Changing your work-life to welcome more freedom and fulfillment is a process and a journey. Here, every month, we share stories of women who are doing it. Real stories, real transformation. This is a virtual treasure chest — filled with the challenges, struggles, lessons and insights of others — which you can use to enrich your own path.
This month’s featured “woman on purpose” is Renee Dineen, a former organizational change leader who left her corporate role after 20 years in senior HR and leadership roles to launch her own coaching and consulting practice.
Describe the big shift you’ve made in your work-life. What led you to that change?
I always knew that one day I would go out on my own. Part of my calling was about rebalancing — changing the energy and flow of my day-to-day life. I am deeply grateful for my career, the expertise I chose and the companies, clients and people I had the honor to work with. But I was tired, and knew that my life’s work was not on the inside (within the corporate world). For the first few months I have to admit, the change in pace was challenging. While I yearned for a slower, more organic way of being and working, it took me a while to adjust.
That said, I have been busy! Since closing my corporate chapter in October 2015 I am halfway through an advanced coaches training through the Deep Coaching Institute and was accepted to attend the first WisdomWomen gathering at Esalen retreat center in Big Sur in January. I remain deeply committed to supporting a dynamic group of active coaching clients and am still supporting several strategic changes at Genentech with a few exciting projects brewing in other industries. As an avid traveler, I also experienced the joy of a 3-week holiday through Asia with my family — without the worry of the thousands of emails piling up in my inbox.
Prior to leaving corporate life, I had already been dedicating a good amount of time to writing. My family and I are avid travelers and in December 2014 I started to capture what I now refer to as travel ‘moments’. To write them has become a personal practice of mindfulness — a way to remind me of the awareness I held during each precious moment, forgive myself for mistakes, and to celebrate life’s journey.
I launched my family travel blog in November 2015. The inspiration to put these writings into the world is about shedding light on the topic of family travel, a decision that undeniably opens up different doors to the world — a world that even those who don’t travel have a deep desire to understand.
So what is different? My freedom and choice. After a long and rich career, I have earned the right to do my life’s work, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
What were you most fearful of in making that change?
My fear was first and foremost about not succeeding. I had spent 20 good and long years working on ‘the inside’ (as part of large organizations in the corporate world). My worth, identity, ambition, fulfillment, learning… were all tested in an environment I knew and trusted. I knew how to be successful in that context, and I was. So the narrative running through my head during the months I truly explored the decision to go out on my own, was mostly about that. Could I, would I, should I… be successful on my own?
How is your experience of life different now?
The most notable difference for me is in my day-to-day flow. Where I put my energy, and the pace and intensity of effort I put into the world. Corporate life is dynamic and enriching in so many ways. It can also deplete you in equal or greater proportion. I wouldn’t change a single experience I had, learning I gained, or relationship I developed... and even though life is long, at a certain point I had to decide what else I wanted to contribute and how I could best step into that.
What’s your biggest concern in this moment?
I have a heart for so many things, always have. So one of my biggest concerns is about focus. I know what meaningful work is for me, and even have a sense for what meaningful work I could offer to the world. The question is… what and by when? Will my decision pay off, and can I be patient enough to realize it?
What are you most excited about going forward?
Oh my gosh, all of it! While I am currently only a few months into what I am calling Chapter 2, I am wholly confident not only in my decision to transition from corporate life to my own practice, but the possibilities feel endless. I compassionately believe that the universe responds to your wishes and dreams always, but it is the quality of listening that ultimately determines what wish is manifested.
If you could travel back in time, what’s one piece of advice that your current self wishes that you could tell your former self?
Early in my career I had the blessing of having what I still refer to as my ‘best boss’. When I was 25 years old she told me, “you can have it all Renee, just not all at the same time”. That advice has guided me in different ways over the years. I wish I could have understood the meaning of this advice even earlier in my life. I might not have sacrificed so much energy, and sleep over the years!
About Renee Dineen
Renee is a wife, mom of two elementary-age kids, coach and consultant, and group facilitator. Today, with more freedom and choice, she is also a speaker, writer, traveler and family travel blogger.
Professionally, she is internationally known and trained as a coach and consultant with over 20 years of experience. She has built leadership and organizational capability in almost 40 countries in the hi-tech, bio-tech and pharmaceutical industries. She is deeply committed to motivating and empowering passionate and competent people to lead, collaborate and mobilize others with greater purpose and impact.
In October 2015, she achieved an important life goal by launching her own coaching and consulting practice out of California. In her free time, she and her family are fueled by our passion for travel, which includes 34 countries and counting. Inspired by these experiences, she is writing a book she hopes will expand some of the limiting paradigms that keep parents from traveling with children. Her blog on the topic can be found at http://www.travelmomentswithkids.com.