What happens when there’s a plot twist in your career story?

career advancement career advice career alignment nail it! Jan 06, 2022
Karen coaching a variety of business people

Early on in the pandemic, I was faced with my own career story cliffhanger.


Like many professionals in 2020, my traditional way of business development and networking had dramatically shifted.

As the world temporarily closed its borders, I pressed pause and did what I often do when I’m asking myself big questions — I journaled. I walked in nature. And I talked to a few of my trusted coaching Guides and Gurus.

I was contemplating stepping back from my leadership coaching work to focus more exclusively on my fiction writing career. I had an award-winning manuscript waiting to be published and the support of my husband. I had story ideas stacked upon story ideas. I was tired after spending two decades doing both leadership coaching and fiction writing. Maybe it was time to choose.

I shared my thoughts with one of my Guides. She replied, in her Long Island accent: “Karen, I just attended a webinar where the speaker suggested that as people navigate the aftermath of this pandemic, we have a moral obligation to sell to people if we have something they need. Do you have something you feel morally obligated to sell, that could help people?”


I remember feeling momentarily deflated and annoyingly hooked.


I had hoped she was going to send me off to my writing cave, insist I block out the world and write another novel. Instead, she issued a challenge that got right at the core of why I do what I do — I optimize people’s career success.

“My Nail It program,” I replied, a bit begrudging. 

“Exactly. That can help a lot of people.”

“But I’ve only ever delivered it in-person.“

She paused. 

“I’d have to figure out how to create an online version.” I was starting to sound a bit whiny, even to myself. “And I’m not a tech-y person. I wouldn’t know where to start.”

“Okay,” she said. “We can come back to it.”

But the seed had been planted. The wheels were already turning. All those metaphors that basically meant like hundreds of other people in my position at the time, I would be spending many evenings and weekends in the subsequent months figuring out the ins and outs of online course creation.


And that’s exactly what I did. I could have said no. But that felt too selfish. I knew I had a contribution I could make.


Over the past number of months I’ve had people from across North America complete the program modules online at their own pace. Listening to the feedback and course outcomes from the participants, I have felt truly humbled.

Not only for being a part of their personal revelations and ideas of what they want to focus on as a next step in their career, but also that I stayed with this process long enough to create a product that I can now add to my own career legacy.

I’ve since trademarked this coaching methodology that helps professionals do the self-reflection needed to come up with a career development plan unique to them and define those important next steps in a user-friendly, accessible, on demand format. 


Here is what one participant said:


“The NAIL IT!® online program prepared me for the next steps in my career development and I attribute my recent success (of getting promoted) to the program. The quality of the course is high. The on-line content delivery is logical and relevant. I found myself going through a process of self-discovery with lots of self-examination. I recommend this program for those ready for that next step or possibly considering a new role within their organization. ”

  • Aaron Hansen, Manager, Charlottetown Area Development Corporation  

NAIL IT! Is now practically running itself while I’m living happily ever after in the world of leadership coaching, working exclusively with VPs and CEOs who care about the legacy they’re building. This focused work also gives me freedom to dedicate time to my fiction, which you can read more about here.

A plot twist is a good thing. Need a career story editor? I can help. 


Karen Kelloway, BPR PCC
Your Career Story Editor


With Karen Kelloway’s Career Story Project, you’ll learn how to
live your best career story. Book a clarity call to learn more.