Blanka Vun Kannon had a successful career in one of the largest global professional services firm, with a clear path to partnership.
She was definitely on top of that game. But it was no longer a game at which she wanted to play.
She felt exhausted. She felt more and more detached from what was truly important to her. So, she left it. With no game plan.
By remaining open and creating space to let things come to her, she re-discovered a passion for teaching and coaching. And so, a new path forward was born.
Here is Blanka’s story, in her own words.
(Keep reading as below the post, you’ll see a short video of my recorded conversation with her, where she talks about a fear common to those thinking about a career change.)
Second Breaks: Tell us about yourself, Blanka? What do you now? What did you do before this?
Blanka Vun Kannon: I am a personal empowerment coach. I help others to create happy and successful life through one-to-one coaching and inspirational workshops in the USA and the Czech Republic.
I also write an inspirational blog on my website. I started my new profession in September 2012, after a two-year long career break.
Prior to that, I worked as an audit director and spent 14 years in one of the largest international consulting companies.
I am Czech and spent most of my life in the Czech Republic. I now live in the US. This is the second time life has brought me to the USA to live and work here. The first time was a work opportunity, and the second time, my marriage.
SB: How did you get started with your new career?
BVK: My new career happened in 3 stages.
Stage 1 was leaving my corporate job.
I was successful at my work and had prospects of growing to the partnership level. But I was also very exhausted.
I felt that my job was less and less allowing me to express who I was. I felt I needed more flexibility and control over my time.
When I left my job, I had no idea what I was going to do next. Many people were offering help to find something in the world of finance or accounting. But I knew deep down that this was not my heart’s calling anymore.
I had a vague feeling that I might start my own business in a way of self-employment. I wanted something that would allow me to create from my heart and help others be happy. But I didn’t know what it would be and had no plan.
Stage 2 started about 6 months into my career break.
I received a random newsletter with a reference to a Canadian author named Crystal Andrus. Crystal founded the S.W.A.T. Institute—an intensive coaching program dedicated to empowering women.
I checked it out and in an instant, I knew that this was a program for me, to learn and grow and perhaps become a coach.
Within months, I was pulled into another coaching certification founded by Denise Linn, called Soul Coaching®, which literally changed my life on all levels.
I was also attracted to the work of Dr. Robert Holden and studied happiness and authentic success with him.
All major sources of my coaching education came to me rather than me finding them. In each case, I felt a huge resonation in my heart to go in this particular direction.—Blanka
It was becoming clearer to me that coaching is my calling.
Stage 3 was the most profound step and that was the actual launch of my new career.
Do not imagine a scheduled event with a glass of champagne, though. Again, I didn’t plan anything.
One day, a friend asked about my coaching rates. Well, I didn’t have any “rate”. I was not considering myself to be a coach yet, even though I already had my Soul Coaching® certification at that time.
In my eyes, I was just getting ready to be a coach. But since she asked, I came up with my introductory rate the next day.
Having a rate made all the difference and put things into motion.
Two weeks later I was attending a local social event and a random acquaintance asked about my coaching services and rates. This time, I was ready and I got booked for the first time.
And that’s how my coaching career started, without a website or even a business card.
That was September 2012, two years after I jumped into the unknown and opened myself to the new.
SB: Was leaving your corporate career and making that leap an easy decision? What was your biggest fear/challenge?
BVK: I hope it doesn’t sound overly optimistic, but making the leap for me was relatively easy, in a way that I gave myself a permission to follow my heart.
My corporate job was my whole identity at that time. What helped me walk away from it was that I started to really listen to my heart and love myself. To love that little girl inside me and cherish who she was. Her dreams.
When I created that inner connection to my soul, it was no longer difficult to make such a major change.
I also created space for things to happen and come to me rather than very actively reaching out and searching.
Women’s energy is magnetic so when a woman is in balance she can attract a lot of things into her life. Being overly active is depleting for a woman and that is the main thing I am trying to change compared to how I lived and worked in my first act.
SB: What were some of your challenges as you created and pursued your new career? How are you addressing them?
BVK: I would start with what was NOT my biggest fear or challenge: finances. Let me explain.
I made clear priorities for myself—my happiness is more important than keeping the lifestyle I used to have. So, I didn’t buy a house as I always planned, before taking a career break.
Instead, I used my life savings to support myself during the break and invest into my coaching education. Through that, I gained the freedom I have now.
I’m also not worried about where my business will go or how profitable it will be. I trust that if I am meant to do this work and will do it as best as I can, life will provide for me abundantly.
The main challenge for me is to stay true to myself and do my work from the place of love rather than fear.
Any time we compare ourselves to somebody else—and there are many life coaches out there against whom I can compare myself—there is a risk that we will start feeling not good enough, not successful enough.
Respecting myself, my own pace, my own progress, is the most important AND at the same time the most challenging thing.
Every day, I spend time on keeping myself balanced and grounded.
I practice tai-chi, read inspirational books and make time for regular reflections on my life. I also continue studying with all my coaching teachers and never stop working on becoming more loving, mindful and compassionate.
I used to perceive all this inner work as something which doesn’t count as “work”. Now I know how wrong I was! This inner work is the most important part of everything I do.
Part of being a personal empowerment coach is to “walk the talk”. I want to inspire my clients about following one’s heart and create a safe space for them to discover their own heart’s voice. For this, being true to myself even if it means being different is essential.
I am my own brand; my time, energy and creativity are my main “assets”. It is up to me to take care of them in the best possible way.
Here’s a recorded conversation I had with Blanka, where we talked about a challenge common to folks who move away from a long-standing career.
Huge thanks to Blanka for sharing her story with Second Breaks.