From Head Hunter to Executive Coach with Ann Mehl | Ep #27

September 6, 2022

From Head Hunter to Executive Coach with Ann Mehl | Ep #27 Ann Mehl is an Executive Coach. She coaches, speaks and writes about how to successfully navigate the ever-changing world of work. Ann’s background as an executive recruiter in the ‘90s led her quite naturally to “coaching” people in career transition. Since launching her […]

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The Second Act Success Career Blog features articles to help inspire you as you navigate your career journey. Plus, you'll find show notes from podcast guests who have shared second act success stories. My hope is that these quick reads will offer advice and comfort knowing you are not alone on your path towards second act success. xo - Shannon


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Ann Mehl

Ann Mehl, Executive Coach


From Head Hunter to Executive Coach with Ann Mehl | Ep #27

Ann Mehl is an Executive Coach. She coaches, speaks and writes about how to successfully navigate the ever-changing world of work. Ann’s background as an executive recruiter in the ‘90s led her quite naturally to “coaching” people in career transition. Since launching her own consulting company in 2005, Ann has coached men and women from all walks of life from CEOs of start- up companies,  senior leaders looking to gain a competitive edge, and others seeking to reinvent their careers. She is also a TEDx talk speaker and author of Painting with Scissors. Learn more about Ann and her journey on the Second Act Success Podcast. 

CONNECT with Ann Mehl:

website – www.annmehl.com

book – Painting with Scissors

Tedx Talk – TEDx talk “Paint Your Masterpiece.”


Profile of Success:

Degrees/Certification: Boston University

Career Milestones: TEDx talk “Paint Your Masterpiece” and book Painting with Scissors

Current Career Status: Executive Coach at www.annmehl.com

Future Plans: Give back and volunteer more

Advice: “Don’t go lonely meaning. I think some of us have a bit of a I’ll figure this out on my own mentality. And possibly a little worry about exposure, but it would be sad to think you’d have a more painful journey through the second act discovery if you told yourself you had to do it by yourself. Find help, find. Find someone who can, walk their early steps with you.”



0:00 – Intro

01:44 – Welcome

01:48 – College and Career beginnings

03:36- Quitting her first job

04:39 – Taking a job in recruiting

05:58 – Learning the inside of many businesses as a recruiter

08:00 – 9/11 and leaving recruiting to work at Citigroup

08:53 – Still feeling like working in corporate was not for her

10:30 – Getting her life coach certification from Martha Beck

12:15 – Trying to build a life coaching business in New York City 

13:40 – Entrepreneurs have moments of self-doubt

14:24 – Having thoughts that maybe she should go into education, even though she currently has a successful business. There is always room for self-doubt and room for change.

17:06 – Deciding to work as an Executive Coach helping employees at corporations

19:56 – Lucky to still be working throughout the pandemic. People need help of others now more than ever.

21:21 – Tips for people who want to start something new in their career

23:46 – Her TEDx talk

25:06 – Her book Painting with Scissors

26:25 – Advice on rewriting your own story

27:59 – Advice on working through change

29:26 – Trends in the work world today

30:43 – 5 Fast Qs of the Week

30:51 – What have these chapters in life taught you?

31:08 – Would you recommend a big life change?

31:49 – Advice for someone who is starting a second act

32:16 – What does next chapter look like for you?

33:01 – Connect with Ann Mehl

33:46 – Shannon’s takeaway from this conversation


Second Act Success Podcast
Season 1 -Episode #27 - Staffing to Executive Coach with Ann Mehl
Guest: Ann Mehl
Transcription (*created by Descript and may not be perfectly accurate)

[00:00:00] Ann Mehl: You're not alone. Don't go lonely meaning. I think some of us have a bit of a I'll figure this out on my own, mentality and possibly a little worry about exposure. but it would be sad to think you'd have a more painful journey through the second act discovery. If you told yourself you had to do it by yourself.

[00:00:20] Shannon: Are you at a crossroads in your career or in life? Well, don't worry because life's next chapter is waiting. This is the Second Act Success Podcast. I am your host Shannon Russell.

I'm a television producer, turned boy mom, turned business owner, podcaster, and career coach. If you are looking to start a new career or begin a fresh chapter in life, then get ready to be inspired with stories of women who have done just that. We will share advice and offer steps you can take to help figure out what your true calling in life really is.

It is time to [00:01:00] shine. So let's turn the page and get started.

Welcome to Second Act Success.

