424. A Crash Course in Career Change
Twenty years ago, Dan died twice. The first time was when his vehicle was hit from the side; the second was in the hospital E.R. Resuscitated twice in one day, recovering miraculously, he went back to his fund manager job. He was grateful to be there, but he also began to consider some dramatic changes.
Dan Sheedy is a senior executive coach with Novateur Partners. He coaches high-performing, high potential clients—including senior executives, lawyers and managers—across geographies and industries. He is both a skilled executive coach and an expert in helping individuals perform at the highest levels. Prior to his transition into coaching in 2011, he held senior management roles in the investment management and hedge fund industries. He also served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. He received his coach training through the Coaches Training Institute, and is credentialed through the International Coach Federation. Dan has an MBA in management from Golden Gate University in San Francisco, California, and a BS in finance from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
“I had always thought of myself as not being quite up to doing math and academics. I was absolutely horrendous in math until a high school math teacher introduced me to the HP 12C financial calculator. For the first time in my life, I saw that I could actually do well academically, I just have to explore different ways of doing things, rather the follow the sequential logic most people use. I decided I needed more discipline to learn this way—and I’ve always been competitive—so I went for the most disciplined thing you could possibly do: I joined the Naval ROTC and became an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. I figured that was about as extreme as you get.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
Dan died in a car crash on January 1, 1997. “My vehicle was hit from the side, ‘T-Boned,’ flipped three times and hit a telephone pole. I died and was revived on the scene, then revived again in the ER, and was in a coma. In an experimental type surgery, 24 platinum coils were implanted in my brain. My skull was fractured, and they had to rebuild the top of my head and my shoulders. I broke every rib in my chest, punctured my lungs. The doctors said I would be hospitalized three to four months, but I walked out in 31 days.” Although Dan returned to work as a fund manager, he recalls, “Coming out of the accident as I did, I was always asking myself, ‘Is this all there is? How do I really contribute and make a difference?’ That’s when I was introduced to the idea of executive coaching and coach training.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“A coach not only provides accountability but also helps motivate, cajole and drive others to succeed. That’s where I get my greatest joy. When I hear someone has gotten a promotion or a new job and know things we worked on together have really changed their mindset and perspective, and now they are achieving the life that they want. To be a part of that is pretty rewarding. Now, I am much more engaged with people on a personal level. That is something I find absolutely gratifying. It has come from having a focus on others instead of on myself.”
Steps to Success from Dan Sheedy
1. Don’t be afraid to do it, whatever change you’re considering.
2. Have the courage to step out of a role or perception you’re locked into.
3. Ask yourself, “Is this decision wise?”
4. Get physical. Find the release physical activity can bring.
On His Bookshelf
The Payoff Principle: Discover the 3 Secrets for Getting What You Want Out of Life and Work, by Dr. Alan Zimmerman
The Art of Self-Promotion: Tell Your Story, Transform Your Career, by Debby Stone
The Best Question Ever, by Andy Stanley
Connecting With Dan Sheedy
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