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My career story will make you say, "That sounds familiar!"


Here's the TL; DR.

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


Here's how I blew it.

Helplessly naive about how to communicate my experience and what I could do, I never once mentioned it - anywhere!  How many things have you done like that? A big deal to others, yet to you, it's "No big deal." 


You can't see the picture when you're the frame.  You have more going for you than you realize, but because it's yours, you move the goalposts... that's no big deal.

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 and being all alone.  

Expert help was required, yet I was winging it.


Flash forward 10 years...

Plagued by a nagging sense 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

The secret no one shares.

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

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. 

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

"I've had enough! There has to be a better way."

Hello, 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 be my guide.

Don't wait to make your move.

A few months into my year off, 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. I knew I had to do something different.

At the end of my year-long sabbatical and in the middle of one of the worst economic downturns in history, I took action. I got help from experts, coaches, and marketers who showed me the way.


I landed a job with a mind-blowing salary and benefits and realized I was the one who'd been holding myself back by doing what wasn't working, only harder!

Biggest mistake?

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


Courtney's articles and features and podcast appearances

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Courtney answers
The Proust Questionnaire in reverse order


What is your motto? Live free or die. (The apolitical 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 in Dodo videos who save animals and Dolly Parton.

What is your most marked characteristic? The pairing of a smart mouth with a tendency to speak truth to power.  

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

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?  Arriving at a coffee shop to realize I've forgotten my headphones.

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!

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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