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May 12

A Personal Update

I started this particular blog as a place to share my thoughts about innovation in higher education. Over time, I began posting more on positive psychology and encore careers, which became increasingly important to me, both as subjects of study and as areas that support my work as an executive coach. Indeed, although I enjoy all sorts of coaching connections, working with people in a career or life transition is the most satisfying.

I stopped posting several months ago. The biggest reason was that I needed to complete work on my book, Out on a Limb: A Branch Campus Life. I chose to publish independently, through CreateSpace, on Amazon, and I’m glad that I went that route. However, it did require working with an editor and a book designer to get to the point of publication, and then I needed to do my own marketing, to make the relevant audience aware of my work.

I see Out on a Limb as a sort of career capstone for me. I have a unique history with branch campuses, and I wanted to write about my experiences and offer my perspective. I hope the book is helpful to readers, but for me, at least at times, it felt like an anchor around my neck. Interestingly (at least to me), as publication came closer, the whole experience became increasingly positive and even exciting.

It felt good to complete a major “post-retirement” project, although I don’t really consider myself to be retired. When I saw the cover design, I was thrilled, and when I held the proof in my hands, it was extremely satisfying. Feedback has been positive, and I’m so pleased that my “story” resonated for the readers who enjoyed the book enough to get in touch. I’m also pleased that it generated a few speaking and consulting opportunities, because I do hope to stay engaged in the branch camps world.

Nevertheless, completing the book left me feeling that it is time to become more intentional about new directions, tied to my interests in coaching, positive psychology, and the encore stage of life. As it happened, during this period, my mother passed away, and that loss brought a number of changes, not to mention an inclination to be more introspective and to reconsider my priorities. Three years into “retirement,” it is good to review and tweak decisions made when I entered the encore stage.

I don’t know how often I’ll post here, but I would like to identify a new writing project, and I may use the blog to sort out a few ideas and see whether or not they move me in any particular direction. My plate is as full as ever, it seems: I want to continue consulting in higher education, and I definitely would like to add a few coaching clients. (If you are interested in working with me, please get in touch!) I love opportunities to speak at conferences, facilitate meetings and participate in professional conversations. In the encore stage my commitments to family, friends, exercise, and other interests are a high priority, meaning that I have to make an effort to preserve time for writing. As I’ve said before, I’m living the dream and thoroughly enjoying the journey.