Ep: 178: How this former Hollywood Television Executive found balance as a remote life and health coach with Jackie de Crinis
In this episode, I speak with Jackie who is a former Hollywood television executive turned certified life and health coach.
Jackie decided to make a huge change when she realized that there was no off switch and work balance in her life. She knew that she could no longer allow her life to be consumed by her job.
So, she and her family moved to Hawaii where she transitioned into becoming a certified coach and now works remotely helping others find their own balance.
Listen on to find out how Jackie transitioned from TV exec to a remote certified life and health coach.
Hey everyone! Thank you so much for being here. I am super excited to speak with Jackie.
Hey Jackie, how are you?
Hi, Debbie. Good. How are you?
I am okay. It’s a difficult and weird time right now. I used to say wonderful and great, I still feel like that but just a weird time.
It is. It is definitely a time of uncertainty for sure.
So Jackie, can you tell us a little bit more about you and why you live an offbeat life?
By definition, I guess, I live an offbeat life for a couple of reasons. I live on Maui in Hawaii so that is I guess inherently offbeat since there’s only about a hundred twenty-five thousand people who live on Maui in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
I live an offbeat life because I used to have a big corporate career in Los Angeles, a career that I had for 30-plus years and I just started a brand-new career about a year ago. And I now work remotely.
Wow. Well, there’s a lot of twists and turns, I’m sure, in your story. But first, let’s get to how you actually ended up in Maui. That’s such a beautiful place, such a beautiful island. But how did you get there?
That was a process. It wasn’t kind of a point-and-click where you go to the airport, buy a one-way ticket, and just show off such a romantic notion. My husband had wanted to leave Los Angeles at some point. I was a native, I was born and raised there. I was in the process of raising two of my children there. I had a big corporate job.
He was my second husband. I met him later and we had a child together. And when we got married, he said, “You know, I really don’t want to leave in Los Angeles forever,” and I was like, “Oh! Weird. Okay.”
I’ve lived here my whole life. I don’t know anything else. It just hadn’t occurred to me to ever live anywhere else. And he was very passionate about finding another place that we could live eventually.
And I think it was sort of a pre-retirement plan, not a retirement plan ‘cause we were still quite young. But he just wanted to get you that idea of where we would live someday. And I think he wanted out of the hustle and bustle of a big city.
He had a vision that big city life probably wasn’t a sustainable life for all kinds of reasons: stress, traffic, pollution, congestion. He didn’t know anything about pandemics at that point, right? This was a very long time ago.
So in 2007, we bought a home in Maui, a second home and we traveled here a lot. And Technology has changed radically in 2009 in my business. I was a television executive and it afforded me the opportunity to be able to work from home.
And what home meant was: on weekends when I was traveling or on vacation leaves, I was always working. And he basically said, “If you’re always going to work, what’s the difference whether you’re in Los Angeles or you’re in Hawaii ‘cause you can do everything from here?”
And that sort of begs the question: what is the difference?
And so in 2009, I asked my Corporation, I worked for the USA Network for, at that point, about 10 years, but I have been in the business for 20 years I think or more, could I work remotely?
And they were very open-minded and gracious to let me have not my same job but a version of my job about half of my job and try it out. And so, they gave me a year to try it out and I did that for almost 5 years. And it worked really well and then they wanted me to come back for a bigger position and they insisted that that be on the ground back in Los Angeles in my old office.
And so, we moved back for three years while I took that job. I was head of programming for the USA Network and that was a bigger job. Before, I was head of drama series. And I did that for a couple of years more and at the end of that contract as promised, I said, “We would move back to Maui.”
And I segued to be an independent producer for a couple of years which I really didn’t love and it’s really different probably that’s more difficult to do remotely. That’s one of those jobs for you to do when you’re segueing from one thing to another. You need to be on the ground and doing it.
And I sort of said to myself, “I have the opportunity now to do anything I want to do, what did I always want to do?” And the answer was I really always want to help people. So I studied to be a life coach and that’s what I’m doing.
Well, that is definitely a lot of twists and turns like we had said before. And you had really created this incredible career for yourself which most people would love to have and then for you to leave that behind and start something completely new and relearn something, what was that transition like for you and how did you prepare for that?
That’s a great question. A lot of people were very free in sharing their opinion that I was crazy to leave at the height of my career and said, “What are you doing? Why are you moving back to a small island? Why are you giving up this prestigious position? Why are you giving up this career?”
