503: Tackling Career Pivots And Identity Crisis With Taj Dashaun

From D1 football, to the music industry in Hollywood, to career coaching: HTYC Coach, Taj Dashaun, gives expert advice as he details the ups and downs of his many career pivots.



Taj Dashaun, HTYC Career Coach

Taj is a 4-times published author, podcast host, and former Division-1 football player turned career coach with a specialty in industry pivots

on this episode

Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to pivot out of your current industry?

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to career change is the inability to see outside of what you know and the career that you’re accustomed to. So often we find that when you’ve worked in one industry or one organization for many years, it comes down to battling identity, because you only know yourself as the person in the box you’ve always been in.

Taj Dashaun found himself in this very place after his football career ended when he graduated from college. In fact, according to the NCAA, 98% of college athletes find themselves in this exact position after graduation. This prompted Taj to begin his coaching career to help fellow athletes discover their new identity and life’s direction after sports. 

Taj is excellent at helping people take the skills and learnings they’ve gained in their past roles and using them to pivot into a brand-new industry. In today’s episode, Taj gives expert advice as he details the ups and downs of his many career pivots.

what you’ll learn

  • How to know it’s time to make a career pivot
  • The important distinction between how you want to live vs. what you want to do
  • How to transfer your skills to a new industry
  • The benefits of taking small steps toward your ideal career 
  • How to untangle your identity from an industry you’ve given many years to

Taj Dashaun 00:01

I always say it's important to think more about how you want to live versus what you want to do. And then try to fit what you're doing into how you want to live.

Introduction 00:09

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 feel like you were meant for more and ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.

Scott Anthony Barlow 00:39

So what do division one sports and career change have to do with each other? Well, a lot actually. According to the NCAA, fewer than 2% of student athletes go on to be professional athletes. That means that 98% of college athletes who have so often trained their entire life to do one thing, and one thing only, graduate and are expected to pivot into a brand new career. Most of them find themselves in the exact same position and with the same concerns that we hear all the time, "I just don't know how my current experience can translate into another industry. I feel like this is all I knew."

Taj Dashaun 01:20

You can't just be running away from something, you have to know what you're running towards, and be super clear on that. Otherwise, you're gonna find yourself locked into that pattern of, "I have to get away from this thing." And then you run to the next thing and you find yourself in the same situation just, you know, in a different building.

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:35

That's Taj Dashaun, a career coach and strategist on our team here at HTYC. Taj is a four times published author, fellow podcast host and a career coach with a specialty in industry pivots. Taj is also a former division one football player who found himself lost after graduating from college and losing his identity as a football player. Instead of letting that hold him back, Taj decided to train for life the way he had always trained for football. Taj has made more than a few career changes himself from the music industry in Hollywood to becoming a career coach in 2016, and working for the Art Institute of California Hollywood, and the city of San Diego. He later pivoted to working for many companies that focus on transitioning athletes into the workforce, such as athletes for care, athlete haven, athletes soul, and eventually, he founded his own company, Thrive After Sports. I'm excited because all that experience now has come along with Taj as he has transitioned to our team and Taj is excellent at helping people take the skills and learnings that they've gained in their past roles and using them to pivot into a brand new industry. I think you'll love his background and his coaching philosophy. Obviously, it directly lines up with what we teach here at Happen To Your Career. All right, here's Taj taking us back to his time as a football player.

Taj Dashaun 03:01

My early career trajectory started out with me not having any type of clear path at all– how would that trajectory will be. Coming out of college as a football player, I only saw myself as a football player. So when I graduated, and I got a multidisciplinary studies degree, I always say that I majored in eligibility just to keep me on the field. No idea what I wanted to do with my life. So I came back home figured that life would just work out the way it always had, someone will be waiting on me with a six figure job because I was a football star, and quickly got smacked in the face with reality and realized that wasn't going to happen. I probably need to figure out what I'm going to do. So a lot of soul searching, and exploration and discovery during my early days, even though I didn't see it that way I just saw it as being lost.

Scott Anthony Barlow 03:48

Tell me about football. What were your early plans for football? Were you wanting to take it much further than college? How did you get into football? Where did you first fall in love with it? Tell me a little bit about it.

