About Helen Horyza
I have an insatiable desire to help people find their purpose. As far back as I can remember I have been fascinated by people, personal growth and the meaning of life. I followed this enduring passion, completing a Master of Science Degree in Career Development. I have loved every minute of my thirty plus years as a career development expert. I have worked in college career centers, in organizations developing talent, inventing my Elevations career assessment, writing a book and, most recently founding the Career Coach Entrepreneur Academy. Knowing I have made a difference in people’s lives is the fuel that drives me.
You can find me online at ElevateYourCareer.com
Why Did You Become an Entrepreneur, Speaker, Author, Etc in the First Place?
I am a optimist and a realist. This way of looking at the world was foundational to my decision to become a career development expert. I am driven to help people face everyday challenges and harness the strength and persistence to achieve their goals.
I specialized in the career development field because it is the center of human dignity. I want to inspire people to reach their greatest potential, in all aspects of life.
In college, I was drawn to a humanitarian profession so I started studying psychology. I did not connect with my coursework until I hit my favorite class called “normal psychology”. It was all about the everyday transitions, challenges and heart breaks people face. It was not about long-term therapy and re-hashing old wounds. It sparked the first glimmer of what I wanted to do with my life.
But one class did not clarify my path. I looked into the requirements to earn a Masters Degree in some aspect of counseling or psychology and I was discouraged. Numerous years of academic training and aptitude tests like the GRE seemed insurmountable. I do poorly on standardized tests so I was sure I could never go to graduate school.
I exited college with no direction (like so many of the people I have helped over the years). I drifted into clerical jobs that I hated. I yearned to do something meaningful that I would be good at. I was a nightmare clerical worker and, to this day, do not excel at detailed tasks.
I struggled through my early twenties literally wondering if I would ever find a career I liked. I now know there is a term for what I was experiencing. It is called the quarter-life crisis. I was trying to pay my bills, live independently, develop friendships and romances, and wondering if my crappy job was all I had to look forward to.
I hit the wall at age twenty-six. I visited a near by university and made an appointment with the Chair of the Counseling department. In a few minutes, I found out I could qualify for the program and did not need to take the GRE. I subsequently quit my job and started my coursework, which I immediately loved.
The final moment of clarity came in an introductory class where the options in the counseling industry were reviewed. When career development was presented, I almost fell out of my chair. I knew, without a doubt, that this was my destiny and I was right.
In my first decade in the career development field I took a traditional path. I was the Associate Director for a career center in a small liberal arts college. I quickly mastered the job and was bored. My entrepreneurial spirit was harkening me to do more.
Despite the fact that I had no formal business training, I quit my cushy job at the University and opened my business in l997. Within the first three years I achieved a six figure income and was on my way to embrace everything the career development industry had to offer.
I had a long list of aspirations which I have been able to achieve. I invented a career assessment called Elevations which has helped hundreds of thousands of people find work they love. I have written a book and founded a career coaching certificate program. Additionally, I offer a limited private practice because I still adore helping individuals craft a future they can be proud of.
So, in essence, I became an entrepreneur, inventor, author and motivational speaker because it is the center of my self-expression and my values. Inspiring people is my reason to exist..
How Do You Deal With Fear?
Fear is my path. I have struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember. I had my first panic attack when I was five years old. I have tried just about every remedy available and have benefited from all of them to some degree.
My dominant strategy is borrowed from a book authored by Susan Jeffers called “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”. I learned early on that waiting for fear to go away was a waste of time. If I was afraid of something I would move forward and tackle it.
For example, when I was twenty-one I participated in an academic program called Semester at Sea. I embarked on a four month journey on a ship, going around the world and finishing a semester of college. I did not know a single soul as I stepped on-board. My choice to challenge myself was intentional. I wanted to build my self-confidence and overcome my fears. I visited thirteen third world countries, made friends and survived many travel and academic hurdles. In the end, I was a more polished, grateful version of myself.
Stepping up to fear and doing it anyway has it’s limits. It can be exhausting to keep slaying dragons. So, about fifteen years ago I added another strategy that centers around my personal values.
Every morning as I rise, I reflect on my top three values: Helping Others, Meaningful Work and Fun. Then as the day unfolds I keep my values in focus. When I face fear, my values are my super power. No matter how scary a situation or challenge might seem, I can muster the courage to move forward as long as I am honoring my values.