And it was really because I had had enough. It’s a very rat racy industry. I don’t need to tell you that, it’s well known. It’s all-consuming. You live, eat, breathe, and sleep it 24/7. There’s no vacation from it and it takes a toll.
So, it’s exciting. It’s exciting when it’s lucrative, it’s exciting when there are awards, and it’s exciting when you’re on top. That’s all very exciting and there’s a lot of really wonderful people in the industry.
But it’s like having your adrenal gland just pumping 24/7 to the point where you don’t physically feel well and you get used to not feeling well. Like, you get used to being exhausted, anxious, and unmoored all the time. And you don’t even realize it but other people realize.
It’s probably why my husband wanted to live someplace else outside of Los Angeles at some point because he could see it.
And so for me, it just became very clear that my mind and body weren’t healthy and that I lived in this beautiful place and I was incongruent with the tranquility of it. Like, I was so wound up. I was always in another time zone. I was always on edge, I was always working and I thought, “It’s not how I want to live the second chapter of my life and I want to help other people who don’t want to live that life anymore.”
And interestingly enough, although I’m not specifically a career coach, although I advise a lot of people in Hollywood how to manage their careers because that’s what they call me for, mostly what I focus on is helping people find joy in their life again and work-life balance, which I had none of.
That is a really tough decision, I’m sure, that you had but in a lot of ways also kind of easy, right? Because I think you were at a point where you knew that it was time to let go even though you were at the height of your career.
So when you finally decided, “Okay, this is it I’m going to do this. I’m going to dive into this full-time,” did you have a “what now” moment after making that decision and what was that like?
I totally had a “what now” crisis. So when I first left my executive role, it’s very natural for executives to become producers, it sort of a natural segue, that transition was easy for the first two years although I did it remotely which was not easy.
And at the end of that two-year contract, I sort of had to take a hard look and say, “Is this what you want to keep doing?” And the answer was, “No, I didn’t.” I really wanted to find, as I said, something that was more soulful and felt more in alignment with the life that I was living or where I was living.
And that was where I was like, “Uh oh, what now? So if I’m not a television executive and I’m not a television producer, what do I do?” And I was talking to a friend of mine who had, at the age of 50, just finished her masters in social work and was just starting to become a family therapist.
And I said to her, “How did you make that decision?” She had never worked. I have three children, she has three children but she was a stay-at-home mom and raised her children. But here she was making this decision to go to graduate school and start a career.
And I said, “What helped you make that decision,” and she said, ”Oh I had a great life coach.” And, ironically, my sister is a life coach. So my sister’s name is Debbie Colden and she has been a life coach for 20 plus years.
And she was very instrumental in helping us navigate the path to move to Maui in that first increment in 2007. So she had a tremendous influence on my life in that capacity and then, I thought, “Alright. I could go back to my sister and talk to her about what I want to do when I grow up.” The second chapter of 30 years.
And I thought, “You know what? I’m going to call my friend’s life coach and just see what that experience is like rather than have it through my sister.” And so I did some sessions with this other life coach and at the end of those sessions, I was like, “Okay, I figured it out. I want to be a life coach.” And so, that’s how it began.
Wow. I mean, sometimes there’s certain times and moments in your life where there’s just that clarity, right?
And it’s so easy to make a decision once you figure that out. Because most of the time, I mean, at least for me, you’re always indecisive with so many things ‘cause there’s a lot of different options for you especially when you’re just given all of those things.
But there are so many of those moments too that it’s just so clear and I feel like that’s what had happened to you too, Jackie, like, “Okay, this is a sign. My sister is a life coach, this friend is also getting all of this incredible information from a life coach. And now I know this is what I want to do with my life as well.”
So that’s a really beautiful moment, I think, when we find that.
I totally agree with you. It was a lightbulb moment and somebody asked me recently, one of my colleagues from life coaching school had said, “When did you realize you wanted to be a life coach?” And I said, “For sure, after I went to one for the second time.”
But then, I found all of these notebooks and journals that I had written back in 2007 when I first moved to Maui in 2009 – sorry for the timelines, they’re a little confusing.
But when we first moved here and I’m still working as a television executive, I didn’t think that they would allow it for very long ‘cause they kept saying, “We’ll allow this for one year and that’s it.” I didn’t know it was going to last four and a half, almost five years telecommuting.
So I kept thinking. “Oh, I have to have a backup. I have to have this other career. What else would I want to do?” And here, I had been journaling, reading books, and talking to my sister about being a life coach back in 2007.