Taj Dashaun 04:02

Yeah. I fell in love with football after seeing Remember The Titans. I was 10 years old when that movie came out. And so I had played other sports leading up to that. But when I saw Remember The Titans I was like, "I'm gonna be a football player. Like I can hit people and not get in trouble for it. This is gonna be great." I was very hyper kid. So that was like the perfect sport for me at that time. So I started playing at 10. I had an older cousin who got a scholarship to go to COE, he played safety at COE. And then I realized, "Oh, I can get a scholarship and go to college." So my first goal was like when I'm in high school, made varsity as quickly as possible, made varsity as a sophomore, then it was... get a D1 scholarship, got a D1 scholarship, then of course, like everyone who plays at that level was, I have to go to the league. I wanted to go to the NFL. That did not work out for me. I won't get into all the reasons why. But I think part of that also led to the downward spiral of not knowing who I was outside of football because I was so focused on it, and then also feeling like I fell short of my own ultimate goal, which was going to the NFL.

Scott Anthony Barlow 05:03

When you say you didn't know who you were, tell me a little bit about that. What do you remember from that time period?

Taj Dashaun 05:10

I remember a lot of drinking. I remember a lot of isolation. I remember being back home in my childhood bedroom, I really did feel like a failure, Scott, because it was like, you know, I was proud that I got my education paid for. And my next goal was like, not only am I going to take that off of my parents back by not having to pay for me to go to school, but I'm going to give back to them with this NFL salary that I'm going to get, sort of find myself back at square one, so to speak, with no income, I just really felt like an unemployed. I felt like a loser for lack of a better term. And I didn't know how to articulate what I was going through at the time. So I even isolated myself from my family. I was just in my room, curtains closed, watching Netflix, and I will come out to eat and use the bathroom, and I will come out to go party with my friends to distract myself from what I was going through at the time. It was a pretty dark period to be honest with you.

Scott Anthony Barlow 06:01

I can definitely identify with that in my start out... my first real professional job was the one that I ended up getting fired from, quite frankly. And I had moved my wife, brand new bride, at the time down to Portland, Oregon, and then less than a year into it in getting fired from that job, and it felt, I mean, I felt like a loser very much so. And we didn't even have Netflix at that point in time. Netflix was like just barely coming out. And still like you went and got the DVD, mailed to you and everything. So I didn't even have Netflix to say. But either way, I can totally appreciate what you're going through in many different ways, too many ways, I would say. So what happened next as you're there, you're watching Netflix, things are clearly not going well for you, didn't feel good at the time, what began to change for you?

Taj Dashaun 07:01

I had this moment where, let's just say, I was six months to a year removed from college. And I was pretty much locked into that pattern of isolation, Netflix, drinking, repeat. And I had this morning where I woke up during the week, my family was at work, I was the only one home because I wasn't working, probably woke up around 11 or 12 because I was hungover from the night before, just sleeping in. And I walked over to the bathroom mirror, I'm washing my face, getting my day started at noon, my view was kind of ridiculous. I looked in the mirror and I really did not like what I saw, not just from a physical perspective, I put on a little bit of weight. I wasn't in football shape, obviously. And just looking at my eyes, I was not accustomed to seeing that look. It wasn't who I wanted to be. And so the shift came from, "Okay. I don't know who I am really outside of football, but the least I can do is get to work on discovering that. I don't know what I want to do for a career. But I can start exploring other careers and developing myself so that when I do know, I'll be in a position to start somewhere, wherever that may be." So I really started taking my personal development seriously. Reading more. I rediscovered my love for reading. Always loved reading as a kid but becoming a jock, it was just football. I only read at my classes. So I started reading again, started listening to podcasts, started developing myself and ultimately, I was working on me while discovering where I wanted to be. I didn't plan to rhyme right now. But that...

Scott Anthony Barlow 08:25

Nicely done, Taj.

Taj Dashaun 08:27

Thank you, sir.

Scott Anthony Barlow 08:30

Okay, so rediscovering this love of reading. When you were a kid, you said you always loved reading for a time period that got replaced by football. But what do you remember about... what makes you say you loved reading as a kid? I'm curious about that first of all.

Taj Dashaun 08:45

I think just... so for what it's worth, I don't know if this is relevant to anybody, but I'm an INFJ. So I live in my head a lot. I love being by myself. Just love. I'm never bored. I could sit alone for hours, days at a time, in the house by myself. Always been that way. And so reading for me, I was reading a lot of nonfiction back then, you know, just random stories that I found intriguing. And it just took me on this journey of imagination. But the post college reading was more so personal development. I was reading things like the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. And that book, if I said his name correctly, I think that's how you say it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 09:24

I have no idea how to say his name. I have escaped 10 years of a podcast without having to say his name out loud. So we're gonna go with that until someone can correct us. Send us a note and let us know how to say it correctly.

