LOVE MONDAY: Featuring Mark Stanifer
At Painted Turtle Partners, we believe that every individual should be able to fully utilize their interests, skills and experience in a work setting that they will enjoy. In our weekly post, “Love Monday”, we will be highlighting individuals that have made a major career change and now love what they do. This week, you will gain insight from Mark Stanifer who, after spending 20 years in the banking industry, started his own business Dare2Live Coaching, helping individuals find their life purpose. Learn what career changes he made and how he got there.
What was your past career(s) and what are you doing now?
The first part of my professional career was in banking, first with BankOne and then with JPMorganChase. Over a span of 20 years, I worked in consumer lending, commercial banking, asset and liability risk management, and mortgage banking. I was primarily within the finance and accounting specialty, helping the senior leaders understand the details of their business through the financials. I had a very successful run, and benefited significantly from my time there. However, my excitement about the work was declining and I wanted to go in a different direction; one where I could focus on helping people realize their full potential, in all areas of life.
I now run a business called Dare 2 Live Coaching, which does exactly that. Through individualized coaching, we discover client’s passions, help them clarify their purpose, and focus on defining priorities. The process facilitates more rapid progress toward realizing their goals, as well as leads to increased productivity and satisfaction. Ultimately, it results in the client living a more fulfilled life.
The first half of my career was a great experience and springboard for what I am doing now. This next chapter is where I get to live in alignment with my passion and purpose, by helping others do the same.
Was there a point when you just knew that you wanted and needed to go for this new opportunity? Can you describe that moment? What pushed you to move forward?
The turning point for me came in 2015 when my role changed. While I had known for a few years that I wanted to do something different, it was during this last role when I realized the time had come. The best way to describe it is by using a sports analogy. I was involved in a trade—one which looked good on paper but ended up being a bad fit. It was a good learning experience, in many ways, but I knew I was not in the right role. It was demanding a great deal of time and energy, which didn’t leave much to explore other opportunities. Corporate America has not embraced the concept of a sabbatical, yet that’s what I really wanted. So, after much thought and prayer, I resigned and spent two months away from any “work.” This was exactly what I needed and proved to be the first step into a whole new adventure.
What helped to prepare you for this career change?
I would love to say that I followed a “6 Steps to the Career You Love” program. But the reality is my path was more nuanced than that. There were, however, a couple very intentional things along the way which allowed me to make this bold move. First, my wife and I were on the same page. Without that, the risks would have significantly outweighed the rewards. Second, a few years before my transition we began saving specifically for a job change. At the time, we didn’t know what it would be, but now we do. And that extra savings has made the transition a lot easier, providing more runway for the business to get off the ground. Third, I was willing to take a risk to follow my passion. Being self-employed comes with a whole new set of risks and it isn’t right for everyone. For me, though, the risks from not changing were even greater. So I chose to take the leap into something new.
What have been the biggest struggles and/or hurdles that you have encountered with this change? What are you doing to overcome them?
Probably the biggest challenge was starting over in a new field. I was prepared for the shift to small business ownership. I expected that building a new business would take some time. Accounting and marketing knowledge is transferrable. But, as I often said in my prior corporate life, there is no shortcut for experience. I’ve certainly found that to be true in this new venture.
Having said that, many of the skills I developed during my banking days are very transferrable. Skills such as listening for understanding, awareness of what motivates people, leadership development, they all carry over into coaching. To grow in the technical aspects of coaching, I am pursuing certification through the International Coaches Federation (ICF), and the training I’ve received so far has been invaluable in helping me deliver an excellent experience to my clients.
If you were to offer one piece of advice to individuals that are contemplating making a major career change, what would it be?
Probably the best piece of advice I can offer is borrowed from scuba diving—plan the dive and dive the plan. While I am not a diver, the advice is applicable to planning your career. Building a plan for what you want to accomplish and making the necessary preparations is the right first step. However, it’s not the same as actually taking the dive. So many people work on the plan, but never take the next step and get out of the boat. Remember, the plan is not the goal, the goal is to dive. Plan your dive, then dive your plan.
If you want to learn more about how Mark and how he helps people live where passion and purpose align, you can visit his website. If you are interested in receiving his regular blog updates, leave him a comment or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also connect with Mark on LinkedIn and Facebook.