Posts Tagged ‘US Figure Skating’

“Getting Up” From a Life of Hiding and Deception

The joy of “getting up” to live an honest and authentic life clearly shows in Jim Manchester’s brilliant smile.

This is now my seventh monthly “Get Up” blog based on US Figure Skating’s popular “Get Up” campaign which shares the message that life, like the ice, is hard, and we can certainly fall on it. But the more times we get up and persevere, the stronger we become.

So often we can fall down in our lives by living in a web of hiding and deception where we are not totally honest with ourselves and others. Getting up and moving into a life of integrity and honesty can be so empowering and fulfilling. I would like to share the story of a close friend, Jim Manchester, who actually created and maintains my business website.

Jim shares, “After trying to live 45 years of my life pretending to be a straight married man for 15+ years and making huge mistakes along the way, that double life simply caught up with me in a disastrous way. I had been afraid that I would lose my 4 close friends if they knew I was gay. In fact, I did lose 3 of them and the other one moved away.

“But after much therapy and recovery counseling, I started living a fully-integrated life and found appropriate role models in the gay community – one of whom was Stan Kimer. They all became close friends and confidants. I intentionally changed my old decision-making habits and undertook a new journey in life. They helped me realize that my purpose in life was to help build and encourage close LGBTQA communities that would allow others like me to thrive. I redirected my business efforts – along with everything else I do in life – toward that model.

“One very important step was taking full responsibility for my past actions and decisions and realizing that I need to take the steps to change my direction. So now at almost age 65, I have so much business in my web design, social media promotion, and smartphone app development business (IYI Creative – link) that I must schedule new clients into my available time. And instead of just 4 close friends, I now have hundreds of them.

Jim delivering a toast at a wedding among several dozen friends he made while rebuilding his life.

“In addition, I offer my professional services to many Community organizations who supported me in my new journey such as the LGBT Center of Raleigh, St. John’s Metropolitan Community Church, the Alliance of AIDS Services – Carolina, Crape Myrtle Festival, and the Raleigh Business and Professional Network – Raleigh’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

“I owe all of that to the hard work it took to change old patterns of secrecy and deception, and to the people who helped guide me through my own process of ‘Getting Up.’”

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To read my 6 other “Get Up” blogs, link to my figure skating blog page.

My “Get Up” Blog for March – Getting Up after “Career Falls”

When corporate culture where he worked shifted away from Val Boston’s business philosophy, he “got up” to start his own consultant practice where he could be true to his values.

For the March blog as part of my monthly “Get Up” Blog series inspired by US Figure Skating’s “Get Up” campaign, I am featuring people getting up, not from from physical falls, but from “falls” or unexpected downturns in vocations and careers. The “Get Up” message inspires us to get up from the many different types of falls we can have in our lives just as figure skaters get up and continue after a fall on the very hard cold ice.

I have four short stories to share:


Adult figure skater Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn shared: “I moved to my current city for a job that sought me out. They had made promises that they didn’t keep, and hired someone else to share my position without telling me a week after I started. Three and a half months later they fired me with absolutely no explanation. But I “got up” and dove head first into full time freelance illustration (link to her website) and haven’t looked back. Four years later it is the best thing that could have happened to me, AND I was able to fit skating into my day. Before that, I would have to travel an hour to another rink (my current was just across the street from where I live and I could only skate weekends there) just to get some ice time after work IF I didn’t get stuck working late.


After moving internationally and discovering that her past experience was not really valued in the US, Noa Ronan had to get up and forge her own path as a coach and consultant.


A consultant I met at my local SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) chapter – Triangle SHRM here in North Carolina, Noa Ronan of Noa Ronen Coaching,, shared, “11 years ago I moved from Israel to the US. I had a fulfilling executive career as a change management consultant and HR and Training executive. But after our family relocation to the US reality hit me, neither my Israeli career experience nor my MBA from Israel was of interest in the US when I applied for jobs. I felt very lost and stuck; I didn’t want to apply for jobs that will take me back to what I did ten years ago or go in a different direction. I loved what I did and I didn’t want to let go of who I was in my past. It took me few good years to fall and fail again and again until I was able to “get up” and let go of the story I was telling myself about my “glorious” past and recreate who I want to be right here in the present. Today I am using all the skills I have acquired over my career with new ones, and I coach global leaders and people in transitions. Letting go of my past was about being present with my new reality and recreating a new future for myself.


And from a highly respected consultant who has been an invaluable mentor to me as I started my own business in 2010, Val Boston of Boston and Associates, LLC: “After 5 years with a global organization, they were sold to a much larger firm. With the acquisition came a major cultural and philosophical shift, from a service focus model to a more “bottom line” one. This change in business philosophy was in direct conflict with mine. I then I “got up” and decided to launch my own consultancy focusing on Diversity & Inclusion, and Leadership Coaching. That was 17 years ago!”


And another friend from TSHRM who is so supportive of my figure skating journey, Diane Olsen (link to her LinkedIn profile) shares her story of “getting up” multiple times: “After ten years building an amazing insurance industry career, where I climbed ladders, I turned down the ultimate promotion at a very large company. I decided to move cross country and go back to school, but soon found myself in a financial position where I needed to go back to work full time. I grabbed the first job that came along. When that company shut down, I job-jumped a few times while trying to finish my degree part-time. I had a roller coaster on my resume now.

Then it dawned on me that I created this storm. What was I going to be when I grew up? I didn’t get my answer until years later. I took a job in Raleigh as an Operations Manager for a start-up company, and I was employee number nine. Over the course of eight years, I built four other departments, was promoted to VP of Operations and HR, and was able to be a part of the buy-out of the company at the end of 2015. Each of these departments I created had information pulled from a lot of the in-between jobs I’d had in the past.

Sometimes, you are dusting yourself off without even realizing it. I have since left that job, taking a well-deserved hiatus. It’s a bit stressful being in transition, but exciting at the same time. Needless to say, I look forward to “getting up” and starting my next adventure with open arms.


Life, like the ice, can be very hard, with falls giving us a good jar. But we can rise up, persevere, and move onto something better.

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Links to all my earlier “Get Up” monthly blogs can be found on my skating blogs and videos blog page.

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