Taj Dashaun 09:37

I'm the guinea pig on saying his name. So but reading that book, for example, obviously not a nonfiction book, very based on spirituality and meditation, mindfulness, all that. It was a game changer for me because it started to, I was able to separate myself from my negative emotions and understand what my ego is and just be able to be more mindful and grounded which set me on this path of exploring other things that could keep me in that state where I wasn't beating myself up all the time or feeling bad. I was just becoming an enlightened being. I still have a long way to go but I started on my path.

Scott Anthony Barlow 10:10

Yeah, absolutely. When you started reading and focusing on developing yourself, then what changes did you notice? And then how did that impact your career as you started "shifting gears", we'll call it.

Taj Dashaun 10:28

The most prevalent shift for me was, I started treating life, the game of life like it was football. Meaning, the same intensity that I had with workouts in preparation and studying film and competing, I started to take that into life. And like I said, I didn't know where I was going, but it's like, "Okay, let me study the film on myself and see how I can get 1% better today than I was yesterday. Let me try to absorb as much knowledge as possible so I can start to get clear on who I am, who I want to be, what I want my life to look like" all of these really important questions that we should always be asking ourselves and continuously asking ourselves. And so it impacted my career, because I was like, well, while I'm in this process, I had the broad idea of reaching out on LinkedIn. And this was 2013, when LinkedIn was really just starting to become like a really solid platform, just recruiters and stuff. And so I started reaching out to people who were like former athletes, and just asking them questions about their career, having conversations. And people were able to tell me about their experience when they were retiring from their sport, and also telling me how they got onto their path of what they were doing now. So it gave me some different ideas to explore and play with in terms of, "Oh, well, maybe I'll try this, maybe I'll do that. This seems like a path I could at least explore." And having those conversations at least gave me some options on the table that I could start looking at moving forward.

Scott Anthony Barlow 11:51

So then what happened from there?

Taj Dashaun 11:53

Well, I talked to a guy who had a really big impact on me. And he told me that I should go into sales. And this is not advice I give to, I mean, some athletes make great salespeople.

Scott Anthony Barlow 12:01

Not everyone should go into sales automatically.

Taj Dashaun 12:04

No, not at all. Especially if you're not clear on like, why you're doing it, or what you want to sell. It has to be more than just "Oh, I'm a competitor. I'm good at sales. So I'm going to get into it to try to make money or to compete with others or myself." And that's why I got into it. And I made great money. And I was competitive with my coworkers and competitive with myself. But about six months into that job, I found myself sitting in the parking lot, looking at the office thinking, "I can't believe that I have to go in here for another week." And that was a Monday morning. And then you know, I got the Sunday night blues. Those started to happen quite frequently. Like, that anxiety of "Oh, I don't want to go back there. What am I doing? This sucks." And I started to realize that sales wasn't... It was a great experience. And everything in life is sales to some degree. But I realized that ultimately going down the path of salesperson and sales manager was not for me. So I started to... I call it, you know, pop my antennas up and start to look for where can I pivot to next.

Scott Anthony Barlow 13:04

So that was six months in. What did you notice that caused you to... after that six month, we'll call it the six month honeymoon period, right? That six months passed. And where did you first start to notice that, "Wow, I don't really want to go back." Tell me more about that.

Taj Dashaun 13:21

I've never shared this before. So the honeymoon period was, I'm learning something new, right? It's like learning the playbook. I always go back to the sports analogy. So I was learning the playbook of this business, of this product, and I was working for Xerox, by the way, selling copy machines and IT services. They had a great training, but you know, so I'm studying and that was exhilarating. Because it's like, I'm learning something new. I want to figure out how quickly I can get good at this, then I got really good at it. And then I remember getting my first commission check, which was a nice chunk of money, especially with, you know, I was still living at home at the time, and I really needed that money to move out. But I remember getting that check, and being excited, kind of, and then driving home and just be like, "Ha! I don't really feel any different. I thought I would be really excited about this amount of money or the fact that I earned this, that I created this money for myself." And then I remember being in bed that night, kind of just staring up at the ceiling thinking like, "Wow, I got this money and it didn't make a difference at all and how I feel, and I'm still dreading going back into the office tomorrow." And I started crying, honestly, because I was like I felt trapped in my own life. I started to feel hopeless because I was like doing the thing, right? I finally got a job after all that time. I'm adulting now, I'm making money. I not only got the job, but I earned my first commission check, I'm closing deals. This is what everybody dreams of, right? And then I'm just completely, for lack of a better word, like, unenthusiastic about continuing to do that day after day.

