Thriving While Making a Challenging Career Transition

In this week’s The Faces of Business Episode, our guest speaker was Dr. Donna Marino. Donna is the President of Donna Marino PsyD, Executive and Leadership Coaching. She has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology as well.  Dr. Donna helps business executives and owners make a challenging career transition like selling a business, changing industries. or simply finding new executive positions.  

Career transition is one of the most crucial issues of today. Every person who faces this can have a very challenging experience. This is why learning how to better make a challenging career transition is necessary to long term success.

In this week’s The Faces of Business Episode, our guest speaker was Dr. Donna Marino. Donna is the President of Donna Marino PsyD, Executive and Leadership Coaching. She has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology as well.  Dr. Donna helps business executives and owners make a challenging career transition like selling a business, changing industries. or simply finding new executive positions.
Starting her conversation, Donna shared how she started her professional career. At first, she worked as a child psychologist. Then, later on, she wanted to go towards a greater path. This is when Donna moves towards other coaching services and went on to positive psychology.

Donna said that instead of working on the pathological issues, she started working on the people who were already successful and thriving in the real world. Moving on, Donna said that when a person is who is used to thriving is making a challenging career transition, they tend to have empty spaces in their lives which they don’t know how to fill.

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Moreover, when they can’t fill these empty spaces, they move towards depression. This is why they always need something to fill those spaces. Further, into the conversation, Donna talked about imposter syndrome and how it takes over people.

According to her, when a person is making a challenging career transition, this syndrome usually takes over them. This is where Donna said that she asks her clients to make a list of all the things they’ve achieved in life big or small.

This helps them realize their potential and gets them through with making a challenging career transition. Adding to this, Donna said that people who are high achievers are actually great at listening or following orders.

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Therefore, according to her, it is easier to help these people in making a challenging career transition. By the end of the conversation, Damon asked Donna about what one view she thinks that people have wrong about their retirement phase.

To this, Donna said that usually, people have this glamorized view about retirement. However, for high achievers, it’s like pulling the rug from under them. They always need a plan and when they don’t have it, they feel stressed and anxious.

Therefore, according to Donna talking about these things beforehand will help a lot in making a challenging career transition.

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The conversation ended with Damon thanking Donna for her time.

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people, transition, high achievers, retire, retirement, role, talk, business, imposter syndrome, clients, executive, donna, helping, positions, thriving, career, company, anxiety, life, feel


Damon Pistulka, Donna Marino


Damon Pistulka  00:05

All right, everyone, Welcome once again to the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. And with me today, I’ve got Dr. Donna Marino, thank you so much for being here today. Thank you so much for having me. Awesome, awesome. Well, I’m just I’m excited. I’m excited because we were introduced a while ago and and talked a couple times and, and the work that you do is so relevant a to what I do, helping business owners grow valuable businesses. And then and then when we help business owners at the end of their career, or to move into another career at that transition point of exiting their business.

It’s an it’s another big change from so you’re an executive coach, working with executives between roles in new roles or planning for retirement. So it’s really cool to be able to talk with you today about this. Thank you. I’m excited to chat. Yeah, yeah.

So let’s, let’s start, let’s start back at the start back, always, I always like to do that. So kind of give me a bit of your background, so people listening can understand it. And also people if you’re listening on LinkedIn, just let us know where you’re listening from. And also, if you have any questions throughout the throughout the conversations to drop them in the comments, and we will go ahead and get those answers on on air as well. So Donna, go ahead and tell us a little bit about your background.


Donna Marino  01:36

Yeah, absolutely. My background is different than a lot of executive coaches, because I do have a doctorate in clinical psychology. And I started on a pretty traditional route, I was a child and family therapist and worked with kids in foster care and kids who had trauma. And over time, I realized that was not something that was sustainable, that kind of work that was was so heavy.

And I really made a switch into positive psychology, which instead of studying pathology and disease and what’s wrong, we study the most successful people in the world and the people are thriving and say, let’s do that. Yeah, right. So instead of looking for a treatment model, were saying, hey, how can we replicate what these people are doing and the success they’re seeing. And I just loved that part of the field and love working with people who were already high achieving, and making them better helping them overcome the obstacles they face.

