Julia had worked as an educator and served the non-profit community throughout her professional life.

She shared with her fellow students in the first class that while she enjoyed her work, she felt something was missing.

Man standing atop a mountain, facing the sun with arm upstretched
One of the assignments in class was particularly illuminating for Julia. She recalled her dreams of earlier years and could see how her life had taken her in a different direction. This exercise helped her come to understand how she got to where she was today and what was “missing.”

This turned out to be the beginning of a commitment that she ultimately made to herself to pursue a long held, long delayed dream.

Julia pretty much knew what she wanted to “be when she grew up.” She wanted to teach. As is true for many people, her adult life took her in somewhat different directions and her dream didn’t quite play out the way that she had imagined.

What dream is waiting for you?

Working with her coach, she could more clearly see that she had not all together abandoned her dream. She had become a teacher, and importantly, she had laid a foundation upon which she could build. Julia wanted to teach at the graduate level at a university and that would mean getting her doctorate, just as she had dreamed of so many years ago.

Like many people, Julia had made some assumptions that were limiting her ability to move forward. One was that it was too late. Now in her early fifties, she thought she was too old to go back to school and finally get her doctorate. She also wasn’t sure she would be able to meet the challenges of going back to school later in life.

Julia’s coach suggested she talk to people in academia who were doing what she wanted to do. These conversations gave her insight into this world and what she would need to do next.

Spurred by the powerful yeaning she felt toward this dream, Julia took the next step of applying to schools that she was most interested in. She was accepted and eagerly, albeit nervously, dove in. Over the next three years she pursued her doctorate, and her dream, while continuing to work part time. It wasn’t easy, she reported, but it was worth it. She gained new confidence in herself along the way.

Julia met the challenge and went on to get her PhD. She is a professor teaching in an area she loves and is a mentor to others. She reports that she loves teaching and being a mentor to students. She also talks with people who, like her, want to pursue a long-held dream and need a little help to take that next step.

Note: To honor confidentiality and protect the privacy of our clients we do not use names and have altered possibly identifying details in this Case Study.

About Perceptive Leaders LLC

Perceptive is a boutique leadership development and professional transitions consulting firm based in Denver, Colorado serving clients in the US and Canada, since 2005. We have worked with over 1,000 senior organizational leaders and accomplished career professionals to help them recognize opportunities for impactful and substantive change and how to realize that transformational change. For more than 15 years, Perceptive has been helping leaders and their teams transform their leadership. For more information, visit perceptiveleaders.com.

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