Scott Anthony Barlow 14:51

Enter the apathy stage, we're going to call it. Okay, so tell me what happened from there. Once you notice that, once you enter it the apathy stage, what do you do?

Taj Dashaun 15:02

I started... This is so funny looking back. I was at work, doing cold calls before I went out into the field for the day. And I Googled: easy jobs to transition into after sales.

Scott Anthony Barlow 15:15

You're not the only one. That is a ridiculously large search. I have seen those search term numbers. So you and everybody else.

Taj Dashaun 15:24

Ironically, well, not ironically, but it was the top search, or at least one of the top searches. So there were things like recruiting, I can't remember what else popped up. But recruiting stood out to me the most, because I like the idea of well, recruiting is kind of like sales, but you're almost selling candidates to help them. So rather than selling someone a product, you're helping a candidate get a job and selling them or helping them sell themselves to accompany, and helping them put food on the table for their families. And I was like, I think that's something I want to look into. So I started looking into recruiting roles. My first actual job ended up being not directly recruiting but I left that sales role, and I was working as a Career Services Advisor at the Art Institute in Hollywood. I was still living in LA at the time. And that role was like that really lit me up because I was helping graduates from the Art Institute, people in fashion, music production, culinary, like all those creative arts, I was helping them land jobs in LA. And I got to be like, I didn't know I was doing it at the time, but I got to be a career coach, in a sense to those students and help them get jobs and experience. So I was so much happier in that job once I left sales.

Scott Anthony Barlow 16:39

So that's interesting, first of all, because that sounds like it's where you got your first tiny taste of anything career coaching related. And secondly, it sounds like it was very, very different than your other sales job. So what do you think looking back were the very biggest differences for you? What made it feel so very different? Because I mean, if we broke it down, it's kind of the same skill set a little bit, but a completely different feeling.

Taj Dashaun 17:08

Definitely. I was even doing cold calls. I had to call businesses to let them know that I had this pool of graduates in certain industries and see if they had things available, try to get them set up on an interview. So definitely the same skill set, but the thing that made the most difference for me is when students would, you know, I would go into the classrooms and kind of share, I kind of liked that presenting. And that's why I do podcasts now, and presenting and sharing that our departments available, how we can help. And then I also really enjoyed when they would have my meetings, they would schedule meetings with me and come meet with me one on one in my office. That was like, the highlight of my day, like finally I get to take a break from cold calls and just sit down with the student and have a conversation to figure out how I can help them.

Scott Anthony Barlow 17:49

So what happened from there?

Taj Dashaun 17:51

So it was a combination of things. I met my wife, who's now my wife, but I met her when I was just on a trip in San Diego. So we met each other and then I started thinking, "Maybe I'll try to find a job or go to the Art Institute in San Diego just so we can be closer together once we get really serious." So that was one thing. And then the job itself was great. I loved it. The only thing is there was the change of management they came in. And they were downsizing. And they were starting to let career coaches go. So I got spooked. I was like, "Oh, I mean, my numbers are good, but I'm worried that I'm gonna get chopped anyway. So let me start looking." And then also the change of management brought about my manager who I really love. She was awesome. She was like, "Listen, I don't even care what time you come in, just as long as you're doing what you need to do and hitting these placement numbers." And I was like, I got us to this place. And she ended up leaving, she got let go, unfortunately. And so someone else came in and they were micromanaging, like, to the nth degree. And but that was another great lesson because I realized that ultimately, I'm not someone who likes to be micromanaged. If I'm doing my job, and going above and beyond, then I expect to be able to have free rein to be able to do that. And I had that conversation a couple of times and I wasn't given that opportunity. And I felt like micromanaging was taking away from my ability to actually perform my role. So all the signs were kind of ushering me out the door. It was the perfect storm of all those things that led me to start exploring.

