Banking on a Future as a Life Coach

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At 39, Rick Watson was a banker, making good money and providing for his family. But despite his solid financial footing, Watson saw himself doing only what needed to be done — not what he wanted to do.

So after 11 years in banking, Watson went to a life coach, seeking guidance and perspective. In the sessions, he realized that what intrigued him was the coaching itself — and he could suddenly see his next career move.

Rick Watson in his office.

Rick Watson in his office in northwest Portland, Oregon. Ketzel Levine, NPR hide caption

toggle caption Ketzel Levine, NPR

A year-long program followed, with class work and supervised training. Then Watson double-dipped as a private banker and life coach until February, when he turned 40. The family has had to adjust since Watson resigned from his banking post — for now, his income is hovering below $20,000 a year.

But Watson says good times are ahead. And his leap of faith has brought color and texture back into all his relationships. "Everything else," he says, "will work out."

Watson says his new outlook can be summed up in a story from his days in Japan. A friend who had been diagnosed with stomach cancer gave him a bit of verse by the haiku poet Matsuo Basho before leaving for home: A fire has burned my hut to the ground — how much better to see the moon! "I didn't understand it at first," Watson says, "but I am beginning to see it now."



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