The final approach to overcoming fear is the ultimate weapon. While I walk with confidence in almost all aspects of my life, I still have a few deeply rooted fears. One is my fear of driving near shear cliffs or driving over bridges.
So, I found the ultimate solution which is regressive hypnotherapy. I am sharing this rather personal truth because I have recently heard stories of people who are dealing with trauma associated with the pandemic. They can not sleep or focus. I think it’s all around us right now. This kind of fear can not be dealt with through talk therapy. This fear is rooted in the sub-conscious and trapped in the body.
My fairly recent work with a hypnotherapist who is also a skilled coach has helped me unwind my fears at a level so deep, they are no longer an issue.
Surrounding all the strategies I have mentioned is my commitment to be accountable for my actions and my life. I aspire to never blame or make excuses. No matter how unfair or hard a circumstance might be I see myself as fully responsible and capable of owning my situation. This keeps fear, resentment and bitterness out of my life.
How Do You Deal With Rejection?
Persistence is the best remedy for rejection. In general, most things I want in my life have taken longer than I wanted them to. This late-bloomer pattern is littered with rejection.
When I don’t get selected for an important business contract, I can’t say it does not bother me. But, I don’t give up. When a friend drifts away, I wonder what I might have done wrong. Ultimately I accept the choices other people make. Bottom line, I keep going.
As I type this response, my eyes drift down to my collection of turtles (not real ones) that sit at the bottom of my computer monitor. Slow and steady wins the race.
What’s the Name of Your Company? What Exactly Does Your Company Do, How Do You Help People?
Elevate Your Career Inc.
- Career Coach Entrepreneur Academy, an accredited certification program for people who want to become a career coach.
- Elevations Career Assessments, for both students and adults.
- Elevations for Organizations, employee engagement and talent development services.
Name One of the Biggest Challenges You Have Faced and How Did You Overcome It?
Since the third week in March, when my income went away, I have re-invented myself. There have been many challenges up to this point in my life, but I want to focus on my career pivot during the pandemic because I know I am not alone!
Knowing what I wanted to do next was not a problem. I have long known the cap stone of my professional life would be a career coaching school. I just did not realize it would happen right now.
The hardest part has been learning all the equipment, graphic design programs, learning management systems, video editors, cameras, social media platforms (including my YouTube channel) and software applications that support my future.
So, how does this technophobic person overcome this challenge? I think you know my drum beat by now: operate from my personal values, take an accountable perspective, use my courage, and be persistent.
I have translated all my in-person services to on-line services. On a daily basis I conduct press interviews and author introduction virtually. Yesterday I finished teaching a leadership course using Microsoft Teams. I was willing to try despite my misgivings.
I want to encourage anyone, at any age, to step up to the challenge of designing a new career, even if you don’t think it can work on a virtual platform. Your capacity for creativity and invention will surprise you. We all need to find a new way to work and be happy.
What Piece of Advice Do You Wish Someone Had Given You at the Start of Your Career?
I wish someone had told me that my sensitivity was my gift.
For so long my overdeveloped empathetic capacity seemed like a weakness. I hid my deep emotions, not wanting to be venerable or judged.
It took me a long time to trust my intuition and value my insights and share them, in service of helping people.
Who Are Your Biggest Influences and People You Admire and Why?
My biggest influences are my husband and my closest friends. Being so relationship driven, I thrive when I am in touch with my champions and sparring partners. Their encouragement and feedback are my main motivation.
I admire leaders who forgave their enemies and focused on the solution. People like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela come to mind. Real lasting change on a global scale can not be achieved if we keep fueling what divides us.
Name a Person Who Helped You Along the Way?
My Great Uncle Vance changed my life forever by setting aside money from his estate to send me and many other members of my family to college, all expenses paid.
As a later bloomer I needed a small, liberal arts college to give me time to unfold. I dedicated my book to my Great Uncle and thank him every day for his generosity foresight.
What Do You See as Your Greatest Success in Life, So Far?
My book Elevate Your Career: Live a Life You’re Truly Proud Of is my greatest success to date. It pulls together the best of everything I have invented and learned over the course of my career development journey. I know this book will be the solution for so many people who need a resource and a guide to put their career on track.
What Book Would You Recommend and Why?
The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly
This book shows what can happen for individuals and organizations when we uncover the dreams and aspirations held by each and every individual on earth.
What’s a Personal Self-Talk, Mantra, Affirmation or Self-Belief That Contributes to Your Success?
Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway