Lori Howard is a Career Transformation Coach, Professional Certified Coach (PCC), Certified Executive Coach (CEC), and Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW). Specializing in career identity, she helps professionals who are deeply frustrated with their jobs and want to avoid career burnout, those in career transition, to figure out what they really want to do, and to launch a career they love.
Lori helps you identify your unique set of values, strengths, skills, and passions, the ones wired in, designed into you by God. To help you unearth their worth and your dreams, and to find a way to go after them. Not in a way that takes another 10-20 years, but in a way that allows you to achieve those dreams now.
Prior to launching her business, Lori worked in a corporate environment for over 15 years leading and managing software development and quality assurance teams through coaching and mentoring. She has worked in financial services, insurance, publishing, medical devices, IT, and theater. Lori’s clients are from across the US and around the world.
Lori also has a great passion for the healing arts and alternative medicine, after experiencing some health challenges in the late 90’s that traditional medicine could not help with. Today, a healthy Lori lives with her two adopted shelter cats, Twinkle and Jean Luc, along Lake Michigan in Chicago, IL.
Lori holds multiple certifications and credentials: Professional Certfied Coach (PCC), Certified Executive Coach (CEC), Certified Story Coach (CSC), Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), Group Certified Coach (GCC), and a Bachelor’s of Electrical Engineering (BEE).
She is also a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF) and Professional Association of Resume Writers (PARW) .
Contact Lori Howard
For more information, call Lori at (773) 669-7899, or send an email.
I was feeling unhappy at work. It wasn’t the first time. I had felt everything from a mild sense of disconnectedness from my work, wondering “is this really what I’m meant to do?” to frustration, wondering why other people could love their work, their career, but not me? Or, if I had a purpose, if I was designed for something, what was it? And was I supposed to be miserable and unfulfilled by it? Was it supposed to feel so empty?
These feelings started as early as in college for me, I was pursuing a degree in engineering, but I had all these “fun reading” books on how people change, what empowers them to take action and achieve their goals. When I was a little girl, all I ever wanted to be was an actress. I loved making up plays and performing, but my parents nixed that as an impractical and childish fantasy.
I now realize these were my purpose and passion, finding expression, in spite of my goals and direction. Over the years, I sought help from various career coaches, counselors, etc. All I ever did was take assessments and discover that I am good at what I was already doing. (I knew that already.) That’s where my happiness and success should come from. Nothing felt right. It made me feel frustrated disappointed, and I wondered if there was something wrong with me. But I had no other ideas, so I continued to pursue the career path I was already on, never feeling like it fit.
Then in 2006, I hit a wall. I was exhausted all the time, had trouble getting myself to work every day, and really didn’t care if I did a good job or bad job. I felt what I did no longer mattered to me. And I knew inside, that my job should be filled by someone who had a passion for it.
So when the company I was working for was bought by our competitor, I asked for severance instead of a job. Then, after seeking advice from several trusted mentors, all of whom I expected to tell me “Don’t do it! It’s foolish! Take a job and sort it out while working.” Instead they said – “If not now, when” and “What’s stopping you?” “Money fears? Well how much do you need? How long can you go without income? Do the math, and then DO IT!”
So, instead of pursuing one of the several job opportunities in front of me, I walked away. It felt like the craziest thing I’d ever done. But I wanted to know, if I had a purpose, what was it? If it was possible to love your job, and earn income doing what you love, how could I do that?
Shortly after I left my job, I found a checklist in a Scientific American magazine article on burnout. As I read the list, I checked them off, one by one. I nailed the first 11 of the 12 criteria. Number 12 being an attempt at suicide. Yikes! I was stunned. I felt like I had dodged a bullet (apparently quite literally). I also started to see that my intuition had been screaming at me for a long time.
It was time to take more aggressive action. And I realized, this whole desire to find something to do that exited and inspired me was no longer something to treat lightly. Working hard at something that left me empty could cost me greatly, could cost me everything, if I continued along my path. It was time for aggressive action.
So I walked away. I’d like to say I never looked back, but that’s not true. I looked back all the time. Worried constantly whether I’d just done the dumbest thing in my life. Wondered if I was chasing pipe dreams and fantasies. But I stuck with it. Through the first month or so, where I couldn’t sleep. My home got very clean and organized then.
Then I found a few resources, books to work through, to help me connect with who I am, and who I was created to be. What were my real gifts, talents, and skills, and how might I use them to earn a living and enjoy it? Feel like I had a purpose. Feel like my job was worth any aggravation that came up, so when it got hard, I’d still be ready to go. I was angry when I did my excavation. Angry at the career coaches I had hired in the past – to help me with this – who never did. We never got results. (So if you look at my journals, all my self discovery work is in ALL CAPS.)
I began to create a system that others could follow, that would help them to find the answers, without spending decades searching. The first steps involved unearthing the strengths and skills I loved to used, and that I’d been using naturally, even in spite of myself and my family, throughout my life. For me, this was coaching friends, co-workers, employees, long before “coaching” existed. It included taking the road not traveled, or less traveled, and some element of performing.
The next steps are about identifying the environment in which I personally thrive, what are the conditions in which I am designed to succeed in? I love a collaborative, co-creative environment. I love having my own space. I am a natural leader, who loves to be independent. Then with support, I began to put it all together, and identify what sorts of career, jobs, and situations I would enjoy working, would find rewarding and fulfilling, and would thrive in.
In a few months, I discovered I had two great loves and strengths, coaching others and performing. In fact, I had these two great loves for my whole life, they were wired into me. I had dabbled in acting as a hobby as an adult, and there were moments on stage as an actor where I felt in the zone, excited, happy. I didn’t know I could feel that for more than one thing, and I felt it as strongly when I coached people. Helping others discover for themselves their unique set of strengths, skills, and passions was exciting and deeply fulfilling for me.
At this point, I had a decision to make again. Would I take what I’d discovered and follow the new path? And if so, how would I make the transition, without living like I was 20 and used to no income and roaches as roommates? That took support, from family, friends, and coach. I needed to create the support system I needed to pursue my new direction.
I must admit at this point, I had to evaluate my personal relationships, and make changes to those relationships that would pull me back to my life of misery. Not everyone wanted me to succeed. Those who had confronted a similar choice, and chosen to stay with their unfulfilling work, and be miserable, wanted me to join them. I had to remove or change those relationships. I also began to seek out new relationships with those whose beliefs were more supportive of my new direction – those who saw possibility and potential. And believed this was the better way.
I also knew at this point that I wanted to help others identify their unique set of values, strengths, skills, and passions, the ones wired in, designed into us by God. To help them unearth their worth, their dreams, and to find a way to go after them. But not in a way that took another 20 years, in a way that allowed them some achievement of those dreams now.
I had found a way out, and I wanted to share it with others who were similar. I have developed a process that goes beyond standardized assessments, that helps people to discover in just a few sessions what it took me decades to unearth on my own – what is it you were made to do, would love to do, and what environment would you thrive in. And so I launched my business, and began to coach others, and developed a process built on research and experience, to help you go after the dreams that excite you, the work and career that leaves you feeling fulfilled, purposeful, and that you enjoy.