When they are high, achieving, you know, the working too much working long hours, your identity and your work become the same thing, all those things. But in the meanwhile, they’re, they’re putting out such great stuff in the world, that you want them to be able to continue to do that, but in a healthy way. And that’s how I got into the executive coaching.

And then I really loved this transition piece where people are at a crossroads. And they’re facing that uncertainty, which we know high achievers don’t like they like, control of things. Yeah. And and helping them manage that process. And as a psychologist, I found that I could bring insights and awarenesses to the table that my clients were just blown away by they were like, you can just sum it up like that and make those connections. And we were able to make progress really quickly and end in a very different way than other executive coaches work, which has just been so much fun for me.


Damon Pistulka  03:54

Yeah, yeah. Cuz I mean, as we’re talking about thriving while making a challenging career transition, I don’t think getting through it is one thing thriving through it is a completely different thing.


Donna Marino  04:06

Absolutely. Absolutely. And, you know, some of the things that I teach my clients are while you’re in the transition, you have to make time for all the things that you love and are passionate about. And high achievers tend to be really bad at. We tend to really over focus on on our careers and our accomplishments. And when you’re in this transition phase, you have to start learning about other things that feel you. Right, if you’re in between roles, and job isn’t there to fill your bucket and build your confidence and make you feel productive and worthwhile.

You better start filling in those spaces with other things. And that will serve you later in life when you come to retire. Like we’ve talked about, because retirement is really hard for executives and successful business owners, a lot of them will say, I don’t want to retire, or they actually get just so anxious about it, they have this push pull, where they’ll, they’ll start to feel like they want to slow down.

But these are people who don’t don’t like to sit still, they don’t like stillness, they like having things to do. And without that sense of accomplishment and productivity, they can lose their confidence, they can lose their sense of self. And so if they, if they learn the other things that fill their bucket, like in that state of between roles, then they’ll have things to fall back on to when they’re facing retirement. So yeah, you know, but when when they’re both stages?


Damon Pistulka  05:52

Yeah, yeah, no doubt. So let’s just talk about the two things separately, because, you know, you’re talking about when we talked before, you’re helping executives in, in not huge companies, but larger companies that are making these transitions from one role to another role. What do you see as the biggest challenge or common challenges across those kind of transitions? You know, and and then, what are some of the good things that you see out of that?


Donna Marino  06:23

Yeah. Well, that’s, that’s awesome. Yeah. So the challenges, these people are really successful people, I’ve, you know, I’ve worked with everything from, you know, people that are in companies with only 80 employees to, you know, people who are presidents at fortune 500 companies.

And so when they’re in transition in between roles, the search can be longer, because there aren’t as many executive roles out there. They also command higher fees. And companies don’t, you know, companies want the experience of that executive person, but they don’t always want to pay the price for that experience, and so it can take them longer to find a role. And then you see their confidence starts to slip, you start to see things like imposter syndrome, and okay.

Yeah, for people who may not know what that is. imposter syndrome, is when you start to doubt how you got to where you are. So you saying, oh, boy, I was just in the right place at the right time, I was just really lucky. That person just really liked me, but maybe I’m not as good as I thought I was, you start to really make excuses for your success, and to doubt your abilities. And the longer you’re between roles, the more that can increase. And that’s where I can come in and really put the wind back in your sails.

Right. I yeah. The client I had that was from this president in a in a fortune 500 company. Um, you know, she was really getting down on herself. And one of the things I’ll have my clients do, who are who are struggling with that imposter syndrome is I’ll have them make a list of their accomplishments, but I’ll make them go back as far as they can remember. So you know, they’re writing stuff. Yeah. You know, when you start looking at those decades of accomplishments, it’s, and it’s in black and white in front of you, because we like black and white, it’s a lot harder to tell yourself that you You didn’t earn that you didn’t, you’re not really successful.


Damon Pistulka  08:54

That’s a great tip. I mean, I stopped there for a second, that is a great tip. Well, because I, I’ve not not shy about it, I I’ve had imposter syndrome and many times in my life. And that’s a great way to overcome it. Because and honestly, that’s how I that’s how I helped to validate if it hits me again, as you know, you’ve gotten this far by doing the things that you’ve done. And, you know, it will continue on as long as you’re making the adjustments and moving the way you need to. But that’s a great idea to go back that far.

