Dream Careers Are Not A Myth: 6 Locals Who Will Prove It

dream careersI sometimes joke with my friends that I’m living under house arrest.

Because I do career coaching from home and I have a two-year old, it often feels like it. But on rare occasions I do leave the house. Usually only to go to Target. 🙂

All kidding aside, even with how rarely I get out these days, I still seem to meet incredible people who are passionate about working their dream careers. 

I wanted to introduce you to some of these folks because I know that some of you still struggle with the idea that a job or a business you’re passionate about could be a real thing. 

It almost has a fantasy-like quality to it – like something that happens in the movies, but not in real life. 

But actually, it does happen in real life. And not just occasionally.

See, these women I’m about to introduce you to are all basically my neighbors.

They all work around Boston, Massachusetts or the area known as Metrowest.

So if I (with my imprisoned status) know this many people who are working their dream careers and doing what they love – and this no doubt is only a small sampling of who is out there – then it follows that doing what you love isn’t an anomaly.

Doing what you love is possible, and you can do it too! 

I wrote this post to try to help remove the brainwashing you’ve had that tells you that work is something you’re supposed to do regardless of how you feel about it, and that your feelings about it are beside the point. 

I could rant on this for a while, but that’s a post for another day. 

Today, take a look at the creative ways my passionate friends are working their dream careers and doing what they love.

But before you dig in, I’ll warn you – this post is long. Really long. (But don’t miss my *free gift for you* at the very bottom. Just letting you know it’s there ’cause I wouldn’t want you to miss it!)

Still, I think you’ll love the stories of these creative women, and  you’ll be shocked at some of the fun and life-changing things that your neighbors are doing.

And even if you’re reading this from far away, your takeaway should be this: I could have written this post from anywhere in the world, because everywhere there are people who are doing what they love. And you can too

These things are not only touching these women’s lives with passion and purpose, but changing lives of those around them as well.  

I asked them about their businesses, their journeys, and their advice about doing what they love.

I hope their answers and their stories will help you on your journey, especially if you’re at the very beginning, just realizing that doing what you love can be your reality too. 

Dream Careers

Christine Guthery – SPARK Kindness (Natick) 

She says: 

SPARK Kindness is a non-profit dedicated to building kind and empowered communities.  Our mission is to create communities where no child or family feels alone, bullied, unsupported or unconnected.  Our goal is to move beyond “bullying prevention” to a more positive goal of supporting a community that empowers youth and promotes kindness and respect.

This work has truly been a calling.  It has “found” me.  

It came to my attention how much schools and parents were having to grapple with the issue of bullying and negative social behavior.  

I was truly called, and I think my greatest asset was that I listened to the call and responded by asking the schools how I could help.  

Through this work, I have seen gifts and interests that I didn’t realize that I even had.  For example, much of my work is done “community organizing.”  

I ask community members how we can assist them in achieving their goals.  This is not something that I would have seen myself doing when I was in law school or working as a litigator years ago.  

However, I have found that this has been a very gratifying way for me to serve my community.  Because I enjoy it so much, I get a great deal done!

On the other hand, all of my work as an attorney, as a parent and as a community volunteer has lead me to this work.  I have had a life long interest (since elementary school) in social justice, and bullying prevention (as I see it) is a social justice issue.  

As an attorney, not only did I learn how to write clearly and persuasively, I learned that there is more than one side to a story, and that has helped me tremendously in this work.  My role as a mother of three children and as community volunteer have given me great empathy for families and a desire to create a culture of kindness for ALL children.

I feel that much of this is about “alignment.”  The more you are aligned with yourself and your gifts, the more power you have.  I tell my children to “move toward meaning” in their life.  When you do work that is meaningful to you, it benefits you, even if it is stressful and difficult.  

I also would advise people to explore and find what they love to do.  This is not always straightforward, but a process of discovery.  

Finally, (this may sound strange) I would offer that “failure” and certainly “risk” are a big part of this journey.  We can only discover what we are good at, and what means most to us, by trying new things and taking risks. 

If you are aligned with your inner sense of meaning and your talents, you are unstoppable!”  

