A note from the Founder:
A career move can be intentionally transformational, increasing our contribution to society and bringing with it a sense of flourishing. This is the natural course of self-actualization. But transformation requires very deliberate action; the quality of our outcomes will reflect the commitment that we put into them.
I’ve never heard this better articulated than by Steve Jobs in his inspirational Commencement Address to the graduating class of 2005 at Stanford University:
If you haven’t watched the video of that address, I would encourage you to do so. It also expresses beautifully how even a career crisis can provide the opening for a giant step to becoming a more satisfying version of the person you want to be.
Transformation must begin with the CV. No, not the Curriculum Vitae or resume but the Compelling Vision, which is the foundation of all great careers. Gaining deeper clarity about this and expressing it more fully in the future should be the most fundamental objectives of every move for those who take their careers seriously.
Real success is lasting – and it grows inexorably greater as the days and years roll by. Over the years I have been privileged to receive many hundreds of wonderful testimonials from clients. While I have deeply appreciated them all, those that convey the enduring nature of real transformation have always been particularly special to me. Following are a select few, given to me long after our work together, that illustrate some of those transformations.
While excerpts and initials are displayed in some cases to protect confidentiality, the full testimonials may be viewed upon request.
A life-changing journey, over more than sixteen years
It has been many years since I first wrote a message of appreciation for your assistance with my career. The journey you helped me to embark upon has continued to develop and it’s time for an update to that letter.
As you will remember, I had a history of changing jobs pretty regularly, from teaching, to sales, taxi driving and so on. The general consensus of opinion was that this was an indication that I was unstable. However, I always felt that I had to “try” different jobs out, in my search for what I really wanted in life, and to do with my life. All these experiences have served me very well in equipping me for what I am now doing.
You helped me search for and identify what I really wanted. Having spent time in the sales and sales management field, I was well versed with all the goal setting routines. However, I had never taken time out to set goals for WHO I want to be. Once I established this, I was able to chart an appropriate course for my life which has unfolded in the most amazing way since then.
I resigned from my job and set up a children’s charity for the well brothers and sisters of seriously ill and dying kids. The charity, Carenet, eventually went out of operation but not before the importance of its mission gained enough recognition and support to result in others taking up the task and funding being secured to ensure the work would continue.
I subsequently underwent a period of serious health problems. However because I had become clear about who I want to be, even these have proven to be a blessing. I am now in excellent health and have shed 42 unwanted kilograms. I have also shed the negative self-perceptions that had accompanied that extra weight. While this has undoubtedly added years to my life, what is more important is that it has added life to my years.
I am now setting up a program, The Corporate Lifeguard, to address the obesity epidemic afflicting so many of those who make our organizations work. Our focus will be on gaining the support of the corporate world to achieve the benefits that are waiting to be enjoyed.
I have long since learned that material considerations fall into their proper place when we are experiencing the satisfaction of contributing to the lives and futures of others. And I know it’s what I am “wired up” to do. The rewards that this has brought me are in no small part due to your coaching and direction. Thank you once again for helping me to make this immensely satisfying change in direction all those years ago. Your influence and input has not gone unrecognised – hence my desire to reconnect after all these years and pass on my appreciation.
A journey of over a decade
I just wanted to drop a line to update you on how my career is progressing, thanks in large part to the efforts you have put into helping me.
As I am sure you remember, we first started working on my career path while I was living in the USA, after it was suggested by a mutual friend.
I was muddling along doing postdocs in various Universities across the US thinking that eventually I might get an academic position and my own research group. Upon receiving a shock concerning the health of one of my children, the impetus was obtained for me to move into a more applied field of science rather than the pure research of the academic field. However, without any relevant experience this was a difficult transition. Which is where you first came in, allowing me to determine my strengths and skills and how to sell them in a way that was so much greater than I was currently doing it that it is impossible to quantify. Due almost entirely to your advice and efforts I was successful in making the transition into the commercial biotechnology field.
In 2011, after 13 years in various locations around the USA, our family decided to return to Melbourne to allow our children to grow up in closer proximity to their extended families. This was a major step for us, taken only after much discussion of our values and with the recognition that we would have to commit to doing whatever it took to achieve our goal. I had begun to forge a successful career in the fields of Synthetic Biology and Industrial Biotechnology while in the US and was being recruited for Director level positions around the country. However a return to Melbourne, where the biotech field is very small and the industrial biotech field is practically non-existent, required me to be willing to redirect my career.
Upon arriving in Australia I worked with you again in preparing for my necessary transition. Being a natural introvert a lot of the techniques proposed by you were very challenging for me. But not as challenging as relocating my family across the world with no job prospects in my field!
