Expert Advice / Nancy McCabe '78
By Laura Tiffany
If life is a journey, people like life coach Nancy
McCabe ’78 are the tour guides—helping you
decide where to go and how to get there, a task
McCabe has also performed for herself throughout
her eclectic career.
As a political science major at Pomona, she
was on her way to a life in government when an
internship in Washington D.C. left her disillusioned
about politics—the agency she worked for
ended up being exposed on a 60 Minutes piece on
governmental fraud. McCabe turned to
media. After an internship at a Los Angeles TV station,
she found production work on a CBS
series, did a three-year stint at an ad agency
working in corporate programming, and eventually
landed at Warner Brothers and Lifetime producing
While she loved the creative process, she was
more interested in the challenges confronting
her colleagues than the scripts they were trying
to develop. After exposure to a business coach at
a retreat, she found her new calling.
After completing an 18-month certification
program, she started her life coaching and executive
consulting business, Greatview Consulting,
in Santa Monica, Calif. in 2000. Coaching, she
says, is about “finding solutions for people based
on what they’re really about, what motivates
them and what their strengths are.”
If you’ve got a goal you dream of pursuing—
whether it’s a big move, a career transition, early
retirement or even simply a better quality of
life—McCabe suggests that you ask yourself
these questions first and pay close attention the
answers to create a solid path that will get you to
Why do I want this?
Is this goal something you are truly compelled to pursue, or is it
because it just seems right or you’re worried
about your future? Goals are not one size fits all;
notice what gets you out of bed in the morning
and what gets you truly inspired. You’ll start to
identify your core values—whether that’s creativity,
security, adventure, recognition, helping people
or another value. The best way to accomplish
your essential aims is to align your values with
your goals and priorities.
What’s holding you back?
By listening to your inner critics—and perhaps your outer critics—
you will discover where you stop yourself
and why. Perhaps you’re afraid something didn’t
work for someone else or it frustrated you in the
past. Review the old tapes running through your
mind to find out if these criticisms are still relevant
for you now.
How am I looking at this?
Your perspective has a huge impact. If you look at life from a
frightened or cautious viewpoint, chances are
you’ll never make a move. If there’s a good reason
to be wary, pay attention to your instincts
and take it slow. Conversely, if you look at your
choices from a more open-minded perspective,
your goal might not feel so risky. By having a
more positive outlook, you’ll see more options
and it’ll be easier to determine the best route to
How does this impact your entire life?
It’s admirable to pursue the big promotion, but how
will the added responsibilities impact you and
your family? If you save every dime for an early
retirement, will you miss out on things that
you’d like to enjoy now? Consider the full
impact of your goals and take everything into
account. If it all still adds up to the right move,
you’re ready for action.
Who do I need around me to help make this
People like to be helpful. Call your
mentors and friends—this isn’t a time to be self-conscious
or tentative. Your supporters will be
pleased to help you since, by this point, your
determination and clarity will be so appealing.
Your commitment to your goal makes it easy to
give you a hand.
How will I ever get there?
You’ll be much more satisfied with your journey if you give
yourself some little victories along the way to
your big goal. Distill your giant goal into
defined, manageable and attainable steps. Set
milestones. Measure your results. Reaching these
smaller goals won’t just make you feel good, but
it will give you a sense of momentum and success
on the way to your ultimate destination.