so on January 2018, I had found your podcast and I've been jealous and just like many of your listeners and even re-listen to many of the podcasts and on February of 2018 you know, I went through kind of picked my top two careers  and I just, I wasn't a hundred percent sure and then, along with listening to the podcast, my epiphany moment was March 14 of 2018. When I had relisten to how to company land your dream job with Laura Morrison, and that was my moment when listening to her again. She she had reached this self-actualization, and I wanted to feel that, and I didn't feel that after I've gone through, you know my experience so that was the moment where I was like, I need to make a change and I need to invest more into myself and sign up for the program.

Scott: Well, I am one so glad that you got to listen to Laura, not once but twice, and for context Laura we had her on a past episode. She made a pretty large change ever own right and clearly, you've been able to follow suit, so what when you started and embarked on this change in you recognize that you want there's some of those self-actualization pieces as you called it and that you hadn't felt that, in the way that you wanted to. What caused you to keep going? what caused you to begin down that pathway and was it just that podcast that you had listened to it and said okay I’m doing this, I’m making this type of change and I’m figuring out or was it, was there something else along the way?

Linnea:  Yeah, I would say another part of it along with the podcast was, I am a self-proclaimed multipotentialite. I have many interests, many ideas, many things I want to do, and there was so much going on in my head and I didn't know how to navigate sort or kind of figure out. What I want to do next and so that was really the other part of my story, as I just had so much going on and so much I want to do, but not a very clear way of got into something and figuring out how best I should do that.


Scott:  So what were the areas that you were struggling with in particular? What was making it hard for you to? As you said, figure out the way the best do that?

Linnea: One of the things that I was debating whether I want to switch over two different industry, so I've been in financial services for over 13 years and that maybe I could try something and healthcare or maybe consumer packaged goods, but wasn't you know totally sure and the roles that I was looking at were variety. They span from a marketing type of manager, director role to a consultant to someone in operations, and so the path I could have chose there is just so many, and I wasn't sure you know what industry, what type of role and really needed help with them.

Scott: So What did you do then, to begin figuring that out? I mean, I know that you got the opportunity and we got the opportunity to work with you on this, but what really made a difference for you, in your situation in order to begin having some measure of assurance that you're heading the right direction and in one direction.


Linnea: I think for me along doing all of the homework and listening to the different modules. When we got to the point of kind of testing out different organizations and talking to people that was really when I started to see the light or in understand that, okay we can there's a lot to explore and this is a very succinct way to do it, and I think that really kind of jump-started, at least in my mind, okay now I can really start to figure out where I’m going to go next.

Scott: That’s really interesting so that why do you think that, that was such a not aha moment that’s  not the word I’m looking for, but why do you think that, that was such a big deal that prompted you to be able to begin to see the light at the end to that tunnel?

Linnea: It was a, I think it’s not a big idea because it incorporated all the components and you know how you talk to people, how you understand organizations, how you understand different roles and get a sense and a sample of what the next role could be like what the next company could be like, who could you work with and what organization is like and so being able to do that and also have a way where there was  structured approach to do that really helped me a lot.

Scott:  What were some of the conversations that you got to have you mentioned having a variety of conversations and getting to know different organizations and different opportunities, but what were some examples of those conversations, and how did you go about that?

Linnea: Sure, so I actually started with my internal network first, and if there any and put together a list of organizations that I was interested in and started tapping into my network and say hey I really want to meet XYZ person. Would you be willing to introduce me and kind of went down that route and a lot those of interactions which my goal was to do about four to six reaching out conversations a week whether they were phone calls are lot of them are coffees and lunches and just keeping those interaction in the pipeline and always making sure I had someone next to talk to or reach out to.

Scott:  With any of those conversations. Do you remember any in particular that were particularly useful for you in understanding, hey I’ve really should not have this directions or hey this is great reinforcement that I’m having the right direction and anything stand out to you?

Linnea: Yeah, so there is one interaction I talked with, a recruiter, an internal recruiter for one of banks in the Chicagoland area, and it was really an interview, phone interview. I was interviewing him and a lot of the responses that I got back from him, as he was describing the culture of the organization, just didn't fit. They were very reluctant to change and try new things and some of the questions I asked you didn't even have answers to so that was a big red flag of this company wasn't for me, and I'm glad I knew that upfront so.

Scott: So what did you do?

