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Meet Carolyn Birsky of Compass Maven in Cambridge

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carolyn Birsky.

Carolyn, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My whole life I’ve wanted to help other people. In middle school and high school, that meant being the friend that everyone turned to work out the challenges they were facing. When going off to college and thinking about what sort of career I should set myself up for, that meant majoring in psychology and wanting to become a therapist.

Yet, as I was about to graduate, I realized that I wasn’t really sure if becoming a therapist was right for me. With not much time left until graduation and no clue what else I wanted to do, I decided to give corporate sales a try because many adults in my life told me I’d be good at it and had the personality for it.

This led me to an almost 6-year long career where I was a top performer and great at my job but kept feeling like something was missing. I kept coming back to this desire to help other people – particularly other women – and no matter how good I was at my job or how much money I made, my corporate sales roles didn’t feel like they were meeting this core value of mine.

Then one day, when I was about 26 or 27, I took a webinar led by a life coach and it changed my life. I was introduced to a whole new field that I’d never even heard of. It encompassed all of the things I loved about psychology but was more forward-thinking and action-oriented. All of a sudden this voice in me said “I want to do that!” and I knew I was onto something.

So I got myself a life coach to make sure I understood and liked the process – which I did immediately – and enrolled in iPEC (the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching) to get my coaching certification.

I kept working in sales while I was getting my certification and actually planned to move into sales management, where I thought I’d use my coaching skills in that capacity for a few years before starting my own practice. But life has funny ways of showing you what you’re actually meant to do and I ended up leaving my corporate job in October of 2016 to start my business, Compass Maven.

In building Compass Maven, I knew I wanted to help other women who felt like I had: women who knew they were meant for great things, but were confused about what they want to do with their lives and were seeking clarity on their path forward. And here I am, a certified life + career coach doing just that!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Definitely not a smooth road. While I loved certain aspects of each of my sales jobs, the majority of my 20s were spent questioning what I was doing and seeking clarity on what would be truly fulfilling for me. There were lots of days where I cried in the bathroom at work (or even directly to my bosses) and many conversations with friends and family about how confused I felt.

However, all of that struggle and confusion absolutely led me to where I am today. It gave me the experience necessary to empathize with my clients and what they are going through. It gave me an understanding of how the corporate world works and fueled a passion for improving the employee engagement within organizations.

And since starting my business, there have been different struggles. Entrepreneurship is hard, especially when you’re a one-woman show. While I absolutely love what I do, not all aspects of running a business are shiny and fun.

But again I see all of this as part of my journey and a giant learning process. I like to say to my clients that sometimes you have to go through some really tough stuff to get to some really good stuff. Each of the challenges I have faced has helped me to grow and appreciate the sweet stuff every time it shows up.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Compass Maven – what should we know?
At Compass Maven, I help women in their 20s + 30s gain the clarity and confidence they need to get unstuck and go after what they want in their lives and careers. I do this through 1-on-1 coaching, workshops, and content, and I work with clients both locally and all over the country.

So much of the first 10-15 years out of college involves other people’s opinions of what we should do with our lives or their definitions of success, that it can be hard to hear or trust our own voices. Therefore, I empower my clients to reconnect with their inner selves so that they can live life on their own terms and can create a path that feels authentic to them.

I think people are drawn to me because my story is relatable and I believe in collaboration over competition. There is enough room at the table for all of us and I always look for ways to bring more women along with me.

My goal in everything I do – both in my business and life – is to support other women and help them become the best versions of themselves. I deeply believe in the power of female friendships and love to introduce women who I think will benefit from knowing one another. In fact, I’ve even started a dinner series locally with my friend, Bailey Reagan, called Confidence Dinners, which seeks to facilitate these sorts of female connections.

Ultimately, my business is a reflection of what I’ve learned throughout my 20s and my firm belief that every woman is worthy and powerful. I’m most proud of having created a business that helps women step into their own power and break through the blocks that have been holding them back.

Watching those “ah ha” moments when my clients’ perspectives suddenly shift and things become clearer for them is the most rewarding feeling in the world.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I think the quality that is most important to my success is my ability to connect with other people. In a service-based business like coaching, the connection you build with your clients is extremely important to building a trusting relationship so they feel comfortable doing the inner work associated with the coaching process.

From a young age, I was someone who would strike up a conversation with other kids on the playground or with someone in line at the post office. Putting myself out there has been something that has always come naturally to me, and because I’m comfortable and real in my interactions with others, it puts people around me at ease.

This ability to connect with others has opened up many job opportunities, new client opportunities, and general connections in my life that have helped me get where I am today.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Abbey Frattini

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