[jbox color=blue] Find out more about Christine and SPARK at  http://www.sparkkindness.org [/jbox]


Linda Woodard – Linda’s Decors, a full-service mobile Window Treatment Showroom and Design Service (Marlborough)

She says:
“My career started in Sales and Marketing and I adamantly believe this is critical to my success.  Nobody will or can sell your business better than you and you need to understand that early on.  If you are shy or an introvert and do not like to “promote yourself and business” then you may have a difficult time.  When times are good, your business may sell itself.  But, when times are not so good, YOU are the one who has to hit the street and knock on doors!
My transition was smooth because of my business background and I understood from a business perspective what was needed to get started.  I learned the window treatment business – it took some time and I had a fantastic mentor who taught me – but it you are truly interested in something, you can learn it because you love it.  I think it’s important that your skill set matches.  For example, I like the technical details and that’s good because window treatments can get very technical.  
I was given some really good advice early on by a former boss.  He said, don’t ever take a job because of the money.  I can now without a doubt say he was 100% right.  You can’t start a business because you want to make a lot of money.  Start a business because you have confidence that it is viable and you’ve done your homework (i.e. business plan) that it will work.  Know your market first and know how you differentiate yourself from everyone else in your space.”
Find out more about Linda and Linda’s Decors at http://www.lindasdecors.com 


Elizabeth Goranson, Stretch What Matters (Natick) 

Stretch What Matters, LLC began in 2008 with a vision of enhancing the quality of life, both mentally and physically, for all individuals regardless of age, ability or special needs through yoga.

I recently created a teacher training (Level 1 Teacher Training Intensive, Yoga for Those with Special Needs).

When I began the company, I used the experience I had received from the classroom (I was a special educator for 12-years prior) and aligned it with my love for yoga and meditation. There were a few people doing what I was trying to create and I did everything I could to find them and learn from them.

I initially started this journey when I was expecting my second child. My husband and I did the math and realized that the cost of day care for two children maxed out my teaching salary.

In addition to the math formula, the emotional formula put me in the red when I considered paying someone else to take care of my children while I taught other people’s children full-time.

My last day as a classroom teacher was the day before the birth of my daughter, Grace.  The months following that decision to become my own boss were filled with a mix of emotions ranging between elation and total fear.

With my husband Scott’s support (he is my biggest fan btw) I knew the dream of offering yoga to those with special needs would become a reality (it kinda had to).

On a financial level, we would need income to support ourselves and on a “I have a dream” level, I had seen the impact that yoga and mindfulness had on children with special needs and to keep that knowledge inside had bad karma written all over it!

The budget was the first thing to feel extremely tight when we started this journey. 

We began to (and still do) make a conscious choice to see abundance in the things that are available to us such as hand-me-downs, date nights at home, stay-cations, hair color in a box, a 2002 Honda Civic, birthday parties at home, walks to the library, the Natick Common and the fire station – did you know that a firefighter will give you a free fire truck tour at any time and they will even throw in a fire hat?!

The business literally grew one yoga student at a time.

One obstacle I overcame occurred while I was teaching students who were challenged by positioning themselves into yoga poses.

The students required visual supports in order to be independently successful and yoga pose cards and my physical modeling were not supporting their learning style.

One evening after work while I was rocking my daughter before placing her in her crib for the night, I saw in my mind’s eye what would later become the stretch what matters visual yoga system.

I attempted to buy the one I saw in my mind online that very night because I assumed someone had already brought it to life.

To my surprise, no one had, so we went for it (we always includes myself and my husband) and anytime I heard the voice inside me begging me to call it quits, I remembered that the system solved a problem that the world needed solved.

The Stretch What Matters ™ yoga system is the very first visual yoga system for people with special needs and a dream come true for me! 

My dream of starting my own yoga business for children and adults with special needs was really just that, a dream.

The dream was small enough for me to get started and each time the dream was ready to grow, I was ready for its expansion. Did I always know I would bring this dream to life when I was young?  Absolutely not.  I tapped into pursuing this dream when I became aware of how alive I felt while practicing it on my own and while sharing it with others.

When I look closely at the timeline of Stretch What Matters, since it’s birth, I can see the overflowing amount of people and experiences that fueled my dream just as clearly as I can see those who did not (the non supporters are no longer around).

Those that appeared to be non-supporters sometimes had good intentions of protecting me but most of the time I learned that non supporters simply lacked the background information needed to make an executive decision about my dream while supporters always helped me find the source that would allow me to lean into further growth.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many friends “like” my dream.  What matters is that I LOVE my dream of bringing yoga and mindfulness to those with special needs and the ones who serve them. 