Scott Anthony Barlow 19:17

I think we can probably agree that micromanagement is like the most universally detested. I haven't met anybody who, like, loves micromanagement yet, but as I've gotten to know you, I know that you probably really enjoy a higher degree of autonomy and flexibility and having the ability to decide, like, how the work gets done compared to the average person. Is that a fair assessment?

Taj Dashaun 19:43

Yes. I'd say, I'm very independent. I'd say I'm well above the average amount of autonomy that people need in their workday. I would agree with that.

Scott Anthony Barlow 19:52

Do you feel like you fully learned that through that experience, or was it later on where you really started to realize that more?

Taj Dashaun 20:00

That experience was the first time I saw micromanagement to that degree, but then I experienced it in my next role. And I can tell you about that very quickly. I did it. I actually did end up going to San Diego, not at the Art Institute, it was another company that was contracted by San Diego County to help break the cycle of families being reliant on welfare. And so my job was to train them to be work ready, and not only train them up, but also be out in the community finding opportunities for them to get jobs. So that was the job development part, but also training them up to be in a position where they could get the jobs that I was securing for them. So that was in San Diego. That allowed me to get to San Diego be closer to my girlfriend, who's not my wife. And same thing happened there. I was enjoying it. I was getting promoted. I was making great money. I was killing it. I was like 25 at the time going on 26. Climbing the ladder, promotion after promotion, getting recognized by the San Diego County, all kinds of good stuff was happening. And then changes management came in and also downsizing. And I'm like, "Here we go again." Micromanagement. And then also, even though because I saw people who were also putting up good placement numbers and doing great things get let go. And I was like, "I think it's only a matter of time before I'm up next. And I don't want to be micromanaged." And then things got kind of weird. Well, I was lost again. Because I was like this cycle is repeating itself, I have to try to start thinking bigger than just going into my next recruiting or something like that. I have to think outside the box. And so at the time, I got introduced to network marketing, no offense to anyone who does network marketing, I know a lot of people make great money. But I did that for like six months, because I was like, I have to get out of the rat race, so to speak. And I thought that was gonna be my ticket out. But I just felt weird.

Scott Anthony Barlow 21:51

So I think what you said was, that's really interesting that we started out our conversation with, if people get into sales, and I would say this is true of network marketing as well. Like if people get into it for, let's call it like the wrong reasons or not necessarily fully in tune with what they want out of it or for the wrong purpose, then it's just sort of a tool in many ways. And like, it's not necessarily good or bad on its own. But if you get into something for the wrong reasons, or use it for the wrong reasons, then I think that's where it crosses the line. And I think that hit me when you said that earlier about sales. And it sounds like you were looking for the same sort of thing in one way or another year. Is that a fair assessment?

Taj Dashaun 22:41

That's a fair assessment. You're absolutely right. I crashed and burned.

Scott Anthony Barlow 22:44

But I've also been there too, though. Like, I think that we should probably point out. Like that's the cycle that so many people get in. Like, how many times have you seen that? I know, we're going to talk about, like how you got into full on career coaching later on too. But like that is the thing that you go through. And like when you're in it emotionally, I don't know about you, but I haven't been able to recognize it all the time when I'm there and doing it and trying to run from something as opposed to run into something. So thinking back on that now, what advice would you give to people that are in that situation that were where you were at, not once but twice, where you're like, I just need to get out of this situation, whatever it is?

Taj Dashaun 23:31

I'm gonna go back to something you just said, which is something that you and I spoke about in our first conversation because I read it in your book, and I thought it was really profound, and it's something that I believe in. Now, back then, I didn't have the insight back then. But now, what you just said, you have to... you can't just be running away from something, you have to know what you're running towards, and be super clear on that. Otherwise, you're going to find yourself locked into that pattern of, "I have to get away from this thing." And then you run to the next thing and you find yourself in the same situation, just find a different building. And so like I call it, running from the nightmare, but running towards the dream. And that's how I like to phrase it, but we're talking about the same thing. And so, to your point with network marketing, I was running away from this pattern of being in the corporate lifestyle and always feeling like my job wasn't secure and being micromanaged. But I wasn't running towards anything clear. It was just, "Oh, I think this is something that could get me there. Let me jump into it" without any sort of foresight around, is this even the right opportunity? Where is this leading me? So I think to answer your question, that's the strongest advice that I can give is to do the heavy lifting up front of finding clarity about what you want, so you don't have to waste your time and spin your wheels and opportunities that are ultimately not taking you to your Northstar.