And then, I had just buried it, I had forgotten about it or buried it because my television career kept going. I guess I had forgotten about it and then it resurfaced and, like you said, it just became crystal clear after working with a second life coach.
So, Jackie, what would you say has been the biggest lesson that you learned in your long and fruitful career is an executive as a television executive that you were able to take with you with the current business that you have right now?
That’s such a good question. Wow. I love that question. I would say probably the most transferable skillset that I learned, ‘cause people are like, “What does TV have to do with life coaching?” is probably that I met with people everyday, sometimes 7, 8, 9 hours a day.
And I was listening to their stories because, as a television executive, writers, producers, directors, sometimes actors come in and pitch a story. It might be a fictional story, it might be a true story or it might be a fictional story based on a kernel of a true story.
And so, you’re listening to people’s stories and trying to figure out and mine the gold out of them, right? Find the thread that makes it interesting, find the thread that is relatable, find the thing that you connect to, that other people would connect to. And then, of course, buy it and make it a TV series.
So that was my job. So now I’m doing the same skillset. I’m listening to people’s stories except their true and I’m trying to find the common denominators. And help them on their own path to find their own goal whatever that is.
If that’s a career trajectory, if that’s a romantic goal, if that’s a financial goal, if that’s a health goal.
But it’s the same skillset which is listening to another human being trust you with their story and listening so intently that you can help them out of the wilderness and find the path to whatever they want to achieve.
Yeah. This just goes to show you that there is a misconception out there, especially right now for people who want to transition into a new career, that they don’t have any skill sets ready. I mean you, Jackie, like you said, most people think there is no correlation between the TV executive and to be a life coach, but there is.
I mean, you listen to people. You also know how to manage expectations and manage people. So there are so many things that really correlate with a lot of the skill sets that we all have to something new that we’re going to be doing our want to do.
And it’s just bringing that along with us which can make it even better if we know and learn what those skills are that we are already good at. So that’s amazing.
And I’m sure you’ve listened and heard so many interesting stories from your job before and then now as a life coach and life must be really interesting.
It is and I love the human story, I love people, I love individual journeys. And so, I bag on television, I bag on Hollywood a lot. I talked about its rat race nature, I talk about the toxicity of it and the politics of it and that it sort of wears you down but I want to refrain from that a little bit.
First of all, I’m extremely grateful for the career I had. Not only what it afforded me in terms of opportunities, experiences, financial rewards but I really loved the storytelling. I loved helping bring writers’ stories to light and watching people go from invisible writers to an empire. Really monumental success stories. That was incredible.
The best part about working in television was the storytelling. Listening and seeing it on paper and then seeing it on film eventually. That part was always joyful. It’s the rest of it. It was the politics of it that was draining.
So I just want to reframe that I am grateful for the career I had. It had a lot of great things.
And with life coaching, I get that same high of listening to people’s stories and helping them get further wherever they want to go. And so I gotta take the golden nugget out of one business and apply it to another.
I think, also, you don’t get as far as you have gone with your career paths, Jackie, without being really passionate about it. And I think you can often get burned out and it’s really easy to just leave and go somewhere else and do something different.
But I think, with any creative, with anyone who’s really passionate about what they do, that’s what really fills you even though there’s a lot of BS that happens in the background. So that just shows you how much dedication it really takes to get to where you are and where you were.
So, that’s an incredible thing that you decided to do and now transitioning and doing the same thing as a life coach and helping people through all of that. And, like you said, you’re still working with people who are in that industry.
And it’s great to have someone like you who actually knows what it’s like being in there. ‘cause sometimes you see people who are life coaches, business coaches who know nothing about what they’re talking about or giving advice to.
But you were there, you know. You’ve been there and they can really trust you to guide them in the right way.
Yeah. Listen, that’s probably half of my clients from. I mean, you always find clients from people you knew ‘cause people refer you. And so, of course, it’s going to come somewhat from the entertainment industry.
But what has been amazing is also helping people who aren’t in that industry. Just people who are at a transition in their life: empty-nesters, retirees, or people who want to start a career for the first time. And that’s been really special too.
And, I think, to your point and so well articulated, passion is kind of the key. The secret sauce of running any marathon is to be passionate. Because there’s a lot of hard work as we start a career, sustain a career, go through the trials and tribulations of a career. There’s always ups and downs.
And so if you can find some piece of it that you’re truly passionate about then, it’s sustainable and joyful.
One of the things that a lot of people are really concerned about, especially when you’re transitioning to something new, is landing that first client. How did you land your first one, Jackie, and how do you continuously get new people to work with?
