Success Story: Student Starts Her Own Charity
This success story focuses on a student client of mine.
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 , and coach at, The Stepping Up Program. This program coaches 16 to 24 year-olds. She is 24 years old and unstoppable now that she has found her real passion in life.
Quinn thought she wanted to be a photographer. In fact, it was her passion. Photography was something she was great at it, she loved it, and she was certain it would become her career. She took a job taking still photographs on a TV show. However, in one week, she knew it wasn’t enough for her. She realized instead that she needed to help people.
Success story take-away #1: you don’t know whether something is truly your passion until you try it.
After her experience in photography, Quinn thought she was supposed to become a social worker. She was convinced that was the career for her. So, she studied social work at University and started working with very poor families in Scotland. It depressed her. It wasn’t just the poverty that depressed her. What depressed her the most was knowing that no matter what she did, it wasn’t enough. So, 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.
Then, in her fourth year of University, her mother sent her Coach Yourself to Success. She also did my audio programs. As she worked through the material, she started to think that coaching could be the career for her.
So, upon graduation, she enrolled in two of the best coach training programs (Coachville.com and CoachU). Now, she coaches young people to find their passion in life. She is also working with African street children to create a movie. Her vision is to bring coaching into education. Her big future goal is to become a TV talk show host. I fully believe that she’ll do it.
Quinn never waits for the future. Instead, she does what she wants to do now. If it doesn’t work out, she tries something else. Sometimes it is difficult. Her life is a process of experimentation. As a result, she found her passion in life at a very young age. And she started three businesses that she loves!
Success story take-away #2: don’t wait for the future–do it now!
This success story makes me smile every time I think about it. So, I later asked Quinn the following questions.
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, and 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.