Ann Mehl is an executive coach. She is also an author and a Ted talk speaker I met Anne about four years ago when her son began taking classes at my other business Snapology I absolutely adore Ann and her family. So when I began this podcast, I knew I wanted to speak with Ann about the work she does as a coach. Not only does Anne have an interesting journey of self-discovery through her own career path, but now she helps others manage their career roles and their life a little bit better. Let's dive into the episode and get some advice from my friend

[00:01:44] Shannon Russell: Welcome Ann. Let's start from the beginning. Where did your story begin Ann?

[00:01:48] Ann Mehl: School was Boston College for me and I graduated with a BS degree. Interestingly, I went to school for an accounting degree and that was because I thought that would be the safest. path [00:02:00] really to pay off my loans more so than because I felt a calling to accounting. But what I realized probably right in the 11th hour before graduating is that I am not an accountant. And that I was gonna be misdirected if I went to one of the big accounting firms. So I switched majors to marketing and then my first job out of school. Was where I had gotten an offer from the internship. I had Anderson Consulting, it was one of the big consulting shops. I had done this internship and thought, okay, this is a great, place to park myself because they've got all the trappings of. You can, have a long career there. You can jump into other things. So again, it was probably around safety and security pays well. They give you a stipend to pay for your suits and, reputable name I started there right after school. I was in the what's called C programming group. So process department, which meant I was coding, even though I was a marketing major and it felt again like ill fitting suit, kind of just like the accounting felt.[00:03:00] It didn't take me long to realize. I don't think I chose the right position here. Maybe I need to be in change management or human resources, but as it goes, I was slated for that role. They couldn't just switch me into some other group. I decided to leave and I was only in that job for maybe a month, a couple months, not long at all. They were shocked. but the internship did not resemble what the job was. I was getting the Sunday night blues, like where you're just not feeling great about the week ahead. And I thought, gosh, this is supposed to be honeymoon phase, sort of with, you know, getting a first job.

[00:03:35] Shannon Russell: Absolutely.

[00:03:36] Ann Mehl: It shouldn't be this heavy. I shouldn't be this worried. There's gotta be something else that fits better, but it was scary for me because I was diligent and I wanted to pay those loans off. I was living at home. But I was afraid of quitting and then having this college degree, no plan and having just egg on my face, like, you know, worked so hard. I called my mom from the lobby of Anderson Consulting in tears, [00:04:00] confessing that like, I wasn't sure what I was gonna do, but I'll get my MBA. And I'll, I'll like all this achieving notion. She's like, Annie, come home. And I was like, I was afraid to face off to the unknown. that's what I did. I went home and I got the paper out and I figured out, okay, we gotta figure this out now.

[00:04:15] Shannon Russell: You were working in Manhattan at that time.

[00:04:18] Ann Mehl: Yes, they had an office in New Jersey, so I'd work out of that. And then sometimes out of New York, too. The hardest part of that, I had to write that check back for the suits, you know, and I had already spent it and it was probably like a thousand bucks, but oh, I was like, ouch. You know, here we go. I was humbled by it and had to figure out, okay, I've gotta find a job.

[00:04:35] Shannon Russell: So that led you into your staffing job, is that right?

[00:04:39] Ann Mehl: Yes. And I saw an ad posted. And it said simply this, if you think you're a superstar call Richard Johnson and they had the phone number and I was like, this is sneaky betcha, this isn't a job job. They're just trying to grab your attention. So I called the number to call them out on, you shouldn't do this cuz we're college kids or whatever my plea was [00:05:00] and he said, you know, you're. This is a staffing agency and the truth is we're hiring for the staffing agency. So come in and let's talk. I took a leap of faith, went in. I've got nothing to lose, wore my suit.

yeah. And, once I landed, I realized, oh, they staff people in tech and finance. It was the.com boom, of like 1995. I thought this is different here. Still felt a little strange, cuz it was a hundred percent commissioned. So it was a sales job and I didn't feel like I had sales DNA in me, but I really truly was like, I've got nothing to lose. So I started in recruiting and it was, a funny place to be post college cuz you don't go to school to become a head hunter but that's what I did. I cut my teeth in that space making cold calls. Trying to figure out who had needs and then how do I make matches for people to jobs? It was great training ground for a lot of different things, but hard, hard to survive.

[00:05:51] Shannon Russell: You probably learned about so many different industries and different roles and different careers that were even out there that you might not have known about.