My search came to a successful conclusion when I was offered two jobs on the same day, one of which was ideal. Although I finally gained the position through the advertised job market I firmly believe that I would not have been successful without your help. Networking extensively gave me the practice and confidence to not only sell my story during the interview but to be proactive during the interview experience. Feedback from my new employers also made it clear that my new extensively developed network in the Melbourne biotech scene was a strong positive in favour of my hire.
Our family is now happily settled in Melbourne. I have a great job learning many new aspects of biotechnology that I haven’t been exposed to before and enjoying every minute of it. I have also found it deeply satisfying to master the challenges of the transition, and have learned much about myself in the process.
The last piece of news is that I have recently been promoted to Chief Scientific Officer of the company with oversight of all aspects of Research and Development, Intellectual Property management, quality, regulatory and manufacturing. Not bad for someone who was on the path to a “perma-doc” academic career.
None of this would have been possible without your input and for that I am eternally grateful.
Many kind regards,
Living the dream in Malibu and Melbourne (again, sixteen years or so on)
Just wanted to touch base and say hello. We… are now living in Malibu California, whilst also maintaining a residence in Melbourne. Just wanted to thank you for your guidance in the early 90’s, and although I knew I was going to be successful one day, I never really knew in what way.
Things in business have happened really quickly in the last 4 years or so. I started a surf décor business … and that business now has grown to be the largest surf décor business in the world. I also have a commercial Hotel fit out side of my business.
As far as manufacturing goes, I own some factories in China where we have around 800 full time staff.
I have a really good mate here who lives next door to me, his name is Larry Ellison, who owns Oracle. We often joke about the fact that I am an outsider from Oz and he is a drop-out from College. …”
A remarkable transformation - after a single meeting!
I cannot recommend Russell highly enough, and in fact I recommend him often. I first met Russell when he gave me a free introductory mentoring appointment. He left such an impression that I have always felt grateful, never forgotten him, and always refer him to my executive clients who need his unique skill and style. Resultant of that initial one hour appointment with Russell, the very next week, I comfortably negotiated a pay rise which actually doubled my salary, despite not getting anywhere with my boss for the previous six months. Russell also inspired me to realise the courage to realise I had options. He helped me clarifying what I really felt drawn to, which meant stepping outside of the "corporate career box" which I was so afraid to leave but knew I had to. He could see I could be the fully self-employed person with clients from over 80 countries that I would end up becoming and told me words to that effect. Since then I have enjoyed countless media opportunities, which have I been able to pick and chose selectively from, (another thing he outlined), and I am doing what he identified in that one session that I wanted to do, which I am full embrace and am extremely busy and passionate about to this day. No matter what your field, Russell as a coach, mentor, guide to leadership development is worth his weight in gold.
Jacquelene Close Moore
Reflections on rapid growth
I hope you are well. It has been a long time since we crossed paths.
I received some good news at work yesterday, and wanted to share the success with you as you had an important part in setting me on the right path to achieve that success.
I have been awarded an ongoing Manager of Investigations role ... It is essentially 3 years since we had conversations on what I might like to do in government. You may recall I started as a VPS 2 admin officer and in 3 years I have reached a 5.2 managerial role at a highly regarded office.
Aside from the figures and the time frames, what is important is that I have actually achieved what I set out to achieve in the kind of role I was aiming for. This is at least in part because in our discussions in your office you allowed me to articulate those goals. I remember saying to you that I was comfortable being a leader, and that I wanted to be at the centre of public life to bring about social change. This is now where I am.
I just want to express my sincere appreciation for your time and wisdom that you gave to me 3 years ago. I also want you to know that the essence of those conversations continues to live on and to guide me through the more difficult patches of working life.
I am blessed to have been guided by you, and I hope this update gives you back some part of the uplifting experience you have imparted to me.
Lifechanging Career Move
As a career person, my life was in turmoil many years ago when my favourite job suddenly ended. It was that point when I first met Russell Johnson who put me back on the career ladder to success.
The support I received from Russell cannot be faulted. My first session with him really was lifechanging. After his support over a decade ago, my career has gone from strength to strength. On my return to the UK, I started low to get my foot on the ground before rapidly climbing back up the career ladder. I still use these valuable skills when job seeking, always keeping in my mind “What is the worst thing that can go wrong in an interview?” (Getting the wrong job of course).
Since working with Russell, career changes have been much easier. I no longer look at job hunting as jumping into the first thing I find but choosing the right company. I now work in one of the top 50 companies on the Fortune 500 rating and number one in its field. Before this, my career was going nowhere.
Russell will always stay in my mind as the main person who changed my working life for the better. A person who I respect highly. Anyone who supports people in this way gets 10 stars from me.
Thus, no matter what career path you require, contact Russell for a kick start to a successful career.
Thank you Russell for your valuable support.
Dr B A Lawton