Scott Anthony Barlow 24:47

Totally agree. Obviously, I'm highly biased. We built an entire organization, that's part of what we help people do. But I found a lot of truth to that too. Think back to the points in my life where I made decisions that I didn't enjoy as much after I had picked a direction and run with it. It was exactly those times where I was running away from something or running away from the nightmare, but I didn't have the dream established necessarily. So I love that. Okay, so let's go back for a moment. What happened next? You're in that situation, you made a pivot to network marketing, and you were looking at this as sort of the, I don't know, holy grail or the way out. But what happened at that point? How did it turn out?

Taj Dashaun 25:39

Well, so I quit network marketing, because I just felt inauthentic. I felt like I wasn't being myself. I felt cheesy trying to approach people in public to get them to join my team. I'm just not that type of guy. I felt like I was being deceptive. Once again, no offense to anyone who does network marketing. I know people who are making great money, including family members who love network marketing, but it wasn't for me. And so I didn't end up getting let go from that position with the county, I actually got promoted. And then this is what led me into career coaching, or what I call athlete transition coaching, which is a form of career coaching just for athletes. But I got promoted. And then I had a series of teammates who flew out to visit me. The school I went to at Stony Brook is on the east coast of Long Island. So I was in San Diego. So I had people come out to visit me from their, different teammates around the country who flew out all in this like period where I was just balling out of control, making great money, living in this apartment, but they wanted to come see California, see San Diego, and basically when they would get there, they would say "Taj, you're living the dream." Like they didn't know that I was unfulfilled in my work. But they were like, "You're living the dream, got this great job. Living life in San Diego, like you're killing it. How did you do this?" There'll be like, "I'm back at home working at Home Depot, I could barely afford my flight out here. And I graduated five years ago. So how are you doing this?" And so I became an unofficial mentor to these guys. I would work with them, even when they went back home. We would have phone calls. We did like a meetup type of thing before work, after work, in the mornings, and on the weekends. And I enjoyed doing that so much that I said, "You know what, I think there's an opportunity for me here", especially after doing research understanding that this is more than football players that deal with this. It's athletes from any sport, who struggle with their identity. And then understanding that back then, understanding there wasn't as many resources for retiring athletes, or athlete mental health as they are today, which led me to forming Thrive After Sports, officially started my coaching business, developing partnerships with universities and doing what I call athlete transition coaching, which is like a hybrid between life coaching and career coaching for retiring athletes, basically helping the person that I was when I was last coming out of college. And that was the beginning of my career coaching journey in 2017.

Scott Anthony Barlow 27:47

Well now, if we fast forward, then you and I get to work together here at Happen To Your Career. And you and I have had several conversations about how that shift in identity, and that shift, and that transition that athletes go through is actually the exact same transition, even though it doesn't seem like it is to so many people, it's the exact same transition as like someone who has been in the same organization for 12 or 14 years, and they've been promoted up the ranks, and they feel like all they know is that environment, that company, that industry, that profession, that whatever it is. And even if it's not necessarily the same organization or the same industry, sometimes we have people that we've worked with that have crew changes a couple of different times, but then they reach a point where they can't see outside of what it is that they know. And usually what we find is when we start working with any of those situations, whether it's athlete, whether it's the executive that has been in the same organization or any other one, usually your battling identity someplace along the way. And so here's my question for you. Because you've seen this in a lot of different environments, what advice would you give to someone who is experiencing that where they're looking and thinking, like, I don't even know where to go from here, like, this is all I feel like I know?

Taj Dashaun 29:22

I have a couple of thoughts on this. I'll try to keep it brief. But I think that the first thing when you're going through sort of an identity crisis, or not sure about who you are, where you're going, you know, what you're meant to do in this world, so to speak, I think it's important to try to think about how you want to live. I always say it's important to think more about how you want to live versus what you want to do. And then try to fit what you're doing into how you want to live. Like for example, Happen To Your Career, fully remote team. These are people who enjoy the freedom, flexibility and autonomy of working remotely. I enjoy that too, which is why I was attracted to your company aside from the mission, we can get into that. That's a whole other conversation. But it's important to think about how you want to live. I structured my business, Thrive After Sports, based around not wanting to sit in traffic, not wanting to drive to an office, some people need that, some people need to be in person around team members. I'm not one of those people. I enjoy being able to work from home or work from anywhere in the world. So thinking about how you want to live is huge, and fitting how you want to do underneath that umbrella of how you want to live. And then the other thing is, think about, because sometimes when we're in that place of, "I don't know who I am", we're focused on ourselves so much that we're not thinking about how we can be making an impact on other people. So another piece of that is, I always think about whatever you decide to do, after you've already thought about how you want to live, think about who you want to serve, what group of people, what demographic, what you want to serve that people with, like how you want to help them, what you want to help them with. And all those questions will start to give you pieces that you can put together to create your next career or help you chart your path about the impact that you want to make in the world.