[00:05:58] Ann Mehl: You're right. One thing that that [00:06:00] job does is it gives you a view into the market. you're asking questions all day long to people. You're getting a pulse on, where there's an uptick in the market and for what type of person and you're understanding all different walks of life and people's portfolios. There's a lot of folks out there that are not right. Aligned similar to what I felt, which was like, I don't know where I belong, where I'm in the middle of two things. Lots of. Existential questions that came my way through that role. Because as I tried to learn the job, I got to hear where they zigged when they should have zagged or when they thought about a certain degree or they're looking to me for advice. I gravitated towards the startup space because it was exciting and people were building businesses off the back of napkins and getting funding for it. And there were new jobs that never existed before. And I. Found that fun to be a part of building those kinds of companies. Eventually once I built a reputation business came my way and it started to make sense like, oh, I [00:07:00] do this well, I was at recruiting for years, almost nine and a half years. Trying to figure out, how to build a base and have clients that were mine. I wasn't the top biller, but I had the biggest heart mm-hmm so I was the person who, even though I wasn't paid for it, I invited everybody up to the office to talk to me and tell me their story, because I felt like I could be in their shoes. And when you're in between jobs or you feel lost or you're stuck and no one cares, or you don't know where to go with. That makes it even worse. But if you have a person you can tell it to, or somebody that you trust, like they say, how about we talk on Tuesday and you have a plan for Tuesday when you're in that abyss of, I don't know what to do. It feels comforting. So I think that was a little glimpse into, I'm not cutthroat enough to stay in head hunting. There's something about this consulting or counseling piece that I I'm more built for.

[00:07:55] Shannon Russell: What made you make the leap out of that? Because from there you went to work at [00:08:00] Citigroup?

[00:08:00] Ann Mehl: When 9/11 hit, it took down a lot of our big anchor clients we had to scale back. So it was probably a timing thing of time to go. So that's what the Citi Group opportunity was. I knew someone who was lovely enough to extend an offer to me, and also, I thought I wanna be behind the desk of like in industry and feel like I could say I understand business from that perspective. So it was odd of a move, but it was to give me a chance at doing what was then institutional sales. For the Middle East region for CitiGroup Asset Management so finance, I was probably a terrible fit to be honest with you. But I said, yes, cuz I was like, let me try this for a bit. It didn't fit on like a glove, but I did learn a lot,

[00:08:41] Shannon Russell: Right. you use some of your experience from college, as far as the finance part of it goes, and then you are getting that opportunity to be inside of the corporation. A different angle. So it's a learning experience again.

[00:08:53] Ann Mehl: With a head hunter, you're a bit shallow, you have the business speak, but you know, just about this much about all the different companies. So [00:09:00] going deep into a business, I felt like I could deeply talk about. Portfolios and business. But I still, wasn't a finance person, which is funny. I almost don't have a left brain. Again, this is like a great, example of you would've thought maybe by. Realizing accounting. Isn't my jam that I would've known what I wanted to be when I grew up sooner. And I was still unsure. So I was plagued by, yet again, a decision here that still doesn't feel like it's so heartedly me. So I think it's either one of two things. I'm a questioner and I'm curious, and I'm not afraid to look at myself. And, or I'm one of those types who didn't know when they were two years old, that they wanted to be an engineer and then followed that track all the way to the same job forever. I'm just kind of try things out. So I was like, I gotta pay attention to this. It's not where I light up. Right. And I have to admit that to myself. The turn of events, there is Luke Mason took over Citgroup Asset Management Group and during that acquisition, I was let go. The timing was probably perfect because you [00:10:00] start to realize your own truth and you say, you know, I think it's time for me to figure out what's next.

I will say recruiting. There was a piece of it that worked for me so I was trying to isolate. As you say, like lift the cream off the top of what you think you like the most mm-hmm and try to just stay right there. And that stay right there. Thing was the, the people aspect of it, the counseling, the cheerleading kind of being a spar partner for people. And that's what I started to, to notice and then try to pursue in the coaching realm

[00:10:30] Shannon Russell: so you went and got a certification at that time?

[00:10:32] Ann Mehl: I did. By an author whose name is Martha Beck, who had written a book I had read and I loved her style. She has this thing called Polaris, which was a life coaching certificate. And I was so curious about it. I probably looked at the registration requirements to become a life coach more than once. finally, I just said, there's a reason you're drawn to this. There's something here. I don't know what it means to be a professional life coach, but go on and try it so. That's what I did is I pursued that [00:11:00] certificate we all met with Martha. It was 20 of us. It was out in Utah, the training, it was a weekend course. And by the time you were done with the three days, she blessed you and sent you into the world and said, you are all coaches now. Best of luck. That's the beginnings of my leap of faith into coaching to figure out, okay, how do I do this? Build a business around.