Because most times, and this is this is what I think happens with a lot of people as you’ve been in your career more than six months or 20 years. In some cases, it you forget, you forget what you really did. And then you go back through that’s got to be a really lifting exercise to be able to go back through that. And and, and just talk to people or just just go over that list and talk over with you.


Donna Marino  09:50

Oh, yeah. And I love that you brought that up that you forget part. I can tell you there was a time I’m talking with my mom and she said oh well you I wrote a book because my daughter had just published her her first book of poetry. And I was like, No, I did it. And she’s like Donna. And I was like, Oh, yeah, it was a short ebook. But I did it I put on, you know, there are times I forget, I’m like, Oh, I did a TED talk.

Yeah, big things. And the reason why I’m gonna tell you the reason why that happens for high achievers, is because we are always so focused on the next goal. Yeah. So one of the things I do with my clients is teach them to slow down and savor all those wins. Because what the high achiever does is they work towards that goal, they can work towards that goal for six months, they achieve it, and you’re like, that was great. What’s next?


Damon Pistulka  10:57

All right here. And it’s in it’s right. It’s, it’s natural, because those those people are driven to do that. And it’s in that and a lot of high achievers are innately driven to do that. They don’t even know how or why it happens. It just happens.


Donna Marino  11:15

Yeah, I always joke that you you come out of the womb that way. That’s the way I feel it happened. My mom can tell you stories in elementary school of just like, coming home from school and being like, Mom, I need this, this this this for this project. And she’s she always says she finally learned to ask when is it maybe like in two weeks? Right? Like, it’s that? That’s right. For a lot of us. It’s it starts really young.


Damon Pistulka  11:45

Yeah, yeah. And then and then you talked about to in these role transitions from one opportunity to the other. The one thing that I know is, as I was in transition in the past, is that you have no control over it whatsoever. You’re just at that you’re at the whim of did that resume catch somebody’s eye enough to be able to do it? Or did I talk to the right person? So they’re actually want to talk to us, you know, if you’re trying to network your way into something. And it just that lack of control for a high achiever has to be very tough across the board.


Donna Marino  12:23

Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. We like, yeah, we like to be in control of things. That’s why we like to lead, right? We like to have we like responsibility. We like control. And it’s one of the things that working hard has reinforced, right? If I work hard, I can expect this result. And so that’s one of the reasons we’re so resistant to uncertainty is giving up that control. And for high achievers, when they give up control, it causes a lot of anxiety. And so that process, like you said, we’re you know, it depends on what roles are available. It depends on what recruiters like you all of that the the word of mouth, it not having that control feels really anxiety provoking.


Damon Pistulka  13:13

Yes, yes. No doubt, no doubt. And so, as you as you’ve been over the last last year or so, are you seeing that the transitions are getting harder, or they’re getting easier for people to make? Mm hmm.


Donna Marino  13:31

Um, the transitions between roles for people who are looking, I’m seeing it last longer. So you have I have an amazing CEO who has been between roles for two years now. And a lot of them, it’s a year, it’s two years. And there’s right now there’s a large pool of amazing talent. I mean, really great people. But there’s not as many jobs and you know, I hate to say it, it’s a dirty word.

Right. But ages I’m, I’m yeah, the clients who have had, you know, they have decades of brilliant. They’ve one of my clients, you know, grew a company by over 900% in the time he was there. Huge goals, huge accomplishments. And, and they’re not landing yet. And it’s it’s multiple reasons, but that does seem to be a factor. And they know they’ve got, you know, one or two more rolls left, and they’re not ready to hang it to hang it up. But it’s it’s taking them longer.


Damon Pistulka  14:46

Well, I think that and I’ll just go on my soapbox for a minute because I think age discrimination is one of the last discriminations that people don’t, it’s, it’s untouched. It’s untouched because there’s too many ways around it. And, and I know there’s lots of other discrimination Don’t get me wrong, I know that. And I and and I hope that we’re taking care of all of it at once, or not all of it over time. And and doing it but I do see that and and you know there’s a definite point in your career, when you’re just not quite as a, quite, it’s not quite as easy to find those positions even though if you’ve got the skill, you got the right, everything the right experience to do it.

And it can be money, it can honestly be money, they look at that, and then somebody that’s 10 years younger, they would pay less maybe. And, and then on the other hand, too, though, I in the last year, I’ve heard some really nice stories about people that that land are a little bit older and land a position because the company is is forward thinking enough to go that, well, this is a gem, I’ve got this person here, I’ve talked to them.

