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.

# # # # #

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

Yes, It Does Take a Village – My Figure Skating Journey, Part 2

With my coach Paula McKinley after competing in the Dogwood Open in Raleigh this past June.

With my coach Paula McKinley after competing in the Dogwood Open in Raleigh this past June.

This blog entry contains many links worth exploring as well as an announcement at the bottom about my next public skating appearance.

Like last year, once again I am going to earmark December as my month for writing a few more personal blog entries. Last December, I wrote about “Finding a New Passion at 59” about starting my journey to become a competitive adult figure skater. I do want to share some progress as well as some learning points.

Things are progressing along fine, and my goal is to qualify to skate in US Adult Nationals in April, 2017 when it is held for the first time in my home state of North Carolina. I will need to train rigorously and pass four different skating skills tests in front of a set of official US Figure Skating judges. And I owe a lot of my progress thus far to both a series of helpful individuals as well as a community of supportive people. Yes, it does often indeed take a village to accomplish a personal goal; I could not have gotten as far as I have without teaching, coaching, support and inspiration from others.

On the individual side, I need to thank my coach Paula McKinley. She has been extraordinarily patient with me starting with my first tentative steps of the slippery ice to progressing through various skill levels. She insists on proper technique from the start so I do not develop bad habits, and she employs the perfect mix of correction and praise. When I do something incorrectly, Paula does have me do it over and over again until I get it right, and will often demonstrate for me my incorrect skating in an exaggerated style, which of course horrifies me but also causes me to smile. And when I train hard between lessons and then demonstrate that I have indeed learned what she has taught, she is quick to give me praise and a hug. Finding a great coach who meshes with your own style and requirements is indeed critical.

I also appreciate the physical support and assistance from my off-ice flexibility coach Eileen Juric (who is nationally known ballet and dance instructor), my physical therapist Caitlyn Espy of the Trinity Wellness Center, and my massage therapist Dennie Michele from Massage Envy at North Hills (Raleigh.)

Again in 2015 I am inspired at the Dorothy Hamill Adult Fantasy Figure Skating Camp

Again in 2015 I am inspired at the Dorothy Hamill Adult Fantasy Figure Skating Camp

In addition to these individuals, I have been inspired by a host of encouraging groups. I am cheered on by the members of the Central Carolina Skating Club of Hillsborough, NC where I am coached and also the friends from the Skating Club of North Carolina, as well as at the Raleigh IcePlex and the Polar Ice House of Garner where I regularly practice. And for the past two years, I have attended the Dorothy Hamill Adult Fantasy Figure Skating Camp in Scottsdale, Arizona. Dorothy Hamill and her coaching team are fantastic with inspiring and teaching each camper, and we become a family encouraging and supporting each other.

In addition I appreciate local friends and family, many Facebook friends who are very supportive and the US Adult Competitive Figure Skaters Facebook group with its excellent conversations and advice.

Yes, I have learned that achieving a goal does take hard work, but is so much easier and enjoyable with individual and team support – it does indeed take a village, or should I even say an extended supportive global community!

# # #

NOTE: My next skating exhibition will be at the Raleigh Iceplex, 2601 Raleigh Blvd in Raleigh, NC, Friday December 11 at 6:30PM. Admission is free!