Rob Fellows: From Technology Consultant to Parent Care/Life Coach.
Why did you step back from full-time employment (or make your latest transition)?
Personal, professional, and family upheavals caused me to look deeply at who I am and what was important to me. After 30 years in Silicon Valley working with technology companies, I was burned out. I found the work deadening and without true connection to either others or my energetic self. I was lucky enough to afford the time and expense of returning to school and doing my “inner work.” Through that process I have found more enlivening work that is about helping others. It is also about giving back for all those who have offered their wisdom and presence to me.
What surprised you most about the transition?
Although I went back to school for a new degree and certifications, I was surprised to find that who I am has not changed. Even though my professional identity might change, by doing more of what I want to do, I have more of myself to discover and share.
What are you doing now?
I provide life coaching and guidance to adult children, spouses, and families who are dealing with the challenges of a loved one’s significant aging and end-of-life. I also coach individuals through life transitions focusing on developing new levels of personal leadership.
How did you decide to pursue these opportunities?
I tried many things including volunteering, workshops, and personal creative work. Before long I realized that my previous work had me isolated and narrowly focused while working directly with people one-on-one or in small groups was more deeply engaging for me. I set out to study depth psychology and explore becoming a marriage and family therapist. This was a long way from my undergrad in physics, but it became clear the two are connected for me. During this time my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and I chose to be a witness to myself, him in his final chapter, and my family’s experience. After he passed, I realized there was a significant need everyone has in dealing with the complexities of parent care and it was exactly what I had been working toward without knowing it: to develop a coaching practice to support this need.
What advice would you give to someone in the same circumstances?
Follow the spark. There is something that sparks for you inside and you enjoy engaging with it. Follow that. Don’t think about managing your transition to a particular end-point. Rather, explore and find the things that don’t work for you as well as those that do and keep following the spark. Through this keep developing your personal leadership. That is, keep looking deeper at how you can best discover and manage your life energy. It needs leadership from you to be brought forward and develop your presence in the world. Start small, but start now.
Special: Given your vast experience both professionally and personally, do you have a top 5 or 10 list of things that you would tell people if they would like to follow in your footsteps or follow a similar path?
-Start small, where you are at right now.
-Utilize opportunities in your community through churches, schools, and meetups.
-Practice listening at every opportunity.
-Start a creative practice that keeps you engaged.
-Stay open to your inner work.
-Regularly engage all of you, mind, body, and spirit so you can listen with all of you.
-Get whatever accreditation you need as fast as possible. Don’t waste any time finding the best.
For more information about being a life coach, check out our Amava Spotlight.
Rob is an Amava Member and a contributor to Amava and the Amava Post.