My dream wakes me up everyday.

It shapes the way I love my own child with special needs and the way I love myself.

Yes, the child I had the day I started my business has special needs and she is my greatest teacher.

Find out more about Elizabeth and Stretch What Matters at http://www.stretchwhatmatters.com

Upcoming Teacher Trainings: November 15-17, 2013

Yoga Dimensions, Newtown, CT

(Training funded by Yoga Reaches Out for Newtown Community Members)


Marci Zeiff –  Creating Calm (Needham, Sudbury, Wayland, Framingham, Natick) 

I founded Creating Calm in 2007 with the goal to help children, teens, adults and those with special needs to reduce the stress and anxiety in their daily lives.

We offer a variety of group and private programs including Meditation and Yoga, Reiki and Tae Kwon-Do.

Over the next few years, my plan is to expand the business by hiring and training others on the Creating Calm program, producing a meditation CD and writing a book to reach a wider audience.

It’s always been my dream to help others, whether it was through teaching or working in human services. My life took a brief detour after graduation when I took a job with an insurance company. It was appealing at the time because the income was greater than the job I was offered in as a teacher in a private school. My next position was a manager in the office furniture industry. After having children, I decided to be a stay at home mom and work part time.

When I began my meditation practice over a decade ago I noticed a profound change in the way I related to stress and anxiety – there was a positive shift in my relationships with others and in the way I related to myself.

I decided this was something that needed to be shared and believed that others could benefit both physically and emotionally from incorporating these techniques into their lives.

I also discovered there were not a lot of meditation programs out there for kids.

Drawing on my years of experience working in children and teaching Tae Kwon –Do the Creating Calm program was born.

Even though I knew in my heart that this was valuable and would help people, it was scary to take the leap and put myself out there. Would anyone be interested in this program? Would I be able to make money doing what I love? It took almost 2 years to finally make the decision to leave my position as an administrative assistant to begin a business teaching meditation and stress reduction. I was very fortunate to have a husband that agreed to support us financially while the business grew.

What began with one private client has grown to public and private school systems, corporate offices, several private clients of all ages, Park and Recreation departments and training for teachers and health care professionals.

When I first started teaching, meditation was not well-known or a well accepted. Making a brochure of services was the easy part. Getting people interested in participating was another story.  In a fast paced world where we like immediate results, asking people to enter into the practice of meditation was a challenge. One health club finally agreed to put a class on their schedule, but the classes did not initially fill. It took a long time to build and a lot of creativity to get people to try a class.

There were several times over the past few years that I had put work on hold due to health related issues. It was upsetting to see the business slow down when I took time off to recuperate.  While I was unable to work, I took my own advice and made sure to meditate!

My family and friends have always been in my corner. I had a great cheering committee. My husband agreed to be patient and allowed me time to build the business.

My advice to others [who want to do what they love] would be to go for it! Believe in yourself.  Be gentle with yourself through the obstacles and mistakes you may make along the way. Approach this new endeavor with an open heart you never know where it will take you. If you are doing what you truly love there is sure to be success.

I’m so happy that I didn’t give up on my dream. I absolutely love what I do and have had the opportunity to meet and work with some really amazing people.

Find out more about Marci and Creating Calm at http://creating-calm.com 


Jen Karofsky (Framingham)

I am a Holistic Health and Lifestyle Coach.

I provide support and guidance to busy moms, dads and families as they set goals and make sustainable changes to improve their overall health, wellness and happiness.  I meet with my clients twice a month to create personalized healthy eating and lifestyle plans. I coach my clients as they work towards the goals they set and develop lifelong healthy habits.

I have always been involved in the education field. In fact, I wanted to be a doctor but I went into teaching because I loved working with kids and families.

I studied education in college and then returned to earn my Ed.M. in Counseling Psychology.

I worked in numerous educational settings after graduate school. An inner city work/education program for at risk teens, a private special education school and a Head Start program in Boston.

After the birth of my son (now 15!) I created my own tutoring and family coaching business. I have always been very interested in nutrition but it wasn’t until I was struggling with stomach issues a few years ago that I really took a closer look at what I was eating and what I was feeding my family.

During this journey of self discovery my daughter experienced some of her health issues. With all the research I had done for myself I still felt helpless when I saw how much pain she was in. I knew I needed to do more.