I know I see this in their eyes, they see the the sparkle and fire and everything like that. And they know that there’s there’s two, three roles left and these people that they they have in their career where they really want to contribute. And and they’re willing to teach, and mentor, and really help the overall organization with that part of it not just their role contribution that they’ll do. And I’ve heard some very nice stories about that over the last year that I’ve really enjoyed too. So yeah, it’s it’s something and I yeah, I don’t like to talk about a lot, but, but I think if companies really do embrace that what they can get from that is, is very powerful for Mm hmm.


Donna Marino  16:45

I mean, the experience that that these men and women bring to the table is really phenomenal. And as you said, I think it does come down to money, because companies want that level of experience, but don’t always want to pay what that level of experience requires.

And so they can get somebody younger, to do the job for less, but not but not better, better. And so is the forward thinking companies that that do realize, Wow, I can’t believe this person’s even available. And, and Gosh, the, I have to say the executives I work with are such a givers too, when you talk about leadership and men that I feel blessed to work with them, because I learned from them too. And they’re just such such a giving people


Damon Pistulka  17:42

well, and it’s an eye that I personally think that changes as you age a little bit because you’re still trying to learn it at a certain point in your life. And then you get to a certain tipping point or you go, I want to I just want to help other people be successful and leaders or I should say, yeah, leaders, and people that are at that point in their life are really ready to give. Because they understand the the law of abundance, they understand that there’s plenty for everyone, if we all were you know, you know, we all can rise together.

And there’s a lot of other things that they can contribute, especially in situations where there’s there’s tough situations or, or when someone does need that mentorship, or really the help to get that next step in their career, that that the person with the experience can often help them get there. even outside of their department or or anything they just because they want to help people.


Donna Marino  18:38

Yeah. And I find that that giving attitude does serve people well, when they’re planning for retirement. So of mine who came to me with a lot of retirement anxiety a lot. And he you know, he owns a family run business, very successful. And part of it part of what we talked about because right, it’s that piece of filling your time and still feeling productive and filling your bucket. That giving piece is huge, because you can give back in board positions in volunteering, in teaching, right? Yeah, business. There’s there are so many people that can benefit from that wealth of experience, and it’s a great way to fill some of those retirement hours.


Damon Pistulka  19:35

Yeah, yeah. Cuz that’s one of the things and we’ll switch into retirement now for a little bit because I think this is this is something that I see in our work that it is, as we just talked about, hard driving, high achievers. They’re thinking about the next project but when when we are talking with business owners and looking at succession are they selling their businesses and what’s next? I find that there’s very little thought put into that. At the point now what what do you find when people come to you talking about retirement?


Donna Marino  20:13

Yeah, I find them being really anxious because they don’t know. Like, they’ve decided to do it. They don’t always even know why they’ve decided to do it, but they don’t really have a plan. They’ve planned the financial piece, often, it’d be okay financially, but they, they really have trouble stepping away, especially if it’s their business. Yeah, that act of stepping away. Again, it’s that push pull we talked about, there’s this desire to slow down, but again, the control, there’s this fear of, I’m going to step away and everything I built is going to come crashing down. Right.

And, and that lack of, of kind of trust and that need to control and their identity, you know, this one client who, who built this company, and and is basically dedicated his whole life to it, yeah, working, you know, 80 hour weeks, and sometimes seven days a week and just building it into this amazing business it is, but really, his whole life has been that business.

And now he’s gonna step away, what does that look like? And then who are you? Right? Who are you that business without that roll? Do you know? You know, the one of the things that I love in working with him, because he’s doing fantastic now, and we’re getting other people involved in helping his retirement plan and Trent and how the business is going to transition and building those relationships. But he told me, you know, since we started working together, my wife likes me a lot more.


Damon Pistulka  21:56

Yeah, well, it’s Stress, Stress is felt by everyone around you, there’s no doubt about I stress is felt by everyone around you. And that’s, you’re probably helping him deal with it come in, it’s not really even deal. It’s coming to an understanding of why they feel this way. And then they can begin to solve why they feel this way.


