Today’s guest is Dolly Garlo.  She’s a registered nurse, an attorney, and a board-certified coach.  She’s going to help us understand what it takes to create changes in our lives with grace.

Dolly will take us through the steps that are necessary for you to move through your business life and not get stuck along the way. I find Dolly an interesting person in that she has had several careers and lived the changes in life herself.  Not only has she studied what it takes for happiness in your life, she’s made changes in her life that proves she is one who walks her talk.

Some of the things you’ll learn in today’s podcast are:

  • Why you need to start with a personal inventory of what’s important in your life.
  • You’ll learn what the keys are to happiness.
  • Understand that without health nothing else really matters.
  • How to use assessments to help you learn whether you’re on the right track or not.
  • Learn that plans are easy, but implementation is where the real work gets done.
  • Understand there are tools to help you with implementation and learn what some of those tools are.


Narrator:         Welcome to The Sustainable Business Radio Show podcast where you’ll learn not only how to create a sustainable business but you’ll also learn the secrets of creating extraordinary value within your business and your life. In The Sustainable Business, we focus on what it’s going to take for you to take your successful business and make it economically and personally successful.

Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he’s learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable.

Josh:                Hey, how are you today? This is Josh Patrick. You’re at The Sustainable Business podcast.

Today, our guest is Dolly Garlo. Dolly has got all sorts of things she’s done in her life which is really interesting. She’s a formal critical care nurse and an attorney, a board-certified coach. Right now, she is working with people in the world of transitions which is something that we need to spend some time on here at the Sustainable Business. Here’s the reason why, you are going to go through several transitions while you’re owning your business and you’re going to have a huge one at the end of the road. That’s when you leave your business.

The truth is, I’ve never met anybody who has not sold their business or left their business and not have seller’s remorse. We’re going to talk with Dolly about some stuff that you can do today to help you with that. Without further ado, let’s bring Dolly on and we’ll start.

Hey, Dolly. How are you today?

Dolly:              Hey, Josh. Hi. Thanks for having me.

Josh:                My pleasure. Let’s talk about the great big wide world of transitions. What’s the biggest challenge you see with people who are going through transitions? We’re talking specifically today around business transitions because that’s who our listeners are.

Dolly:              Absolutely. I think this is true of any transition. Really, the biggest problem is the problem of unknown territory – that problem of unconscious incompetence. Or even conscious incompetence – you don’t know what you don’t know. I think that’s the biggest issue.

There are a lot of things we know. There are a lot of things we feel that we value that are important to us that we can carry forward. But what’s out there? What’s next? We don’t always have a real good feel for and that sometimes is what stops us, too, from making the transition.

Josh:                So you’re saying that the fear of the unknown is what gets in the way of people doing transitions?

Dolly:              Not even necessarily fear of the unknown, I think, it’s just the unknown itself. Of course, we all have a bit of a fear of the unknown. But forging in without knowing what’s ahead and not really having a plan for what’s ahead.

One of the things that impressed me when we met– of course, I listened to a talk that you gave. You were talking about the financial ramifications of selling a business, or retiring, or making any kind of a work or a business or career transition. And one of the things that you mentioned is that you really need to have a plan for, you mentioned, you’re whole life. And that really piqued my interest because that’s really what I focus on.

A lot of that has been set aside. A lot of that, people may want to bring forward with them. A lot of it is stuff that maybe needs to stay set aside for new interests. But if you don’t take the time to explore any of that, you only have the past up to now.

What’s ahead could look like a lot of different things. The future is so wide open for people in mid-career and later because they have so much expertise, they have so much experience, but they get in that groove where they know what they’re doing and everything works really well. It’s systematic and it’s easy. Sometimes, the change is precipitated by the groove sort of turning into a rut and not really being able to get out of it.

Sometimes, you can’t even see over those sidewalls to what’s possible for you ahead. That’s what I mean by the unknown. It’s not so much a fear of it. It is just a lack of information and a lack of personal exploration to know how to fit it together with who you are now in this unit of space and time, what your interests are, and really what you want for your whole life. That make sense?

Josh:                When you talk about making a plan. How would you go about doing that?

Dolly:              Well, that’s what I work with people on. I do it quite systematically.

People can sort of take the steps that I’m going to talk about here and do it on their own.

But I think the most important things are to, first of all, know who you are now. Know what’s important to you now. What do you value? Because what that is now, compared to what it was when you started your career, or maybe you were in the middle of your career, your life has changed. Your relationships have changed. Your family, if you have family, has grown. They have their own interests. The skills and abilities that you’ve developed, the values that you have, the concerns that you have for what’s going on in the world may be very different than they were 10, 15, 20, 25 years ago.

It’s really important, I think, to start with a personal inventory. There are a lot of ways to do that. There are a lot of different kinds of assessments, tools that you can use, psychological work, therapy. People can do a lot of things to get a handle on this, “Who am I now and what am I interested in?”

The other piece of that is you’ve got to move forward from where you are. And so, a big piece of it, and I think this is some of what you work on, is “How do I leave where I am?” And how do I leave it so that I don’t have that remorse or regret, that I don’t burn any bridges, I take with me the relationships and resources that I might need for what’s next. So, while we’re looking ahead and having something to run toward rather than flee from, how do we take all of that with us and build on it going forward? All of that is a matter of assessment and taking a look at what’s important to you as well as what you want to do next.

I have a model that I sort of take people through based on some research that talks about “What are the keys to happiness?” Basically, what are the keys to life satisfaction? And then there are eight areas that we go through in this model to take a look at all the things that generally are important to people to really create true life satisfaction.