That’s a good question too.
Okay, so in life coaching school or when you are getting your credential or your certificate, you’re required to do a certain amount of pro bono work. So I didn’t have any idea how to get a pro bono client.
I just never really did that and I asked my friend Marsha and I said, “I have to get three clients before I graduate. I have to do X number of hours for pro bono.” So she got me my first three which was fabulous.
And that sort of built up my confidence like, “Okay, I can do this.” And then my very first client that wasn’t pro bono, I put an announcement on LinkedIn that I had become a life coach. And one of my old colleagues from television had called and said, “Could I talk to you about this?”
And I have done the same thing on Facebook and then another colleague, again, two women I’ve worked with but not very closely, knew a little bit, they both became clients. They both referred me to my next client and so on and so on. So that’s how I got my first two: one was from LinkedIn, just announcing that I was a life coach and one was from Facebook, just announcing. I was a life coach.
That’s the beauty of social media and having all of these networks, right? We think we don’t have anyone and then you just put it out there and you ask and you receive which is really a beautiful thing.
You never know, sometimes it could surprise you too.
Yeah, absolutely. All of my clients have come through either somebody I knew or a client referring another client.
So Jackie, what are some of the best resources you have to say has been able to help you start to be a life coach, and even right now, that you are doing this? You’ve been doing this for a while now, what has been the best thing that you say for anyone who wants to start this to do?
Specifically, being a life coach or working remotely?
Being a life coach.
Well, there’s a number of good programs. Now, there are people who are life coaches who weren’t certified, they do very well, and they make a living and they figure it out. That seems kind of scary to me, kind of like flying without a net.
I really loved being certified. I loved having the discipline and a spine in which to learn my craft. Since then I’ve studied with different schools and other coaches. So I broadened my knowledge base since graduating but I was certified through the Life Purpose Institute which was excellent.
I work with a business coach who is a graduate of the Life Coach school which is another big life coaching school but there’s a lot of different ones. And I think some of it just has to do with. like. reading their philosophy, talking to their graduates, listening to podcasts of other life coaches.
It really just depends but I think finding a referral from somebody who’s been through a program is probably the best thing.
Yeah, definitely. And it’s always good to have some sort of a mentor when you’re first starting out especially when other people’s lives are in your hands as well. That’s a really scary thing, at least for me, like, “Oh my God…”
Well, it’s interesting about that. So one of the things that I did and I don’t think I did it even intentionally, but sort of intuitively, was I developed a cadre or a group.
I developed a group of women that I’ve met through different functions of Life Purpose Institute, also through Stacy Damon who is the business coach’s group. And I have the best practices call with a variety of these coaches. And I’m in Facebook groups with them.
So I’m always asking questions. I’m always learning about their questions and we get a lot of shared best practices through that. And I have found that extremely helpful.
I love when you find the right community who really lifts you up and also gives you so many amazing advice that is so helpful for you personally and also for it your business to grow.
Let’s fast forward to 20 to 30 years from now, Jackie, and you’re looking back at your life, what legacy would you like to leave and what do you want to be remembered for?
You’re really good at this. I love these questions. The legacy I would like to leave behind is that I created helpful content and that I helped individuals.
So I started writing a blog when I was going through my transition from executive to producer and it was called 52 Mondays. And I wrote it sort of like “Finley veiled” me. In other words, it wasn’t full frontal. It didn’t have my name on it or my photos. And towards the end, I sort of outed myself after 3 years.
But it was just a whimsical weekly blog of somebody going through transition and I always hoped that would help somebody who was also going through a transition in their life.
I stopped writing that a little bit after I became a life coach just because I had to focus my energies, my writings, and things, towards my business. So 52 Mondays was sort of the beginning of me exploring my thoughts and putting them on paper and sharing them with people.
And then I started this podcast called Joy Hunting which is really tricks of the trade that I give my clients in life coaching and ways to totally help people who maybe can’t afford life coaching or don’t have time for life coaching but they can have this podcast to give them little tips of how to navigate through life and anxiety and better health.
And someday I would like to write a book.
That’s awesome. There are so many things that we can look forward to and I’m sure you’re looking forward to as well, Jackie.
If our listeners want to know more about you, where can they find you?
Through my website at JackiedeCrinis.com.
Perfect. Thank you so much Jackie for speaking with us today. I really appreciate all of the insights that you gave us and tips and just to look at your incredible journey so far.
Thank you. It was a pleasure talking to you.
Audio Engineer: Ben Smith