Linnea: Well! I thanked him. You know for his time, and you know did the follow up thank you and thank you letter oh as you're supposed to do, but then continue on my journey with other organizations, were those that really interested me. So it was kind of keep going through my list and figuring out where I want to go, and that was awesome that I didn't choose that place, and it was great that I knew that upfront and I didn't have to spend a lot of time. You know if I had applied for a while and gone through the process. I would have wasted a lot of time if I had you know just reached out and did you know 20 minutes phone calls, so


Scott: That is amazing, and I just want to share how big of a deal that is because I think it’s really easy, as you're listening to that. To underscore just how powerful that is because essentially, what I heard you saying that you were doing was first of all you had to have some measure of idea of what you wanted in the first place, to be able to make those types of decisions, but then you are actively interviewing them you were seeking out that information and rather than the normal, traditional,  I don't know what we want to call it, the normal traditional methods of yeah. I send my application in, and then I wait and then maybe they interview me and then I wait and I'm sort of at their mercy. You took the exact opposite approach and you were doing that exact same thing in reverse and first of all, that's awesome and second of all, what you said, after that, I think is really powerful, because that allowed you to not waste any time with that company. Who knows maybe they would have given you a job offer after many months of interviewing and all kinds of stuff like that, and you didn't have to go through any of that instead could focus your time and energy on the other places that really did, so awesome job. What was the hardest thing for you in making this type of transition and going through the process you went through overall in about six months, I think you said right?


Linnea:  I would say the toughest part of all of this was the company that I was at was going through a lot of different organization changes and restructures, and I was trying to ensure I had a  job at that company while I was looking for my next role and I know that I got burned out mentally, physically and even emotionally, just kind of kind of switched my mind set between okay, I'm trying to get a job internally, just to have a job, and I would say you know survive to some extent, while I was trying to work on you know getting my dream job, so I think that was one of the most difficult parts of the journey was you know, I was doing almost double work, but I that was my own choice and I just knew I had to get through it and take it day by day.


Scott: What did you do that made it easier on yourself, or what did you do that caused it to work for you because I totally been there many times over with many career changes that is not an easy thing where you have for all intents and purposes that double work and searching for two jobs in two different ways at the same time but what made it easier? What did you find that worked for you and your situation?


Linnea: Yeah, I tried to leverage the experience opportunities that I was going through with the internal search and use that and practice, or when I was you know, interviewing or reaching out to people for you know the role that I really wanted to be at, and so I tried to make it very purposeful and utilized that journey to use it for my next one. And I think that really helped, because then from you know from that perspective, I wasn't wasting any time. I was still practicing. I was still doing the same types of preparation and thought process to prepare so that way it wasn't as difficult as if I didn't purposely try to use, you know what I've been going through for one search on to the next one.


Scott: So let me ask you another question about that too, because I know that I'm going to get a ton of emails about it. If we don't ask this question, but I will sort of glossed over the fact that in terms of title, don't know if it's necessarily as much in terms of day-to-day type job, but definitely entitle you made substantial jobs like three or four jumps in terms of title, is that fair to say.


Linnea: Yes.

Scott: And a lot of people, I know from experience in doing this for many years, a lot of people will automatically assume, oh well she could do that, but it's not you know I could never do that or a lot of cases I get this question pretty much every day in one shaper or another like that’s impossible you can’t do that like that's just not feasible, and yet we see that happen again and again and you're a great example of that. So I'm curious from your perspective after being there, doing that, why do you think that was a real possibility for you and what do you think, what would you advise people that are having some of those impossible thoughts jumping into their head.


Linnea: I would say one of the keys to my success was very in-depth preparation for every single interaction that I had whether it was an informal coffee, whether it was an interview whether it was following up in an email or a handwritten letter. Every interaction that I had or knew I was going to have I prepared for to the nth degree and so that way there is no question that I couldn't answer or anything that it couldn't be prepared for because I genuinely prepared a lot, probably more than I've ever have even for like tests or anything I mean I genuinely prepared so much for every single interaction I had with someone.

Scott: I think that’s great evidence though, that when you do things that other people are not willing or unwilling to do, you get opportunities and you get to do things that other people are not going to be able to do. So I think you're a testament to that and I very much appreciate you sharing. So let me ask you just a couple other questions here that I think people would want to know about your situation. One, you know for somebody else who is thinking about making this type of change and somebody else who's maybe as back where you were back in on December or January and just really recognizing that somethings has to change in one way or another and then just in the beginning part of making that decision and actually for you it even started before that right? It started with the end of your Masters right? When somebody's back there. What advice would you give them, now that you've been through this journey full circle, literally full circle and I mean listening to the podcast as you said, and now I'm on the show only so many months later, what do you think?

Linnea: I would say, use a variety of different avenues and educate yourself, so one of the things that I did was along with the podcast, that I would listen to you know in between you know driving to work or at the gym, I also from the podcast took information and bought books and about specific topics that I was interested in so one of the books and I'll give a shout-out it, is wait, how do I write this email by Danny Ruben

Scott: Yeah?

