Development and Learning – The Continuum of Growth

Sara Ferguson Photography

A Steady Climb

“I am not a has-been.  I am a will be.” ~Lauren Bacall

We are always becoming.  New brain science is teaching us that.  We used to think that once we reached adulthood that we stopped developing.  Not only that, we thought it was only downhill from there.  Now we know that that is not the case.  New information about the plasticity of the brain helps us to understand that we never stop learning and developing.  As we age, our lives are not only not diminished, but we have a great potential to recreate and reinvent ourselves.

As a life and business coach, people often come to me wanting help managing a transition or figuring out how to be a “will be.”  The people who are the most successful in life are fully engaged in their continued development.  They are relentlessly curious, they yearn for new experiences, and they challenge themselves to stretch in  new ways.  But how do you that?

I have interviewed people that have done it, (sorry, no, I didn’t get a chance to chat with Lauren Bacall) and they all tell me that they do it by: (1) getting a coach, therapist or mentor; (2) being relentlessly optimistic; (3) and, by believing in themselves!  One person that told me this was Karl Miller.

Among the things Karl Miller got for his 50th birthday, the spring of 2008, was a pink slip. His contract at Freddie Mac had been cut, after he’d spent two years helping to fix the company’s troubled accounting processes. His next gig was to have started in September 2008 at AIG. That of course, didn’t happen.  After a 25-year career in finance, Mr. Miller found himself at a crossroads. Although he is a good networker, he had no job prospects.

Fast forward, and Karl has a successful furniture company,, a dream come true for him.  His furniture, echoing his own journey of transformation, reclaims and reuses vintage pieces and turns them into uber-cool furniture and accessories.

Taking a financial career and becoming a furniture maker sounds like fun to a lot of people.  If it weren’t for that nagging fear of the unknown, “Can I really do it?”  It may be a leap of faith, but Karl Miller is a great example of why you should believe in yourself and take a flying leap with, “I can do it!”

I share more stories like Karl Miller in my presentation Transformation  Mojo.   And if you would like a complimentary session to discuss how coaching might help you do your dream job you can schedule a session at the website of Dr. Lynn K. Jones.


  1. KymberlyFunFit on May 16, 2011 at 1:24 am

    Have you read the book, “The Brain That Changes Itself”? Super interesting and readable, supporting what you are saying about brain plasticity (aks “neural plasticity”). So much to learn and the more we learn, grown, and change, the more updated wiring we load into our brains. Love the Lauren Bacall quote!

    • Santa Barbara Coach on May 16, 2011 at 6:13 pm

      I have that book sitting on pile…will pull it out and put it on the top. Isn’t it exciting to think that we can change some of that old wiring?

  2. Lisa Angle on May 26, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    I’ve heard that continually learning new things will help people live longer and help their minds stay sharper while they do.

    • lynnkjones on May 26, 2011 at 9:55 pm

      No down side to that! Thanks for sharing, Lisa!

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