Who I Work With and Why I Do It
Hi, my name is Joan “Raven” Friedlander. I have been coaching independent service business owners and professionals since January 2001.
The people I work with have a passion for service, excellence and contribution. Their success is not only measured financially, but by the satisfaction and success they experience when they are able to do the work that expresses what’s most meaningful to them.
My background includes 35 years engaged in personal and professional development, business administration and management, health benefits, human resources and career development.
My diverse background equips me to understand a variety of business functions - and types of services - that the people I coach engage with. My work experience includes retail bookstore management, financial coaching, employee benefits, personnel management, staff training and development, small business ownership and business coaching.
In 2008 I co-wrote Women, Work and Autoimmune Disease with Rosalind Joffe, and was invited to write a second book by Demos Health, Business from Bed, in which I offer guidance to business owners getting back to work after a serious health set back. My motivation? My own experience - and success - wading through a 13 year trial and error process figuring out how to navigate work with Crohn’s Disease (now in remission for 14 years).
Why Do I Do It?
When I was 16 years old I told my parents that I believed people had the right - and deserved - to do work they love. You might say it was my first mission statement. It took me over a decade to land in a position that seemed tailor made for me.
After taking a course called The Career Playground I went to work at a national bookstore chain where I discovered a home for my various skills in an environment that I loved. I was surrounded by books! I started as a bookseller and ended my tenure as a store manager, with a dual role training new bookstore managers. It was in this position that I first learned about coaching as a management style, and I took to it quite naturally. I loved it.
I was asked to vacate my training position several months after I became ill with Crohn's disease. I was devastated, and a few months later I left the company. It sent me back to the proverbial drawing board. What am I going to do now?! It took about 7 years and a few more jobs before I started my coaching business.
As difficult as my illness was, it also gifted me with a new level of awareness.
I had a bird's eye view of the challenges people like me face...
How can you be successful doing meaningful work when you don't have the time, energy or desire to keep up with the ridiculously fast pace of today's business environment?
This isn't only about people with underlying health issues, this is for all of us.
They say you teach what you have to learn
Although I don’t classify myself as a typical workaholic or type-A personality, I'm a consummate "good soldier" and I can fail to notice when I've overextended myself in service of others. I do not like to disappoint people and I pride myself on being reliable.
My illness demanded I pay attention. I had to figure out how to maintain a viable career against the backdrop of the unpredictability associated with managing a difficult chronic illness. It took 13 years of trial and error with medicines, health care, and critical lifestyle choices to put my symptoms into full remission.
Due to the nature of my symptoms, and the relative inflexibility of the corporate workplace, I had to use disability leave when the more acute symptoms of Crohn's overwhelmed me. The last time this happened was in 2000. I was out for 2 months, the longest period of time to date.
Something profound happened during that time off, which was highlighted when I returned to work.
I went to lunch with some of my office friends and noticed how fast they were walking just to get to lunch!
I watched in amazement as my fellow employees:
... rushed out to door and down the elevator and to their cars
... in order to get to the restaurant early enough to order quickly enough
... so they could eat lunch (and maybe relax for a few minutes) and get back to the office on time.
I didn't know, until I returned that day, that I had settled into my body relaxed and upright, while they were still pitched forward to stay ahead of some imagined pressure.
I told myself I'd never speed up like that again, and I haven't.
As you can imagine these experiences gave rise to a serious investigation into the nature of work today. I had a birds-eye view of the damaging effects of the relentless pursuit of more in place of “enough.”
It starts with a clear set of practices and standards. I call it The Way We Do Things Around Here.
Projects, Education and Affiliations
Guest Blogger: RARE Daily, The Employment Plan and Adapting to Limitations, 2014 to 2017
Certified Living Your Design Guide: Education, Training and Certification, 2010-2017
Volunteer, Pilot Small Business Mentoring Program, Green America, 2010-2011
Director of Training and Licensing, Get Clients Now! ™ 2005-2009
President, Orange County Chapter of the International Coach Federation, 2004
Leadership Team, Orange County Chapter of the International Coach Federation, 2002-2006
Graduate, Corporate Coach University, 2005
Volunteer Coach, Working Wardrobes, Career guidance for teens in the Orange County, CA foster care system, 2002
Certified Work Less, Make More (R) Coach, 2001