When Rick Lavin decided that it "was time to turn in my briefcase" as a lawyer with Bank of America, he spent six months seeing coach Ralph Roberto to figure out how to do it. Roberto, he says, was "my sounding board."
Was quitting a frustrating situation worth giving up power and prestige? Roberto pressed him. Did Lavin have the will to create a new career? In both cases, the answer was yes.
"We have a pretty rigorous assessment process that helps people focus on the fundamentals: What really drives me? What would be my ideal life?" says Roberto, a managing partner at Essex Partners in Boston.
In Lavin's case, his longtime love of the Massachusetts seashore and an interest in art and architecture were the elements that steered him toward seaside real estate development, or as Lavin prefers to put it, "building beach houses that are works of art."
His company, Goodheart Properties, is completing its second project, this one inside a national park. The career change was no day at the beach; Lavin had to learn the construction business from the ground up.
But he also brought some significant assets with him: His legal skills have been essential to securing various regulatory approvals, and his general management acumen has helped him deal with architects, engineers, surveyors, landscapers, and the myriad other members of his current team.
Lavin still meets with Roberto every six weeks or so, but he has no doubt he has found his calling: "I'm working as hard as I ever did, but I love what I do. I've recaptured all the old excitement I used to have about work."