My story is proof 


Long before I gave a TEDx talk or delivered training to world-class companies, I was a green-as-grass, first-generation college grad with huge dreams.


My first break was being "discovered" in college and being recruited to travel around my home state giving keynote talks to thousands of state employees.


Cool job huh? Here's how I blew it.


Helplessly naive about how to communicate my experience and what I could do, I never once mentioned it. 

A few years and mistakes later, I scored my "dream job" working overseas at the headquarters of a blue-chip company. 


Flying all over the globe doing this "big time" job, I was flying by the seat of my pants, too. Scared to death of making a misstep. 


 Life was exciting as it was out of my control. 

Working all the time and banking unused vacation...


Flash forward 10 years...

Plagued by a chronic case of "What's taking so long?" ​

I thought doubling down on my work would make it all come together.

If I'm honest, it became my way of hiding a bigger problem

Then I learned the secret no one was sharing

Working your brains out isn't the magic ingredient to success. You can work hard and not get very far at all. 

What's the deal? Did I miss a memo?  

The brutal truth is I saw a lot of smart, hard-working folks doing work and raising the profiles of executives who seemed to be enjoying a chronic case of being in-the-right-place-at-the-right-time. To be honest, I don't know if they were happy or just resigned to it, 

The realization:  long hours, hard work were bringing a massive case of burnout. I woke up one day and thought...

 "I've had enough! This is no life."

I left my job and took a year-long sabbatical.

Friends were skeptical. Family questioned. Eyes rolled.

Over that year, I took courses that had nothing to do with my "career" and let instincts and intuition guide me. I learned a lot. For example...

It's not just you.

A few month's into this journey, a close family member called and asked, "When are you going to get a job?!" 


"I've got a plan." I said.


They weren't convinced and I was shaken, "What if I was wrong?"

At the end of my year-long sabbatical and in the middle of one of the worst economic downturns in history, I landed a job with a mind-blowing salary and benefits. 


Finally! I discovered the key to open doors I'd been trying to get through for years!

Biggest mistake?

Waiting. Because you can make more money, but you can't make more time.


In a nutshell, I learned this truth...

There is no justice, only power

With a few minor changes, I gained massive strategic advantage and freedom.


  • Starting your next job knowing you've made a good business deal for you, your family, and your career.  

  • No anxiety about losing your job. 

  • Knowing your options  - where to go and what to do to find the best situation for you personally, professionally, and financially.

  • Not worrying about saying or doing the "wrong" thing because you have more than one source of income and no one owns you.

It's possible. I'm living proof you can change your strategy and change your trajectory, for good.

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Image by Olga Thelavart
Courtney answers (some of)
The Proust Questionnaire in reverse order


What is your motto? Live free or die. (The a-political version.)

What is your greatest regret?  My 'accidental' mullet in the 8th grade. Any time spent in places after acknowledging, "This is not working."

Who are your heroes in real life? Those people on The dodo videos who save animals and Dolly Parton.

What is your most marked characteristic? The pairing of a smart mouth with a refusal to accept titular authority. 

What is your favorite occupation? Reader, writer, rebel, cheerleader for justice-seekers. Bullsh*t caller. Wearer of black clothes. 

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?  It's a tie: stuck on a plane circling an airport waiting for storms to pass with a dead phone battery or arriving a coffee shop to realize I've forgotten my headphones...Noooooo!!!!

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? A dolphin or a clairvoyant. It's not clear. 

What is your most treasured possession? My passport.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Quitting smoking (a long, long, long, time ago) and quitting jobs (that were also killing me but didn't come with a Surgeon General's warning.)

Which talent would you most like to have?  The ability to play the bluegrass fiddle, banjo and mandolin well enough to get a guest spot on Hee Haw! Hell yeah!

When and where were you happiest?  "Out of Office" is on. I just scored a booth to myself in the train café car.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?  "What did I come in here for?"

On what occasion do you lie? In reply to the question, "How much do you weigh?"

What do you most dislike about your appearance? What it looks like commuting or sitting in a cubicle. 

What is your current state of mind? Energized and curious.

What is your greatest extravagance? My troubadour-meets-digital nomad existence.

Which living person do you most admire? Anyone who fights for truth and justice by being honest, taking a raft of sh*t for it, but doing it anyway. 

What is your greatest fear? Hey fear...🖕

What is your idea of perfect happiness? No meetings. Sleep in. Black coffee ☕️  Fresh Powder 🎿

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