Taking the Leap: A Career Transition Story

Take the Leap - Kristin McGinnis

I want to share a story that has inspired me this week. If you are on the cusp of a career transition or on the quest for meaningful work, I think this story will resonate with you. Meet Kristin McGinnis.

Kristin and I connected briefly in April following a keynote address I delivered in Chicago. During the talk, I shared a story about “Pouring Happiness” and the Starbucks brand experience. Kristin was moved by the story and the Starbucks “Third Place” vision. Following the event, she decided to take a deeper dive into the Starbucks story by reading CEO Howard Schultz’s inspiring book, “Pour Your Heart Into It“.

Last week, Kristin shot me a note with an update. She explained that she ordered the book from her hotel room that night and couldn’t put it down. In her own words:

Needless to say, I loved the book and was immediately inspired to learn more. I thought to myself, “I want to work for this company!” It was the simplest thought, and I wasn’t unhappy with my current job, but just for fun I looked on the Starbucks Career site. And there it was…a similar position to what I was currently doing, but AT Starbucks! I applied without even thinking twice about it…not really thinking I’d hear from them anyway, but it couldn’t hurt, right? I applied in early June and two months later, I have accepted an offer from Starbucks for that position and I begin work with them tomorrow. I am ecstatic and so amazed at the turn of events that occurred to get me to this place in my career. It seems too good to be true, in a way! THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!

THANK YOU, Kristin! You are a wonderful example of the life-changing opportunity that exists when we simply commit to taking action. You made a very conscious, specific choice to act on new information, which created momentum.  Ordering a book led to a website that turned into a job application, a series of interviews and an offer. It isn’t too good to be true – you earned it! You deserve it! Congratulations!

Kristin is now preparing for a cross-country move from Arlington, Virginia to Seattle, Washington to start her new career with Starbucks, working on employee engagement research.  I asked Kristin what she has learned from this serendipitous job search.

She shared that when she heard back from Starbucks and her decision to act turned into opportunity she started really thinking about what she wanted. She realized that work-life balance was important to her (after being in a role with long hours and frequent travel), and that she’d never really stopped to consider what kind of career fit best into her life. “I was kind of surprised that I hadn’t realized sooner that work-life balance was so important to me,” she said.

When Kristin took a step back and started to get specific and identify what would make her happy at work and what she really valued, she identified things that she was not even consciously aware that she wanted.  With new clarity, her path forward became crystal clear.

That is often how change happens: one meaningful moment inspires action. Kristin followed her curiosity, opened herself to opportunity, and made her move.  Her life and career are now expanding.

It’s also worth noting that as Kristin was saying goodbye to her previous employer, one of the executives offered some unexpected insight. He said, “I realize that this wasn’t an easy decision for you and that decisions like this take courage.” He reminded her that she had taken a bold step outside of her comfort zone – usually where the best opportunities await.

Thank you for sharing your inspiring story, Kristin!  Starbucks is lucky to have you.

 Ryan Estis & Associates is a training and development organization helping companies, leaders, sales people and individual contributors embrace change and achieve breakthrough performance in the new economy. We offer keynotes, live classroom training and online learning that blends interaction, energy and actionable content designed to elevate performance. Contact us for programming inquiries and assistance determining the curriculum that could best support your learning and development objectives.

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