[00:11:19] Shannon Russell: When I think of Martha Beck, I think of Oprah, she's such a big name in this world. So just having a little bit of her that weekend must have been amazing and inspiring

[00:11:28] Ann Mehl: she's fantastic too. Because what she did is she did demystifies that there's this like PhD, you need to. To go do great things in the world. And she has three degrees from Harvard. So here's a person who basically says everything you're gonna need to know to do this work. I'm gonna give to you full stop right now. And we're gonna get to it. That's definitely the first time I finally felt like. These are my people. Mm. I hadn't felt that with the other jobs I mean, in college, I sat in on nursing classes. I sat in on school of education, the masters in social [00:12:00] work. I sat in on classes there kept trying on for size different things to see it. Is this me, is this me? And then with this group, the conversation was around psychology and it was around the helping component. And I was like, there's so many elements of this. I just lap it up. I love it. So yes, you're right. Got back to New York. And then the sober reality is how do I survive off this as a calling? It wasn't as popular, uh, then as it is now so then I went on a path to figure out how do you build a business around coaching? Because skills are one thing, but actually paying your mortgage is another. So, I had to figure out my brand around it, like, who do I serve? How do I price it? How many people do I need to survive in a, in a year's time.

[00:12:43] Shannon Russell: In Manhattan. Yeah.

[00:12:45] Ann Mehl: exactly I would just talk with everybody I could, I call it the, get smart, you know, you had to, you had to get out there and do some your own marketing to figure out what's the north star here. Like, what am I trying to achieve in this business? It took me over three years [00:13:00] to do that. And I say that. Sometimes you try things out and people tell you standard quotes, like three years, it'll take you. You'll be good. I remember hitting the three year mark and still feeling like I'm not there yet. Uhoh but it did eventually. I. When you're on your own journey and you're maybe isolated, you could really get down on yourself. So I still had that challenge with building the coaching is like, it didn't prove out a hundred percent that it was gonna be profitable until I turned a corner and found a way.

[00:13:30] Shannon Russell: I love that you kept on that journey though. That those three really long years, plus you stayed on it cuz you could have easily cashed it in and gone back to an office job.

[00:13:40] Ann Mehl: Some other entrepreneurs would probably say this. I work with a lot of them now that on even one given day, sometimes you find yourself on LinkedIn going hmmm Do I even have a resume? you know, did I send it for that job because it's tough to go it alone and to build your own, you appreciate that, you know? You [00:14:00] say, oh boy, maybe the easier route is to just be on somebody else's payroll and disappear into the abyss of the work world. But then you come back to the values, like, what's the why, why did I do this in the first place? And what was the thing I was felt was I was longing for and I missed, and I would come back to that a lot because I, truly wanted more autonomy and freedom, and I really wanted to see the impact firsthand of my work.

I was thinking of this too, though. Shannon. Cause I think about your audience there. The other day I was driving in the car and I was thinking about, how I had tried some school of ed classes. Like desire and children's learning and my own kids. So, I thought, I wonder why I never really pursued teaching so I share that because it didn't mean I pulled the car over and like applied to, a school to become a teacher. I'm always open to the fact that timing is everything and you need to make an investment and really try things on for size before, you know, fully is it the right thing or not the right path? I was just noticing that there are probably some elements [00:15:00] that in another life are given more time if I decided to pivot. Maybe there's something more to that that I never saw in myself that if I gave myself some research it could feel as rewarding as the thing I'm doing now. So I leave room there. For the questioning. I don't know that I'm ever with so much conviction, certain that there's just this one role. I could sound confident that I've built this business and I've got this good thing going, and I'm very pleased with myself. And at the same time, sometimes I wonder about different paths still, you know, about things you can do that make a difference in the world that might be, possible and still out there.

[00:15:37] Shannon Russell: And I think you have all the time in the world to do that, to pivot. Once again, down the road, it's nice to always keep that in the back of your mind, if there is something, you are kind of teaching in what you're doing now, in a sense, you're consulting, you're talking with your clients. You're not telling them what to do, but you are that teacher mentor to them. So it is innate in you.

