From Civil Drafting to Drafting A New Course….

Hello Boomers,

The latest story of ReInvention comes from Holly Whiteside.  She has been busy drafting a new course for herself for over ten years.  She realized that her corporate life was less than fulfilling and “busted out” to find her true path.  Read her inspiring story and take advantage of the resources that she shares to help you find your own true path.

The ReInvention of Holly Whiteside

Prior to 1990 I was a happy Civil Drafter, creating plans for airports, parking lots, and septic systems. Now I’m a Turningpoints Coach and Caregiver’s Coach, and a Change Agent for long-term care. The shift was not overnight, not a left-brain decision driven by a preconceived vision. The reinvention of my work began with a reinvention of myself at age 40.

Throughout the early 90’s I increasingly felt like busting out, taking a leap toward doing work that would make a difference with people rather than things. Personal transformation trainings and workshops since 1985 pointed me in the direction of life coaching. For three years I was a coach to the board members of non-profits, helping them to rekindle their love of their work. Then my mother hit. 

My challenging mother moved near me at age 77 and all hell broke loose. (See my memoir “Exploring Hell and Other Warm Places”.) To keep the guy wires of my life relatively secure and my sanity somewhat in place, I began applying the life coaching principles I had been teaching others to myself. Thus commenced my ten-year reinvention of myself, from the inside out.

When we were done in 1996, I had a first-time connection with my mother and a new connection with myself. Also, and of fundamental importance, I had a spiritual life. I was now approaching life intuitively. No longer a tank-like constructor of my life path, I was allowing myself to be led by life. I was being called (a la the inspiring book by Gregg Levoy, “Callings”.) Life went from being a chore to being an adventure. 

I was first called to document in detail those ten years with Mom, and the tools and techniques that saved me. That manuscript was eventually published as “The Caregiver’s Compass: How to Navigate with Balance and Effectiveness Using MindfulCaregiving”, which was followed by my mother/daughter caregiving memoir “Exploring Hell…”. I began testing these MindfulCaregiving tools by coaching caregivers. Because they worked on the level of human experience, they were useful to folks in any situation caregiving for anyone. 

From there I felt called to take the Hospice Spiritual Care training, and to become an Eden Alternative Associate (promoting culture change in Eldercare homes). I recently became a long-term care Ombudsman (Elder advocate), and I am working with the new Lotus Healing Arts Foundation in Newburyport MA to roll out a ground-breaking program, bringing alternative healing to Elders to complement their treatment plans. We call it The Eldercare Whole-health Alliance. Other organizations are joining the Whole-health Alliance, and doctors are starting to get on board, recognizing the proven health benefits from various healing modalities. Finally Eastern and Western medicine have a community-based non-profit organization where they can collaborate! Oh, and I am returning to life coaching, this time coaching people who are, by choice or not, on the verge or in the middle of a life transition. 

Advice for others considering taking a leap? If the “consideration” comes from your heart, take it, but take it with full knowledge of who you are. Too often we look outside of ourselves to make major life path decisions, forgetting to consult our inner wisdom. Most people I speak with are so focused on keeping their head above water, they don’t see that they can go beyond getting by, to reinvent their experience of their life. To me, that act of self-reinvention, the day-to-day questioning of “Who am I being?” is where the leverage lies. We are only absent in our lives to the degree to which we don’t speak mindfully and authentically, and that is preceded by an internal conversation. With a little guidance, anyone can take the reins of their life, define their commitment, design their conversations, shift their relationships, and so much more.

Carlos Fernando Flores Labra was former cabinet minister under Chilean president Salvador Allende. He spent three years as a political prisoner after the military coup of General Augusto Pinochet (1973-1976.) A founder of the philosophical school of Action Language, he knew the power of language. During those three years, the way he chose to think and speak gave him his freedom. He said, “I told a transformation story – about how prison changed my outlook, about how I saw that communication, truth, and trust are at the heart of power. I made my own assessment of my life, and I began to live it. That was freedom.”

TurningPoints Coaching and MindfulCaregiving Coaching are rooted in the theories of Action Language (Searles, Flores, and others). Life coaching insights, tools, and exercises are integrated with various principles of alternative healing, mind/body practices, and New Thought. These principles are laid out in “The Caregiver’s Compass” in a form that can be used equally well by non-caregivers. A “TurningPoints” handbook is also in the works. My books give me a small passive income stream. I am invited to give presentations and keynote speeches. I offer family caregiver workshops and support groups through The Lotus Foundation. And I am happier than I have ever been in my life. 

Contact me at if you’d like to learn about me or my work. I’ll even let you sneak a peek at my new website which is under construction at

Here are a couple of other resources for you: The Enneagram will help you to see yourself and others from a new perspective at: Johnson O’Connor Human Engineering Labs can help you to be clear about your innate gifts and talents at The PaperRoom Process will allow you to “re-examine your work and life situation so that you can make successful, fulfilling new choices” at:



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