Donna Marino  22:21

Yeah, he understands themselves so much better. He’s so much calmer and relaxed. And you know, he he’s has strategies now. Right? That strategies now that he knows, okay, when I’m feeling this way I do this. And then, you know, where, like I said, we’re going to start working with more of the team to help with this transition. But it’s some of its, you know, emotional intelligence and leadership, some of its, you know, that self awareness and insight to yourself and some of its the strategies, but, you know, and the transformation actually happened much faster than I expected.

I was like, Well, I didn’t know and that’s the thing. If you that’s, this is another reason I love working with high achievers is they do what you tell them to. They want to succeed. So you know, I’m a coach who gives homework, I’m like, Alright, what you’re gonna do. And the more engaged you are in the process, the more you do, what you need to do, the quicker the result you get. And, um, yeah, and half the time I expected Oh,


Damon Pistulka  23:35

yeah, well, you know, I’ve been around a few high level professional athletes and, and, you know, I look at professional athletes, and I’ve seen them all the way from high school, college, you know, even grade school, high school college kind of thing all the way into, into the professional leagues.

And when you look at it, those people are not the always the most athletic, they’re not the most, and certainly not the most talented, not necessarily even the most on IQ scale, the most intelligent, but they are, they work very hard at what they do. And when a coach tells them that you need to do like this, they do it like that. It’s not and they can get their body that’s thing I think with athletics is they can get their body to do that at a much finer level than most people. That’s Yeah, I believe that’s the athletic talent.

And then and then as you in a study about people well in your city, Michael Jordan, you know, either listen to you know, how many shots you have to take to be really good in the game, you know, you take like, you know, 4 million for one or whatever it is, to be to be that good in the game. And most people aren’t willing to put in that time of that kind of training and effort. But and then that training and effort, asked to be better and better and better. And that’s where that coaching comes in. Like you’re saying, as those higher achievers that you work with, they listen because they know that The only way to get to that next level is to change.


Donna Marino  25:03

Yeah. Yeah. That’s cool. Yeah, it is. It is. And it just magnifies their results.


Damon Pistulka  25:10

Yes. Yes. So now what is this this talk about people retiring. So what is the what is the one thing that you got that you go people just have no idea that this you know about retirement that’s gonna be like, like, now you’re not ready for that or or you really haven’t thought about that enough?


Donna Marino  25:33

Yeah, yeah, I think we you know, we have this over glamorize view of retirement, people always say, oh, when I retire, and when someone tells you they’re retiring, you’re like, Oh, I’m so jealous. Um, but for high achieving people, it’s like, sometimes pulls the rug out from under them. And they need a plan. They think, you know, well, I’m gonna go golfing and I’m gonna go fishing, and I’m gonna, you know, there’s only so much golfing and fishing, you could do.

No offense to the golfers and fishers, but, you know, the weather’s not always gonna be right, all all kinds of things. And you’re talking about people who who like to be busy. And so after the first few months, they can be really bored and uncomfortable. And, you know, I heard a story of one person who retired who didn’t really plan for it. And he, this wasn’t my client, but another coach’s client.

And he was like, sleeping till like, one two o’clock, just because he didn’t know what to do with himself. And it passed more of the day. Yeah. And that’s sad, right? Like, no, you lived in joy. Yes. And you have to be realistic with yourself. If you write how many high achievers don’t take vacation, especially when it’s their own business. Yeah, is delivering a talk to a group of executives, and oh, my gosh, they were all like, I haven’t had a vacation in five years, or this, or I’ll just take four days. I’ll take a long weekend. Yeah.

Now one, you know, you know, this, if you’re going to sell your company, nobody’s going to buy your company if you have to be present all the time. Yep. That’s your company then. And it’s, it’s completely tied to you. And if you can’t step away, and it can still run them. Why should they buy your company? Exactly. Right. And then the other thing is when you say, No, you’re not ready for this? Yeah. If you’re not even taking vacation. Now you’re talking about like Permanent Vacation? Yes. You’re not ready, try taking a vacation? Or Yeah,


Damon Pistulka  27:59

start with baby steps. Yeah. Yeah. Well, that’s a good point. Because you know, a lot of people are like that. And high achievers almost wear like a badge of honor sometimes, which is a not that healthy, too. But it is something that I think as, as people, as far as retirement goes, I mean, you really need to know myself. And I’m not 25 and I look at it and I think about what my retirement will look like. And and I think a lot about it, I think about what what it will look like and I some of the things that you said, mentoring board positions. Yeah, I can’t feel my day with golf and everything else like that.

