Recalibrate when your stride changes

When training to run a marathon several years ago, I set my goal to finish in less than four hours. I got a Nike Triax watch with a little pod that connected to my shoe to tell me the distance I ran. It was great. I could tell my pace, heart rate, distance, so much information – it was the kind of feedback I needed to meet my goal.

Before I used it the first time, I had to calibrate it to recognize the length of my average stride so its calculations would be accurate. Periodically, through the years, I’ve done the same thing to make sure its feedback was accurate and useful for my running goals. Recently, I noticed that the distances it was recording seemed to be off so I went through the process to recalibrate it, my stride had subtly changed over the years.

Likewise, in our careers, there are tools we can employ to help take measure of our pace, the distance we’ve run and that left to reach our goals and the amount of heart we’re putting into the effort. Like my little shoe pod, it’s important that we recalibrate those tools periodically – otherwise, the feedback we’re receiving can be based on outdated information and we can end up out of breath, injured and still surprisingly far from the goal we’re trying to reach.

I keep a journal of my goals – personal, financial, professional, fitness. I regularly set goals for myself and set aside time to review where I am on reaching each goal, what I plan to do to reach the next mile marker along the way, and whether it’s a goal I still want to pursue or if I want to tweak it. For me, it helps to write them down and to establish check points where I can revisit my goals and change course, if necessary. I have a coffee mug that says “Any day I’m too busy to run is a day I’m just too busy.” It’s a reminder to me that the choices I make each day contribute to whether I am on track to reach my goal or not.

My fitness goals are easy to measure, not so easy to achieve and regular check-ins keep me on track or allow me to modify either my actions or my goals. If you’re like me, I put off training the parts that I’m not as good at and they become the last on the list, frequently getting short shrift in my workout. I’d work legs every day if I could (biceps and abs, not so much), but I know that overtraining in one area exposes weaknesses in the other muscles. A balanced fitness regimen creates lasting strength. Likewise, my personal, financial and professional goals have various check points which allow me to recalibrate my choices, my actions and sometimes the end goal and to provide for balance in all the aspects of my life. There’s truth in the old saying “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!” Regular time to evaluate my goals allows me to become conscious of the areas that are getting short shrift in the balance and encourages me to recalibrate how I make my choices going forward.

I have been working on a book about career transitions for quite a while, but haven’t been able to give it my full attention. The focus of the book has shown up in my columns over the past two years – what to do when your industry is changing and your career options seem to be shrinking and how to balance your work and your life when balance seems impossible. I have interviewed dozens of people who have made new careers for themselves, using their passions and talents in new, and sometime surprising ways, and how they have balanced that change in income and its effect on their lives during the transition period. I have also created a workshop from this material and have been teaching it, in the process, helping hundreds of people begin recalibrating their lives.

In an effort to “Walk My Talk”, I approached my colleagues at Pinnacle Group and have arranged a year-long sabbatical to allow me to complete my book and to take the workshop to a broader audience.

It is, of course, a little scary to step out of what I know into something I have wanted to do for a long time. I am encouraged by the incredible willingness of my colleagues to afford me this opportunity to do something different and by their work to ensure that all of you have complete coverage while I am away. Joseph Logan, the founder of Pinnacle Group, will continue leading new clients and the media as the key to industry insight and nuances of team building that he has been to all of us for nearly two decades. Brant Moxley, Joe Tyler, Stacy Wagner and Nkechi Mbadugha have been creative and compassionate resources to so many candidates in their searches for new roles and they are excited to continue building relationships with each of you. Steph Valland, Missy Kayser, Sandy Post and Stef Arbeiter are the backbone keeping everyone connected and in the loop. To each of them, I send my heartfelt thanks. To each of you, I send my inspiration to keep checking in on your goals and to be sure you connect with my colleagues at Pinnacle Group to help keep you on track to reach those goals in your career.

My sabbatical will begin in January 2010. If you are interested in following my progress during this year away, you can visit my sabbatical website Of course, your suggestions for folks I should meet or topics I should consider as I work on the book will be much appreciated and I will continue to post a periodic blog during my sabbatical at the website link.

Happy holidays and my sincere wishes that the new year brings your life into balance with courage to walk your own talk.

Until we meet again,


For the past 8 years, Denise Palmieri has been the Director of Client Relations at Pinnacle Group International, an executive recruiting firm specializing in building the investment professional teams in the alternative asset community. Read her past posts here.

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