[00:15:57] Ann Mehl: Yeah. There's the behavioral piece is present, [00:16:00] whether it's with adults mostly. And the same would probably be my leanings towards school as I'd wanna work on kids and behavior in your brain. And mm-hmm So it's probably translates across. but I agree. It's like almost a poking at what story am I telling myself? Limiting story. Ah, it's not worth it, or I don't have the energy or what will people say? Do I have an affinity? Why not pursue it? Sometimes when you're in a place of uncertainty, we're not, feeling grounded. You imagine everybody else is there. And I think lots of us question things, even if you've got the setup or the trappings that, you know, your stuff.

[00:16:36] Shannon Russell: Right.

[00:16:37] Ann Mehl: So it's like wrong turns getting in the white water and feeling beat up about like a job that I was terrible at or like great way to figure out what your passion is, is like, Just fumble fumble here, fumble there, you know, and you'll, you'll kind of like leave and maybe find a way out and that'll be the thing that you're doing.

[00:16:56] Shannon Russell: You're right. Every roadblock just leads you to somewhere else. It's [00:17:00] just a matter of putting on your mindset to kind of see that and realize it's a, it's a good thing. It's an opportunity.

[00:17:06] Ann Mehl: Mm-hmm


[00:17:06] Shannon Russell: Talk to me, about working kind of as an executive coach now.

[00:17:09] Ann Mehl: I started as a life coach, meaning I would have people pay me directly to help them with their goal setting. so sometimes they were in transition with a job, meaning they lost their job. They want a new one, or they didn't wanna do the career they were doing, but they, they didn't know how to start with baby steps in terms of launching something. So we had to create, you know, a plan there.

[00:17:29] Shannon Russell: Did you finally feel like this was where you needed to be?

[00:17:32] Ann Mehl: If I asked myself this question, what do I wanna be? When I grow up one more time, someone I'll have to examine my head. I thought I've been wandering and wondering for so long to find a combination of elements of a role that's most me that yeah, very refreshing.

And then I realized , I didn't have an extravagant life, but I did have to pay the bills of that condo in New York. I had to have a lot of clients and it was hourly. So I was starting to do the math and [00:18:00] realizing this is gonna be hard on me. I could burn out if I'm trying to sustain. So I realized, you know, there's this emerging thing where businesses are retaining coaches to work with their top high potential people. I think that might be better because obviously companies pay more, it doesn't hurt their, bank account as much because they call it professional development. So I turned my attention to marketing myself as that person. And I t ruly was doing the same thing with the people. So instead of saying life, coach, I was an executive coach, I will say what helped was I worked in industry. That built some creds, cuz people see Citigroup and they say, okay, you're not just, making this up, you know something about the professional world, but my targets became bigger companies. Discovery Channel was my first company and I was retained by them to work with their executives and then. I continued on that path by just really leveraging the names of some of the companies that hired me to find others. I would get hired by the business to work with a top performer, maybe their [00:19:00] CEO, maybe somebody in their executive team. Here's a person to talk to, to figure your stuff out, to get through the best practices of how to manage your team. And we'll check in and see how it's going, that's where I carved a niche and then it grew into, a lot of high growth I'll call it VC funded startup companies. you can imagine, sometimes those have young management. There's a lot at stake because they have to grow a team and they have to prove results. So they definitely need a support line. And that's where I started to get a lot of phone calls from the investors to introduce me to their founders or from founders who knew me, worked with me and shared my name amongst others. So, since 2005, that's where I've had a, a little sweet spot Companies are acknowledging it as a real thing that people need for themselves. As they try to do the thing called work.

[00:19:52] Shannon Russell: Yeah. They're putting money into it in their budgets and that's, that's wonderful.

[00:19:56] Ann Mehl: It's remarkable that I've been able to own my own [00:20:00] business, even through the markets, the way they've been, and even through the pandemic, you could easily have been out of a job during the pandemic. Yet this is one of those because it's working with individuals and, and we gotta just make sure we have a direct line to one another, that I could do it from home. If anything coaching's even more needed now, if you pull in mental health into the equation and the overwhelm that people feel there's more and more individuals asking for help. That's meaningful to me because if I didn't maybe have that feeling, I might feel like what's next. But there's, there's always room for growth in the work. I think, cuz I've gotta live it to give it. I've gotta work on myself in order to show up for people.