I can’t feel my day traveling. You know, cuz even even, I can’t tell you 365 days of traveling around the world that I would probably want to kill somebody. And it’s just because there are there are things that are, you know, yes, there’s beautiful things, and you could see those until, you know, from from birth to death, you can see the beautiful things. But there’s so much more. I think that when I look at what, what retirement is, and just for me, just like conceptually thinking about it. I don’t see how people won’t do it, if you don’t start thinking about it, you know, 1015 years beforehand, and just kind of see what your transition looks like and, and start working towards it.


Donna Marino  29:25

Yeah. Well, and in the case of owning your own business, especially a family business, talking to the other people. Right, yeah. Yeah. Sometimes when I’m like, Did you Did you talk to your kids about that, who are taking the business or, you know, whoever it is, he’s taking on the business and they’re like, Oh, that’s a good idea, right? And then that level of communication of what do we all think the transition looks like and how much time it will take and even you know, What’s my role after I retire?

And my consulting with the family? Am I out complete? Are you? You know, and sometimes sometimes family members want, you know, want the whole thing. Sometimes they think, well, this person is still going to do X, Y, and Z, I don’t have that. And they’re like, No, I’m actually retiring. So having all those conversations is, is really important, because we make assumptions about about what it looks like, or what other people think about it.


Damon Pistulka  30:33

Yeah, yeah, that’s that 100% there. Because, I mean, we, we’ve even gone into situations where there’s a family section going on, and, and the owner thinks that their children are going to take over the business, and they want nothing to do with it. And they have not discussed it yet. Right. So So and they’re sizable, I mean, sizable businesses. And it’s, it’s, it’s the kind of thing that Yeah, you got to be that. And not just you and it’s funny that it’s not funny, but it’s, it’s interesting, I’ll use the right word that you say the same thing. And I have some some wealth managers that talk about that a lot about even even after the sale.

And you know, when you talk about multi generational wealth, that the communication about, about wealth and how to do it and or how to manage it or, or intentions for their legacy and things like that, that just do not get spoken about, until it’s far too too far down the road and, or, or, or until it’s a forced thing. So I know I don’t doubt that a lot. And I think that that in and of itself, speaking to your family speaking to the end, even whether you’re selling or succeeding, really, it’s it’s it’s the same because if you just walked home one day and said, Well, I’m gonna I’m gonna retire, and nobody else is ready for it in your family that might that might come as a shock as well. But, yeah,


Donna Marino  31:59

you should definitely be talking to your spouse. If you’re here. Yeah, yeah, we’re Yeah. about it. Because the two of you may have different ideas of you know, one may think we’re we’re gonna spend every minute together the other may think like, that is suffocating. You know, sometimes the the partner that’s been staying home, right, maybe they maybe they haven’t worked, maybe they’ve stayed home. Yep. Now you’re around all the time. And they’re like, I need my Oh, yeah. There’s all all these moving parts to it. And if you don’t have those discussions, you can be disappointed. You can be angry, miscommunication. And so it’s it’s important to know what that what that looks like.


Damon Pistulka  32:49

Yes, yes. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I bet I’ve got to imagine that as people come from, into retirement, that just the, the amount of time that they have to fill is a little bit of daunting once they really realize it. And just that, not that there’s any more eight hours a day or anything like that, but but when you when you think about how much work affects in high achievers, how much it affects, when I get up where I go, when I get up, how I dress, what I do, wait, and then you go, Okay, I dress this way?

Well, it means I have to go get those clothes someplace. So I have to take the time to do that I have to traveling all these other things that are associated with it, that that really dictate your life. When those things are not there anymore. You probably have to work a lot a structure adding structure back in. Yeah. And and then be positive structure and positive influences. Because, you know, you can, it can be one of those things where, where and I’ll just use an example. Wondering can lead into five drinks a day and pretty soon, you know, we don’t drink anymore. That’s not that’s not good, either.


Donna Marino  34:08

Yeah. No, and that that does happen. And the word structure was key there because high achievers do thrive on structure. They like knowing they have to wake up and be here and when their meetings are and they liked vegetables and we like to put things in boxes, right? We like that kind of level of organization, and where to be and we like people depending on us right now knowing that we’re valuable. And so you take all that away and a lot of people can have anxiety with downtime. mind a lot of high achievers do that they’ll on the weekends have anxiety or restlessness.

