• Michelle Carlen

A Story of Christmas, A Broken Elbow and A Pandemic

Updated: Dec 20, 2021

This month I am celebrating the two-year anniversary of my company’s formation – Alignment Advising. What an adventure it has been from a hilarious and painful (literally) start to ongoing challenges through the pandemic.


How It Began:


After 20+ years in the hospitality industry, I came to a critical crossroad in early 2019, one that would alter my trajectory either forward in a new direction or continuing a similar path. I chose the former – to pursue time to evaluate where I had been in my career and where I wanted to go.


Honestly, it was challenging as I faced unexpected job loss. If you have not experienced it, it can be one of the most difficult life events. And this was before the COVID-19 pandemic. Job loss can feel isolating and not in a fun way. For me, I began to doubt. I doubted my abilities, experience, and talents to who I really was. Rather than focus on all that for too long, I decided to pull myself up, dust myself off, and focus on what results and value I had given to every place I had worked at throughout my career. It was more than just marketing and sales expertise. I had been providing tools to teams of people I managed, helping departments better integrate, and redirecting organizations to become more strategic in how they used resources and the type of workplace culture they created.


While searching for a full-time job, I ended up with a part-time one. And while I was doing that the idea for Alignment Advising took form. What I realized is that I wanted to reshape small organizations AND individuals to become better by making small adjustments and improvements in a variety of capacities and ways.


Roadblocks Along the Way:


Has it been easy? No, far from it. I got my business license on December 19, 2019. And just one week later, there I was celebrating Christmas with my best friend’s family, just having a grand old time. Then suddenly I slipped in my socks dancing in the kitchen to Christmas music and poof, I broke my elbow. Ouch….!


So, with a broken elbow I carefully started 2020 with a soft launch of my business through social media on January 13th. It was a flurry of emotions. Especially ironic as I was promoting “alignment” while here I was completely out-of-alignment. This was not ideal timing, but I knew the broken elbow would heal (not as quickly as I would have liked). So, I pushed on and decided to delight and soar with the exposure I was gaining in my new business.


I gained new clients while losing others, but then I could see this was all really going to work for me in the end. AND THEN…. Friday the 13th happened in March when the World Health Organization announced the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, what followed is the unfolding of a staggering history I hope we will not forget as it continues to be written even into 2022. Clients who were going to sign contracts that same week bowed out of their verbal commitments. And as the months progressed, it was clear the collateral damage of the COVID-19 was just rearing its ugly head.


While these events unfolded, I had to quickly adapt and pivot to figure out what services could I offer to the hospitality industry which was being dismantled piece-by-piece it seemed like with the banishment of being “in-person.” Virtual took hold and I had to embrace it.


I quickly determined I could offer my resume writing and job preparation skill services to those who were furloughed or laid off. Additionally, I had to get creative to find new business clients outside of the hospitality industry which had fed me to that point. I expanded and offered services outside my comfort zone. At times I wondered if I was making progress, but I kept going.


What Does the Future Look Like?


Now here we are at the close of 2021 and I am serving clients in a variety of industries not just hospitality/tourism but those in financial, professional services, healthcare, and manufacturing industries. I am learning so much and grateful for every person that I connect with as I believe opportunities abound through our connections.


I could not have predicted two years ago that this is where I would be now. While I also plan and strategize for the future, what unfolds in the future, just like with anything, remains a mystery. I embrace this journey and I hope that by sharing my own story of tragedy and triumph you are inspired to keep going through your own ups and downs and you do so with great purpose and intent to be successful – IT IS POSSIBLE.


About Alignment Advising:


Alignment Advising is a boutique business consulting and professional development coaching firm that supports organizations and individual in reaching their goals and success with greater ease.

By identifying roadblocks, navigating, and overcoming challenges, “alignment” is reached through the readjustment of resources, creation of effective plans and strategies, and the development of professional tools and training.


Schedule a 30-minute discovery consultation to get started. https://calendly.com/alignmentadvising


#success #alignment #businessowner #entrepreneur #womeninbusiness #motivationalstories #inspiration #findingpurpose




86 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All