Student Starts Her Own Charity
Quinn Simpson is the co-founder of Akosia.org, a project to create a summer program for street children in Ghana. She is also the founder of The Stepping Up Program which coaches 16 to 24 year-olds and is a coach as well. She is 24 years old and unstoppable now that she has found her real passion in life. Quinn originally thought she wanted to be a photographer. In fact, it was her passion, she was great at it, loved it and she was certain it would become her career. She took a job taking still photographs on a TV show and in one week she knew it wasn’t enough for her–she realized she needed to help people. The only way she knew that was because she tried it.
After her experience in photography, she then thought she was supposed to become a social worker and was convinced that was the career for her. She studied social work at University and started working with very poor families in Scotland. It depressed her–not just the poverty, but the knowing that no matter what she did, it wasn’t enough. She dropped her social work studies and in her third year of University she focused on anthropology and sociology instead–not really knowing what she would do. It wasn’t until her fourth year of University when her mother sent her Coach Yourself to Success and she took my seminars and Phone Classes that she started to think that coaching would be the career for her. As soon as she graduated she then enrolled in not one, but two of the best coach training programs and is now coaching young people to find their passion in life and working with African street children to create a movie. Her vision– to bring coaching into education and her big future goal is to become a talk show host on TV. I fully believe that she’ll do it.
Quinn never waits for the future and instead does what she wants to do now. If it doesn’t work out, she tries something else. Sometimes it has been difficult. She was coaching 9-5pm in London and then looking after an elderly disabled man in the evenings in order to afford to live. Her life has been a process of experimentation and as a result, she has found her passion in life at a very young age and has already started three businesses that she loves.
What was the shift for you?
Something you said in the Coach Yourself to Success Phone Class has stuck with me: ‘You have to give yourself the life you want before you have it.’ You suggested starting with something as simple as hiring a house cleaner before you are rich. Living the future that you want now.
What was the best outcome from your career transition?
I love Mondays! I have no idea what opportunities and people will come in a week. I make my week happen. I decide what happens. And I love coaching! I’m filled up with energy after a coaching call. I love my life and I love being me.
How did you overcome your fear for change?
I’m a risk-taker. At 11 years old I realized that I wasn’t ‘cool’ because I was trying to be like everyone else. I stopped trying to be like everyone else and I became ‘cool’ and suddenly everyone wanted to be my friend. Stop worrying so much what other people think or about what is going to happen. We are all afraid of something. Get over it. You only have one chance. Life is precious. You can be afraid. Take a step. Dip your toe in the outside of your comfort zone. Treat your scary, uncomfortable place like a pool and slowly work your way into it. Don’t get out. Stay in it. I didn’t start out being a good networker. I was a bit scared going in and didn’t know what I was doing. You’ll never know unless you try. Just stick a toe in.
What’s personal advice you’d like to give others who also want to transition in their career?
I genuinely believe that everyone has a purpose, a unique talent. Everyone has a dream even if it is buried. It’s there. The only way to find it is to spend time looking for it. I spent hours thinking about who I am. I was always reflecting on experiences. So many of us look outside of ourselves for the answer. We need to look within ourselves. You already know it. Ask yourself, ‘What is my dream?’
Excerpted from Coach Yourself to a New Career: 7 Steps to Reinventing Your Professional Life by Talane Miedaner (McGraw-Hill, April 2010). Order the book.