They’re uncomfortable like in their own skin. Some of them can’t even watch movies, right? Because it’s sending too long. And, you know, you use the word badge earlier, I think, you know, busy has become a badge now and everyone’s so busy, so busy. So you take that badge off? And then what? So like you said, building building a structure into your day, what does that look like? You know, you wake up, maybe you exercise you, you know, you do this, you do that what? What kinds of things can you do during the week that are going to feel fulfilling to you? And that’s where I really do think that volunteering, and oh, yeah, shins are really key, I think to a successful retirement


Damon Pistulka  35:44

100% it’s just, it’s just there so many people that you can help at that point in your life. And just with, with an ear with a couple of words with some some time. You know, whatever, there’s so much. So, so much value there. For both for both parties in that. Yeah. And I do think that’s actually I look forward to that kind of thing as as I get when I retire, because I think it’s gonna be a lot of fun in some respects, because because you just use look at how much time do higher achievers have to do that while they are working. It’s zero, or very little, very little, we ought to try to try to do it. But you can’t do it nearly at the level you want to.

But if if, you know, I’ve had the fortune, fortunate experiences, knowing people that have been able to retire. And honestly, philanthropy is their full time job after they retire. How freaking cool would that be? I think it’s awesome. I just like I would just speak backflips.


Donna Marino  36:52

Yeah, yeah, I hear about on two boards right now, while while running my business, and the board work is, you know, just as rewarding as the business. And, you know, that also prepares me to and has me thinking like, Oh, I really could do this stuff full time. Yeah. Yeah. But it’s important to figure that out before you’re in the


Damon Pistulka  37:18

position. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Because, you know, you’ve seen him and I’ve seen him before to is like, they’re, they’re going 150 miles an hour, and then it comes to a screeching halt. And that screeching halt on the other side of that screeching halt is usually an accident. And and you know, we, it doesn’t have to be that way. Yeah. Yeah.

Well, the the cool part is now we’re talking about thriving while making a challenging career transition. So when you see people doing the right work, when they’re making these role changes, what are some of the real positive stuff that you see as they come out of it? Even if it’s just say something that takes them two years, but they’re working with you on this? What are the positives, you things you see out of the something like that?


Donna Marino  38:04

Yeah, yeah. It’s amazing. They will tell me all the time, what they are just a completely different person. They have gotten in touch with different sides of themselves. They didn’t even know were there, that their relationships are better. You know, I had a client who was so burned out in a new role because of that imposter syndrome. And because of always trying to prove himself all the time and his anxiety over mistakes and working together. You know, he’ll say, You’re the only reason I’m married.


Damon Pistulka  38:46

Wow, that’s awesome.


Donna Marino  38:47

Right? And so it’s so much more, yes, they get the career success. And yes, they get settled and happy in that, you know, through that transition, but they experience and I know, it’s cliche, but they experienced work life balance in a real and meaningful way. They learn how to set boundaries around their work time and their family time. They learn again, what they love to do outside of work, you know, some young people, and this is, you know, they, they don’t even know what they like anymore outside of work.

So they get to discover those parts of themselves. One executive told me that I brought out the softer side of him. And it actually helped him tremendously in his interviewing process. You know, one of one of the things that you had said before about the uncertainty and sending out your resume. Something that I tell my clients all the time is that at your level, you’re all qualified. You didn’t become an executive without being qualified.

And so your name gets you in the door, but who you are And your personality and how they connect with you and feel you is what lands you the job. And as a psychologist, I help them really identify what makes them uniquely them. And I help them bring that forward in the interviews so that they do land the role. Yeah. You have to teach them that. Yeah. Especially my salespeople, I say you’re selling yourself now. Okay. It’s harder than selling a product, because we don’t see ourselves in the same way. But you’re selling yourself. So what’s your unique selling proposition? What makes you unique?

And, and we work through that. But that’s another takeaway that people have they, they learn their, their specialness, their uniqueness, and they understand that it’s so much more than what they have achieved. So that we start separating that identity and self esteem from the achievement. Because when you do retire, and you don’t have that thing, you’re or you’re in between positions, your self esteem drops. So we start identifying those, those strengths and uniquenesses that yes, show up at work, but show up in their relationships and show up in the other areas of their life. So that that part of them is always there, no matter what’s going on externally to them.