Linnea: I know he was, he had I think it was on the couple times on your show and he talked about his book and he provided some really good content and I was like well, this is a great sample, so let me explore more so I bought the book and read that and same thing with negotiation that wasn't my strongest point. So, after listening to Josh Doody’s podcast, I bought his book fearless salary negotiation, read it, did the exercises, and so my advice would be to use different avenues and educate yourself during the process, because the more you know the more power that you have behind yourself and the confidence that you will have when you get to the point of when you want to go after your wall.

Scott: That’s fantastic, one of the things that we don't talk a lot about on the podcast that maybe we should do a full episode it on at some point, but anytime you're making a change in your life, we found that, anytime you can almost fully immerse yourself in a variety of different sources of not just information, but things that are going to set you up to carry yourself forward. I know one of the things that we talked about inside contains boot camp is building a plan for inevitable success or building a plan for when it gets hard, but that is in some ways a big part of like that completely surrounding yourself by all of the things that you need to make yourself successful. Successful for whatever type of change that you're making. In your case, it pretty massive career change, and I appreciate you sharing because I think that gets glossed over and in some of the other times that we talked about it and what it really actually takes. What the, oh go ahead. Please.

Linnea: Yeah, I was going to totally agree with you on to, because I did immerse myself. It became almost you know my part time job where I would work on myself or prepare after work and you know up until like 1:00 in the morning sometimes because that was the time I had to work on this and so fully immersing yourselves and making it high priority is very important to getting where you want to go.

Scott: What was the hardest part for you in order to make it a really high priority, because I think a lot of people really struggle to find the time or really to, I mean it's even hard to acknowledge that it should be a high priority in the first place and I think we find I know, I certainly do from time to time and have to yank myself out of it and one way or another, but sometimes I'll revert back to the thinking of there's only so much time in the day, and I just don't have the time for this. Even though I am on the other side, saying look, this needs to be a really high priority. So what did you find really work for you in order make this a high priority in actuality?

Linnea: Yeah I schedule time and my work calendar was one of the biggest ways and helpers to do that as just carve out time and put it on your calendar and stick to it, and I would say another thing is finding time in when between when you're not you know doing something or you could listen to something while you're driving and you know whether was on plane a or on even vacation or wherever I was. I was listening to a module, I was doing some of the homework. I was drafting and I was always doing something all the time or when I could so that is another I think key of success, is try to find all of the little time in between where you can just do something small and it doesn’t have to be you know, doing sit down for hours at a time and if you have that but do something in between.

Scott:  That's amazing, and I feel like when we're working with people and working with our students inside could change boot camp or in any place a lot of what we find that we're doing is helping people tailor the work that they need to do. That everybody needs to do to make this type of change into their world, and I think that's a bit about what you're what you're talking about. You have to if, it really truly is a priority. You have to find the possible ways to embed it in your world and using to have done is really really nice job of that and Lisa mentioned that as well. So I feel like I keep saying really nice job and kudos, but I mean it.

Linnea: Thank you. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it and thank you, you know for creating something so wonderful, helpful and meaningful to help people like me get to really where they want to go, that's such an incredible invention that you created it. It’s just so helpful, so thank you.

Scott: My pleasure, this is as it turns out, it's what we love to do, and it is absolutely what we do, and thank you for giving also the opportunity to be able to help you too.

Linnea: Really the pleasure's all mine Scott I mean it's been great and I would recommend this to anyone at any point in time that, when they're, trying to make a change. It’s just so great.

Scott: The only other question that I have for you is you know, as you think back over this entire journey. If you could kind of pick one thing that mattered more than anything else. What would that be? and I'm going to force you to one thing here, because a lot of time, you've probably even heard some of the podcast, where we talk about let's choose the highest impact thanks let's acknowledge that it could be different for everybody, but from your experience, what mattered most overall to really help you make this pretty gigantic change.

Linnea: I would say to not let anyone or anything get in the way of achieving your goal, and that includes yourself getting in the way in yourself questioning yourself, letting others question you just going and doing and figuring out a way to get what you want and working at every day. I think was is number one for me when would I give. Things can come up, and you know there could be experiences or things that may get in the way or take some time out of what you're trying to do, but ultimately, don't let anyone or anything get in the way of your goal and your dreams.


Scott: Well, I appreciate you sharing that. Thank you so much again for taking the making the time and coming on the show and especially, since you started out by finding us way back when at the beginning of this year, and it just means a lot to me that you'd come and share your story with everybody else and allow everybody else to benefit from it too.


Linnea: Thank you for having me and it's been a great experience. Thank you so much.


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