[00:20:39] Shannon: Hey, it's Shannon. I just wanted to pop in real quick and let you know about a special freebie that's now available on my website. think you're ready to start a second act. I created a freebie that will help. It's my Second Act Blueprint with five questions that you should ask yourself before you make this massive decision. To check it out, go to secondactsuccess.co to [00:21:00] download the Second Act Blueprint for free. Now it's back to the episode.

[00:21:05] Shannon Russell: Second act success is all about people who wanna transition to something that will be more fulfilling to them, or they might have an idea of trying to get to a new type of career, a new role at the company, whatever it might be to make them happier. And You've been through it. I've been through it.

[00:21:21] Shannon: What tips would you give to someone who is kind of at that point of being ready to leap into something new?

[00:21:26] Ann Mehl: If someone is at the precipice of saying, okay, I don't think the thing I'm doing fits me I wanna do something else. And they're not sure of the something. I might do an assessment with them as a first start but sometimes just going back to some strengths helps you get some, some bearings as to what's most you at this point, or even a work values exercise. That's helpful because our values change over time. And sometimes your top five values are different than they were 20 years ago. So let's get those in order without any influence without any job in front of you. I call it like an [00:22:00] excavation kind of phase where you're kind of trying to get some clearing as to like, what is the makeup or the elements or the ingredient. I'll call it like fact finding. how do we get smart on any industry or career? I think you've got to talk to lots of people who are doing that thing, and that may mean lots of coffees, lunches, just conversations. you won't know if that's the company you wanna keep, if you don't get intimate with what the work requires. So I just think you've gotta get real and spend a lot of time, getting up close with what's required we might have chatted about this, but when you're looking at franchises to purchase one, for instance, or partner with one, you've got a top to bottom, understand everything from a day in the life to what are the real finances here what's required for the investment? What am I looking at in terms of. Return on this after a year. So I encourage people to like, you've gotta go fishing and you gotta get Intel, or you we're just walking through a conversation that's based on assumptions. So those might be two first things I'd say, if they're thinking about doing something different.

If you feel shy about enlisting or [00:23:00] paying a coach straight away, there's lots of books and exercises online. One is called Design Your Life Course. There's lots of ways to do that. Excavation fact finding piece without enlisting a coach. Just like you would say, oh, I I'm thinking about running a race and. I am on the couch and I don't know where to start with the first mile. When you join a running group, you have more of an ooph to actually show up for the training. The same way with a coach, a coach is gonna hold you accountable. It's gonna, give you things to do homework, and it gives you a bit of, um, a jump start.

[00:23:33] Shannon Russell: I'd love to talk about your Ted Talk I loved listening and watching it. So many nuggets of inspiration, and I just wanna hear about that experience being asked to, to speak. And you were in the Netherlands.

[00:23:46] Ann Mehl: That's right? Yep. It was kind of early days for the TEDx. Talk. So it's not the big Ted stage, but it, it is a Ted Talk, nonetheless. You know, I loved it because it gave me a voice around some of the things I was already. [00:24:00] Sharing with folks which were, classic learnings for founders and for entrepreneurs. So I, I backed into sort of my top 10 tips and things. I see that get in the way of our best laid plans. I called it, Paint Your Masterpiece because I think Kind of what we're talking about, which is like, there isn't ever a really good time. You've gotta like take your step forward. When, when you think it's your time to do that. I talked about the execution is the key that if you hold back on an idea, because you think, someone else has already done it, or, perhaps you're too late to the game, at the end of it, the, the person who gets the funding or the person who gets backed is usually the person who makes inroads quicker. Execution is the key, not just the idea. And there's a few other nuggets in there that probably could, apply not just to entrepreneurs, but to other business folks. It was great. I mean, I, I faced my own fears in getting up there and, trying to, synthesize what my opinion is, what I see as [00:25:00] inspirational, and getting beyond fears really.

[00:25:02] Shannon Russell: What about your book? You're also the author of Painting With Scissors. Tell us all about it.

[00:25:06] Ann Mehl: I started to write, what I call a newsletter, which was a monthly piece that I would send to clients. something like I'd be mulling on after a client session. I feel like a square peg in a round hole in this job, it doesn't feel right aligned to me. Or I wanna start this side hustle this business, and I have fears what's happening with that. so I would unpack the theme, usually kept it to about 800 words or so. And I decided after hearing from a few of the readers, you should write a book And I thought, let me compile this into a book. So it essentially is that it's the newsletters over time, kind of the best of try to group them according to best practices for interviewing, finding yourself, like getting to the core of why you're stuck. My partner is a writer Mark. So thank God for him because he is the editor and it wouldn't be, it wouldn't sound as good as it does without him. yeah, We came together and put it in book form. And I think it's also helping to turn down the volume that there's like a path [00:26:00] that's right. It's lessons learned, but it's really about showing people what I hear behind closed doors, so that they don't feel like they're the only ones trying to figure things out.