Damon Pistulka  41:26

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s, that’s really cool. That’s really cool. Because it is, it is, it is that transition time is the time when you do just need to take a breath and and do something else once in a while and really figure out different things. And, and, and I imagine that’s a lot of the retirement too. It’s just a little different spin on you don’t have the The second piece of that is trying to find the new role. You know, what your new role is? You just have to figure out how that looks.


Donna Marino  41:58

Right. Right. So like with the ones that are looking for jobs, first, we still have to build structure into the day. That’s Yeah, retirement. So we we build a structure that the job is looking for a new job, but we’ll set the boundaries around that because you can’t do that. 24 seven? And how are you going to enjoy your life in the other hours? Right? The retirement some piece of that is, is looking for new opportunities to fill your time, but hopefully you set some of them that up right before you actually hire you’re you’re looking for those board positions, you’re identifying organizations that you want to volunteer at, or you know what you want your philanthropy to look like?


Damon Pistulka  42:46

Yeah, yeah. That’s cool. That’s cool. So what what advice, parting advice, because we’re getting near the end of our time today, so what parting advice would you have for people that are, are in this challenging transition of a job role transition? And then we can we can talk about retirement separately real quick.


Donna Marino  43:10

I think one thing is to not be afraid to ask for help. High achievers, historically, you know, we’re used to being successful. So we often will say, I can handle this on my own, I can handle this on my own. Yeah. So asking for help. And then I’ve seen people, you know, use the term soft skills, right? And that are people skills or emotional intelligence.

Well, I’m sorry, but business is all about relationships, whether you’re in an interview, whether you’re trying to sell something, you know, whether you’re trying to manage people, it’s all about relationships. So don’t underestimate the power of the investment in those soft skills. Because you can have someone read your your resume and your LinkedIn page, and I do some of that with you, because I’m bringing your personality into it. But you can do all these strategic things. And if you’re not feeling confident, if you don’t know how you’re coming off to other people, if you can’t make a real connection in that interview. You’re toast.


Damon Pistulka  44:21

Yeah, that’s great. That’s great advice. And you’re right. It is that that USP for you, it’s a unique your unique selling proposition, and it’s got to get get through in that interview.



Yep. Yeah. So people in retirement, what’s it What’s your big piece of advice for that for?


Donna Marino  44:44

Plan early, you know, AV have a three to five year exit plan and talk to all the people in your life, that that retirement is going to impact because they should be a part of your your planning. process, and then get really curious, get really curious about who you are, what you like, what life would look like without that job or that role. But curiosity is such a gift to us. And you see kids, right? They’re curious, they’ll ask him questions, they’ll stick their hands and things and all this kind of exploration, we have to embody that again. And that curiosity and exploration is gonna open up really a whole new world for you that you get to step into in that retirement.


Damon Pistulka  45:40

That’s awesome. I just thought I thought about as like, that’s awesome. Because it is that whole new world. And it’s back to what you’re talking about thriving while making a challenging career transition? Well, it’s those pieces of advice, I think are very good. Just Just sage advice for people to be able to, to help to achieve that, that transition and come out of it much better. So Donna, it’s such a pleasure to talk with you today. And I’m so thankful that you’re able to stop by today. If people want to reach out to you is what’s the best way to do it is to contact you on LinkedIn or website or what’s what’s the best.


Donna Marino  46:22

All of the above? You know, LinkedIn is Dr. Donna Marino, Dr. Actor and you can even email me Donna at Dr. Donna Marino comm website is the same Dr. Donna Marino so if you type that in, you’re gonna find me. All right,


Damon Pistulka  46:41

all right, well, and we’ll have that in the links and stuff as well with the with the blog post the YouTube stuff. So Donna, thanks so much for today for being with us. Thanks everyone for listening. And you will be able to see this on this post. Again, if you didn’t catch it all you can come back to the post and do it and if you look next week, you’ll be able to see it on YouTube and and on our website, the zero way website under our blog posts for the face of business. So we will be back again next Tuesday. And we will be talking with more interesting people about life and business. So thanks everyone. See ya.

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