376. A Career Based on Building Relationships
Early in a career she loved as a classroom teacher and administrator, Meredith knew she had a knack for helping people build relationships. When politics and bureaucracy began to bog her down, she decided to start her own company. But there was one problem: she had zero experience in business.
Meredith Bell has been an entrepreneur since 1982. She’s an expert in helping companies develop the people side of their business. Her software company’s programs are used by consultants, coaches and human resources professionals to help managers become more effective leaders. One of Meredith’s strengths is building strong relationships. She and her business partners have worked together for 25 years, and many of their clients and resellers have used their products for 20 years.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
Meredith used to play school as a child. “I can remember I always wanted to be a teacher.” In college, she thought she might want to teach English. “I took a career assessment, which showed more of a predisposition toward working with younger children. “I switched over to Elementary education and really enjoyed that. I had always loved kids, so that was a really good fit for me. It’s just that I felt the need for something more.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
After working as a classroom teacher, Meredith took a job in the school board office. “I was able to have more influence with the teachers in school. I worked in three different School divisions and the last one was really interesting. In the two years I worked there, I had two very different experiences. The second year’s experience is what launched me into starting my own business. “What’s interesting is that I had zero background in business! I had never taken any classes in sales and marketing, and not a single class in business, and yet some of the skills I had acquired over the years served me well when I decided to jump out and start working with local businesses.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“I was always really interested in observing people—watching how they get along—and in helping people. Even in the positions I’d had at the school board office, I was interested in helping people build relationships. In my head, I knew that I had that ability. I began thinking of how I could translate that into some work I could do. I decided I could help people become better communicators at work. That’s such a huge challenge!”
Steps to Success from Meredith Bell
1. Look at what you are doing in a detached way, as if it were the subject of a science experiment. This will give you objective data to work with and will help you avoid harshly judging yourself.
2. Don’t judge yourself as a failure if things don’t work out as you planned. Learn from it and try again.
3. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Humor helps.
4. Recognize that there is no such thing as THE right way. Allow yourself to improvise, adjust course and learn.
On Her Bookshelf
Crazy Good: A Book of CHOICES, by Steve Chandler
Fearless: Creating the Courage to Change the Things You Can, by Steve Chandler
Connecting With Meredith Bell
Website URL: www.StrongForPerformance.com
“How to Be a Support Coach” – 9 videos and an e-book
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