I investigated wellness and nutrition programs and decided on the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York. This program really matched me. It has the strong nutrition component but is holistic in its approach very much focusing on all aspects of the client. It was the right fit. I continued to work with my tutoring and family coaching clients as I trained at IIN. The transition has been seamless!

I was never a traditional academic tutor. If I had a student who was in a fight with her best friend I know that math homework would not be our focus during our time together.

My background is counseling – that is where my passion lies. People need to be happy. They need to find what makes them happy. They have to learn to own their lives and be honest with themselves. I know this is not always an easy journey but when someone is ready to take it, it is well worth it.

Working with my clients is incredibly rewarding. I am a teacher and helper by nature. As a Health and Lifestyle Coach I am able to support my clients as they find their path to wellness and happiness!

Finding a way to do what you love in some capacity is good thing. But many times what we love doesn’t always fit into the other aspects of our lives. Family, homes, bills, responsibilities are part of the deal too. But you can make a plan. It might take time and life changes and compromise and smiles and tears but a new path can be made. I can help you do that!

Judy Quint- Zumba With Judy 

I own a Fitness business that provides Zumba Fitness and Zumba Toning classes to women in Sudbury, Framingham, Wayland, Marlboro, Maynard, Acton, Boxboro and Weston. 

Many of the women who take my classes do not do any other kind of fitness routine.  The age range of the participants in my class is 18-84. 

I was inspired to become an instructor by a close friend who told me during one of our early  Zumba Classes together that she was watching my butt and not the butt of our lead instructor.

She told me that she could not follow our lead instructor nor did she think that our instructor cared one way or the other.

The lightbulb in my middle-aged head went off – if I could bring this amazing form of exercise to more women like myself who were not young, agile dancers but loved to move, that would be a great gift to give my friends and community members.

I noticed how happy and calm I felt after my Zumba fitness workouts and I wanted to spread this good feeling to others around me.

I had not felt this great training for the Boston Marathon or doing the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.  I was happy to be contributing to wonderful charities but I did not feel the personal passion for the activity like I did dancing in my Zumba Classes.

For my birthday my gift to myself was to take the Basics 1 Zumba Fitness Certification and it is certainly the gift that keeps on giving!

For 25 years I had been a Real Estate Attorney working in a solo practice and for other attorneys on a contract basis.

What I liked best about the job was helping first time buyers journey through the maze of a home purchase and making them feel comfortable and less apprehensive.  I was not excited about the legal community and always knew that I wanted to do something else with my life just never sure what the ‘something else” was until I became addicted to my Zumba Classes.

I always wanted to “teach” since I was a little girl and I loved to work out so this was a perfect combination of my skill set and goals.

Working with women whose lives were actually changed by coming to my  classes was the icing on the cake for me.  I’m so glad that I had the nerve to leave the legal profession and do what makes me happy-I hope everyone gets that chance in their life!

 I love working with warm hearted and fun loving women both on my staff and in my classes.  I love that I’m passionate about Zumba and get to do it every day with people I care about and from whom I learn something new each and every day.

I love that I wake up each day and can’t wait to do my “job” if that is what I have to call it!

I have tried to be conservative about growing my business so I did not take on any large debt (like owning my own studio) and my income has been able to pay all of my expenses thus far.

I would advise those trying to begin a new career to spend a lot of time on their marketing plan as that is the key to getting new clients and growing the business. 

I have tried to volunteer my services as a Zumba teacher so that more and more people were exposed to my classes and have done local fundraisers. 

I am not shy about talking about what I do because I truly believe it will enhance others’ lives. No one ever knew I was a real estate lawyer but everyone knows I am a Zumba instructor-when you truly are passionate about what you do it is so easy to market yourself. 

I would suggest just “doing it” and not worrying too much about the financials till the second year or so-persevere, keep your dream alive and just keep on Dancing your own personal passionate dance!!

 Need a paycheck but want something more than the lifeless job you’ve got? 

If you’re one of the many that has almost lost hope that you can have work you love and still pay your bills, grab my new free e-book! 

work I love

 In it I’ll show you: 

green checkmarkOne foolish mistake you could be making that might put your entire career in jeopardy – and what to do to create a career you love instead.

green checkmark The eight compelling reasons it is realistic to aim for work you love, even if you have financial and other responsibilities

green checkmark How to figure out what your dream job is, today. (It’s a bonus download – you’ll love this one!)

And of course, it’s packed with tons more.


Career Building

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