[00:26:09] Shannon Russell: It's a wonderful read to just really bring you back in touch with what's important to you one of the things that you said, I wanna make sure I get it right. if you are not happy with your story, rewrite the story, kind of saying that you have the power to change what is not working in your life now, and to get you unstuck,

[00:26:25] Ann Mehl: I think when we're up close to a pain point, it feels like it's gonna devour us whole. So it's hard to look beyond that into the big meta of like what's going on. So sometimes I re. Chapters of people's lives to help them see that it's not the everything . And the rewrite your story is what story are you telling yourself about this situation you're in and what if you told it in a different way? What if you were free of it? What if you stopped story fondling the negative part of it? Cuz I think sometimes. We replay things so much that we actually enjoy hearing ourselves say it the same way. kind of breaking down a bit of [00:27:00] those, ruts to say, what, if you rewrote the story, what then sometimes if somebody is lost and they want a different future, I might do a letter to yourself exercise, which is getting them to really write the story. In present tense two years from now, write it as if it's, you're writing to your best friend and put in, in all the things that you're longing for. It's like, it's trying to change again, the scope of the narrow view into more of a, what, what if kind of possibilities view?

[00:27:28] Shannon Russell: That's gotta be so helpful. As far as entrepreneurs go, there's an analogy that you. Talked about where you compare entrepreneurs to cars. And I found that to be so interesting where you say, entrepreneurs are always bouncing off the walls with ideas. The trouble is an idea is not a plan. It's a car without an engine.

[00:27:48] Ann Mehl: Right.

[00:27:49] Shannon Russell: Are you finding that a lot with your clients and the executives that you work with that there's just so much going on that you have to kind of steer the ship a little bit, make it so that they can focus on what's at.

[00:27:59] Ann Mehl: Well, I [00:28:00] think we could all fall prey to this sometimes. With any endeavor, you wanna write a book or you wanna start a business or you're feverish about opening up a donut shop, whatever your thing is. You get busy with it, meaning you, you do those things. I talked about, you call some folks, you do a bit of research and then you find yourself on the blog. You're reading about the competitors and what they're doing, or you find yourself, looking at the investors and you get distracted by where you should be, or, what all the other folks are doing instead of just doing the traditional one foot in front of the other, like build up the shop. Rather than look across and. to the comparison game, stick with your knitting, you know, what are the things you need to do to, to, to get this going? Get back to your why, especially if you're gonna do a second act move, that is a total pivot to something. You've gotta really come back to the why, or you're gonna psych yourself out the whole way through, because you're gonna tell yourself, who am I to be here? Oh my gosh, I was an engineer before. Now I wanna be a cop or, oh my gosh. I'm [00:29:00] not academic. I used to do this other job and now I'm in this PhD program and wait a minute. There was a reason that I'm doing this what was that deep? Why. And hold fast to that. I think a lot of us need that help when you're trying to do brave things in the face of really big headwinds, and a short life span trying to make moves there. So I'm trying to like dispel the noise a lot for folks or trying to get them back onto the track that is their own. and you need help sometimes to do.

[00:29:26] Shannon Russell: Do you feel like right now you're seeing some trends in, people searching for jobs or searching for answers, through your clients.

[00:29:32] Ann Mehl: With the notions of the world of work that used to be, and now are different. All of a sudden we've had years of figuring and juggling. I think people are like, well, why don't I go to Paris now and move. If not now, when, we don't know this uncertain future and it's right up in my face, this idea of like, I have no control. They call, you know, the great resignation for a reason. I think it's been a reflective time for folks to really stare down some deep questions. They may not have paused to look at before. It [00:30:00] shakes things up. Plus there's also an unwillingness to play by certain. Rules of the road of traditional business, which is get in your car and commute two hours and do that because we're a big name, status company. It's like, eh, maybe I do it a different way and I do just fine. So it's a shake up for sure. I think people have lost a lot. So there's almost like I've got nothing to lose. Why not now? Sabbaticals are trendy and I think there's a reason for them. I think burnout is just everywhere. So what sabbaticals are is different for different businesses, but it's about regrouping and re-energizing, and trying to factor that in for what people need for their mental health. There's a whole new wave of doing things, I think. Yeah.