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:00

Love that. What do you think is the hardest part when people are wrestling with some of those identity questions, or they're trying to move beyond what they have known? Or they're recognizing that they need to reinvent themselves, but don't necessarily know how, what do you think is the hardest part out of that situation?

Taj Dashaun 31:23

I think that feeling of being lost brings on these, like, I was sharing with you earlier– feelings of hopelessness, you kind of get down on yourself, you feel stuck, you feel like you're not moving forward. And so the hardest part is actually getting into action, and spending the time to do that self examination, or not just self examination, but exploring, like, different careers or different routes you can go because it does take work. And so it's easier. And I know this firsthand, it's easier to be like, my life's not moving forward, I'm stuck. I don't know who I am. I'm just gonna watch Netflix and kind of zone out or distract myself from what I'm feeling.

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:58

Don't go into sales or whatever. Just pick one. Just pick a thing and just go into it. Right?

Taj Dashaun 32:07

Right. I have bills to pay. I just need to get something. Not just about when I'm not there. You're exactly right about that. So I think that if you can, and I'm not saying it's not okay to grieve in the process of what you're feeling because those emotions are very real. But at the same time, the best way to get out of that is not by trying to just "Oh, I'm gonna think positively", it's by doing the work to put yourself in a position in life that you can be happy with. And not waiting until you get there to be happy, but putting, finding joy in the process of getting to that point of clarity, like I learned to find joy in the discovery process of discovering where I wanted to go and who I am, instead of waiting to get there to be happy. So that's what I would say.

Scott Anthony Barlow 32:46

I love that. Hey, I'm so excited to have you on our team. And thank you for taking the time and sharing your story here.

Taj Dashaun 32:56

Like he's got, I'm honored to be joining the team and not just yourself and what you've created and the mission that you're on, but all the team members have been awesome so far. And I'm excited to be running with a group of people that are really making a difference in the world.

Scott Anthony Barlow 33:08

Hey, something I want to let you know the seemingly impossible career change stories that you hear on the podcast are actually from people just like you who are listening to this podcast and decided to take action and have a conversation with our team. If you want to implement what you heard, and you want to completely change your life and your career, then let's figure out how we can help. So here's what I would suggest, just take your phone right now. Open it up, go to your email clap and type me an email Scott@happentoyourcareer.com just put 'Conversation' in the subject line. And when you do that, I'll introduce you to the right person on our team and you can have a conversation with us. We'll try and understand your goals and what you want to accomplish in your career no matter where you're at. And we can figure out the very best way that we can help you and support you in your situation. So open that up right now and send me an email with 'Conversation' in the subject line to Scott@happentoyourcareer.com.

Scott Anthony Barlow 34:08

Here's a sneak peek into what we have coming up in store for you next week.


I was excited about what I was doing. So it wasn't leaving something or making a change because I was unhappy. I was leaving and making a change because I knew I wanted better.

Scott Anthony Barlow 34:26

Making a career change is not a happily ever after. Even though sometimes it can look that way, going from an unenjoyable draining career to finding your ideal role can feel like the happy ending of your favorite rom com. What they usually don't show in the movies, and what we don't often get to cover in the podcast is the work that comes after– maintaining your ideal career or learning to thrive in a ideal career often includes continually pivoting and experimenting so that you make sure that you're optimizing it in a way that aligns with your vision.

Scott Anthony Barlow 35:02

All that and plenty more next week right here on Happen To Your Career. Make sure that you don't miss it. And if you haven't already, click Subscribe on your podcast player so that you can download this podcast in your sleep, and you get it automatically, even the bonus episodes every single week, sometimes multiple times a week. Until next week. Adios. I'm out.

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