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Experience Life

Mike Caracalas Texas Leadership Coach

In my last post, I shared the mission of Caracalas Travel.  It’s been a while since that post, primarily because I was busy wrapping things up at my (then) current place of employment.  The intention I shared in my first blog post is now complete… my last day in the corporate world was last Wednesday.  It’s time now to launch my broader mission.  This post is a bit longer than what I intend to post going forward, but I want it to stand as the context for what I do next.

As you can imagine, over the past several weeks as I’ve talked with colleagues and friends about my career change, I am always asked: “well, what are you going to do?”  Having taught others during my career about being prepared with the “elevator pitch,” I’m a little disappointed in myself that I have not been crisp enough in answering that question.  So, here it is, in a format I find much more suitable than a 15 second elevator ride.

It is my personal and professional mission to A) Experience Life fully; B) Help others Experience Life fully; and C) Earn a living and support my family by pursuing A and B.  I’m seeking to achieve all 3 through a combination of writing, consulting, coaching, teaching, speaking, and yes, selling travel.  I think it’s impossible to distill the concept of “experiencing life” into a finite set of dimensions, but for purposes of this writing, and as a structure for building my business, I’ll sort it into three.

The first is what I’ve already talked about in my last post.  We experience life through the tangible experiences, and accompanying memories, that we share with others.  The best example for me is vacation and travel.  This is what Caracalas Travel is all about, and is, of course, the initial thrust of my newfound entrepreneurial career.  But most of us don’t get to spend our lives on vacation (and if we did, would it still be called a vacation?).

So, the second dimension for me is that of career.  Much has been written about the pursuit of meaning in the work that we do for a living.  For many people, a strong alignment between career and personal values results in a deep sense of purpose in their lives.  Unfortunately, for many others, this sense of purpose is elusive in their day-to-day work.  As you read in my first blog post, one of my fears was having people think I was nuts for stepping away from my traditional career.  I’m sure there are some that think that, but by far, the most common reaction I get is envy.  They tell me they would love to do something similar, BUT… (fill in the blank).  Too many people lead unsatisfying work lives.  Having spent nearly 20 years on the Human Resources side of corporate America (with my Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology), I’ve got lots of experience, anecdotes, and theories about why this is the case.  As I prepared for my own career change, I discovered a rich community of like-minded people seeking meaning in their career outside the normal boundaries.  Some of the significant leaders in this space for me were Jonathan Fields (and his book Career Renegade), Pamela Slim (of Escape from Cubicle Nation fame), and AJ Leon.  I seek to bring my own contribution to this community, through my blog and other projects.

The third dimension to my view of “experiencing life” (and hence my business), is that of personal effectiveness.  I think truly living up to our potential is a critical part of living life to the fullest.  If we’re falling short of our potential, or holding something back, then by definition we are not experiencing life at its fullest.  I’ve been trained in many methods of coaching, and the common denominator in the ones that I value most is a perspective that we already possess great potential.  The challenge is unleashing it.  Usually, what gets in the way is our own head, not a lack of knowledge or potential.  From the first psychology class I took in college 24 years ago, I’ve had a deep interest in how our minds work.  In recent years, tremendous advances in the study of neuroscience have built our understanding of what holds us back, and what propels us toward meeting our potential.  In addition to writing about it, I intend to build a training and coaching practice around this concept.

At first glance, this sounds like a lot (probably because it is, I know!).  Building a travel business, writing, coaching, training, and consulting…  just pick one Mike.  I see it differently.  The theme of “experiencing life” provides the glue that holds these activities together.  Building the travel agency fulfills a dream of directly building my own business.  At the same time, I don’t want to walk away from the skills and elements that I love from my first career.  I’m just finding a new forum to express myself and exercise those skills.

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  1. Judy Issokson on March 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Mike, I’m impressed and delighted with your New Turn. And yes, you CAN do lots of things at once (it’s called an integrated life). Aspire! Reach! Explore! Happy for you. Please keep me informed. I’ve been a fan of your way before Facebook! Judy

  2. Mike Whillock on March 15, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    24 years ago? Man you’re old!!!

    Congrats on the new venture, Mike. I’m sure it and you will be a great success.

    Mike Whillock

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