[00:30:43] Shannon: Alright. It's time for our Five Fast Qs of the Week. Here we go!

[00:30:48] Shannon Russell: Name one thing that these different chapters in your life have taught you.

[00:30:51] Ann Mehl: Patience, patience with yourself. go gentle with yourself. That's a big, big part of it, and that's what I hope I bring to people is, a [00:31:00] pause. Just take a, take a deep breath here.

[00:31:03] Shannon Russell: Number two. Would you recommend taking a leap into a big life change to your best friend?

[00:31:08] Ann Mehl: Really great question. My initial gut is to say it depends. I think it depends on what the leap is. you'd think as a life coach career coach, I'd be like, absolutely follow your passion, follow your dreams. I have my feet on the ground too though. And I think what I'd want is yes, dream it out. also do the work. I'm a big cheerleader for folks and I'm the last person to say, play it safe. I also believe that there are hours behind people's pivots and change of life, there are hours of research, reading, talking, so I think that has to be in parallel with it.

[00:31:44] Shannon Russell: What is one piece of advice that you would give someone who is trying to start their second act today?

[00:31:49] Ann Mehl: you're not alone. And I would also say. don't go lonely meaning. I think some of us have a bit of a I'll figure this out on my own, mentality and [00:32:00] possibly a little worry about exposure. but it would be sad to think you'd have a more painful journey through the second act discovery. If you told yourself you had to do it by yourself. Find help, find. Find someone who can, walk their early steps with you.

[00:32:16] Shannon Russell: what does the next. Look like for you, Ann.

[00:32:19] Ann Mehl: Let's see. I think about, the give back piece a lot. as a mom and as a soul, bread winner, I am very much in the business. And so you wouldn't find me. let's say off hours running a foundation, volunteering as much as I'd like to. So I think the next phase of like, where I give back would be in some ways, investing in. or volunteering in causes just like I did with GIrls on the Run there when I had a stint and had time for it, right now, I'm pretty brass tax. I, I work very hard and then I try to be present for my family. But I see this like little piece of the mosaic of giving some more life to, charity in any way that I [00:33:00] can extend myself to others.

[00:33:01] Shannon Russell: Where can our audience connect with you?

[00:33:04] Ann Mehl: My site is my name, so that's probably the best way to either reach out to me directly, or to sign up for the newsletter. so it's annmehl.com

[00:33:12] Shannon Russell: Anne, thank you so much for sharing your story and your advice. It's been so eye opening to hear your perspective as a coach. And I thank you for taking the time to share your advice with our listeners.

[00:33:22] Ann Mehl: You're welcome. I wanna thank you, Shannon, because you are such a special part of my family, mosaic, in what you do. And where you put your attention that I find you really inspiring. I was on the ready for any ask you had today, cuz I just, I love what you're all about. And I'll give you a virtual pat on the back for starting this podcast. I think it's really great.

[00:33:41] Shannon Russell: That means so much to me. I appreciate it. And I love your family so much. So thank you.

[00:33:46] Shannon: Don't go lonely. Now that is some powerful advice that I am walking away with from this talk today. I agree with Anne wholeheartedly, that forging our way through the work world is a struggle. No matter how you look at it. It's a world of self doubt, self [00:34:00] discovery. And a lot of times it's a world of loneliness. If you think about it. We can take advice from friends and family all day long, but at the end of the day, we are by ourselves on that job interview. It's our name alone on that resume. We leave school with a plan and man, can that plan change so many times? Ann's story is a great example of listening to your heart. And when it doesn't feel right. Make that change and keep going until you find that place that fits you, that place, that feels right. I think it's impressive that Ann now gets to help others feel confident in their roles. When she was once in their shoes feeling incredibly unsure. We can all use help. We can all use someone to talk to whether we are just starting out in our career. Or we're an executive at the top of a Fortune 500 company. It's important for us to remember that we are not alone. There are people out there to help. If you would like to connect with an go to an Well, that's it for now, but I'm looking forward to chatting on the next episode. Have a [00:35:00] wonderful day. My friend.

Thank you for joining us. I hope you found some gems of inspiration and some takeaways to help you on your path to Second Act Success. To view show notes from this episode, visit secondactsuccess.co. Before you go, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast. So you don't miss a single episode. Reviews only take a few moments and they really do mean so much. Thank you again for listening. I am Shannon Russell, and this is Second Act Success.



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