And when you’ve gotten to this career sort of transition point, you’ve probably focused mostly on work, and business, and mostly on family to the exclusion of a lot of other things. And there are sort of eight other important areas.

Josh:                So let’s talk about some of these things then.

Dolly:              Okay.

Josh:                Besides business and family, what else would you want to be focusing on?

Dolly:              A huge one, and I bring this with me from my nursing background, is health. Health is something that can be maintained but it’s something that’s very difficult to get back when we lose it. Maintaining a focus on health, whatever it is for a given individual, what they need, what their medical condition starts showing up, exercise, stamina, flexibility. All of those things will really impact how well people can enjoy what’s next for them. What they can do career-wise. What they might want to do with their leisure time or their other personal interests.

Josh:                So what should I be doing to focus on my health? If you were to say, “Okay, here’s what you need to do to focus on your health.” What would I do?

Dolly:              Well, again, it starts with a personal assessment and inventory. What are you doing now? What sort of things do you enjoy doing being active? Because one of the things that we know is that muscle mass, for example, can be maintained with exercise. Are we getting enough exercise? What’s your nutritional status? Food is medicine and a lot of the chronic conditions and health challenges that people have – cardiovascular disease, diabetes, the things that can develop can be prevented and sometimes reversed with proper diet and exercise. And so, how seriously are we taking that?

A lot of people may have been involved in sports. They may have been athletes. But a lot of working people and career people – successful career people have been desk jockeys. I understand that. I am one of them. So, working that in and working it back in and finding what you need for your health to maintain or regain your health, and then maintain it going forward. It’s going to be individual for everybody but it’s important to take a look at what that is for you.

Josh:                So, you’ve mentioned assessments a few times now. What specifically is this assessment you keep talking about?

Dolly:              Well, there are lots of different assessments. There are skills assessments, health assessments, values assessments. There are a lot of communication tools, behavioral skills, interest assessments. There are a lot of different tools. This is sort of my bag of tricks and the kinds of things that I bring to bear when I work with someone.

There are a lot of ways so that you’re not starting from a blank sheet of paper. I think it’s much harder to say, “Here’s a blank sheet of paper. Make a list of everything you’re interested in. Make a list of your health challenges. Make a list of what you value.” It’s much easier to take a checklist or some kind of a tool and go through it. It’ll give you new insights, things you hadn’t thought about before, that sort of thing.

There are lots of them that you can go online. You can look them up. I’ve gathered together the ones that I think are most crucial to doing this initial assessment.

And then, of course, I’ve created that tool that I mentioned with the eight keys of life satisfaction so that we look at all eight areas. There are assessments within that that make it easier to determine what is important to a given individual because it’s never the same for any two people. We each have our own past, our own skills, our own unique brilliance – I like to call it expertise, and experiences, interests.

It’s different for everybody. We have different financial resources, different family structures. So we take a look at all of it.

Josh:                So how much time does it take to go through all of this stuff?

Dolly:              It really can take as much as you like. I’ve worked with people for years, actually, doing it. And I’ve had my own experience taking a very long time to figure it out for myself because, as you mentioned, I went from critical care nursing, to law. And then I built a law practice and I sold it. And I moved into what I’m doing now.

All of those things took time to figure out. Like, why was I making those changes and then deciding on something and thinking I’m clear on what that’s going to be and moving forward in it only to find out, “Well, at some point, yeah, that was great but now I want to do something more” or I aspired for something different.

So, I think that it’s really important to realize that it can take a long time. I’ve tried to shorten that learning curve for people particularly at a significant life event point, in their lives, where they may be overwhelmed with the decision that they’re making and want some help to figure out how to pull it all together. I’ve distilled it down into, basically, a program that can be gone through in a 90-day period.

I typically couple that with some coaching work because, of course, once you have the plan– it’s like I say, “Having the idea is the easy part. Once you have the plan, once you have the ideas, you still have to put them in place. You still have to get out of that groove, or out of that rut, or out of that set of habits. Sometimes, we have really good habits. Sometimes, we have bad habits. But we all have habits – just conditioned behavior that sort of keeps us where we are, that makes it harder to get where we want to go next. Even if we say “we really want it”, it’s doing it. It’s the taking of the action that makes all the difference. So that’s why, despite having a plan or a program to create a plan, it’s also important to take the time to actually start putting those things in place and moving forward with them.

Josh:                Okay. So, I’ve got the plan and I’ve spent the 90 days putting this plan together. Now, it is time for implementation. In my experience, the planning part’s the easy part. The implementation part is the hard part.

Dolly:              That’s my experience as well.

Josh:                So, what do you do to help people implement more effectively? What tips do you have?

Dolly:              Well, I have tools for that, too. They are actually built into the program. But it really is a matter of putting yourself out there. It’s a new discovery. It’s a process of exploration. It’s putting yourself in new situations, meeting new people.

And a lot of this, I think, people in business have done before so these are sort of transferable skills but a lot of it is networking. A lot of it is research, information gathering. But, now, you’re doing it on yourself and your own interests and your life goals as opposed to a project or work, for example. They’re transferable skills but now your subject matter is yourself and how you show up in the world, and how you interact with people in the world, and where you want to be of influence, where you might want to make a contribution, how you want to be engaged, in terms of your activities and the kinds of people that you’re engaged with – that sort of thing.

Josh:                I’m sitting here and want to know. I like to make sure people who listen to this podcast get some take home value. One of the things we like to do is what kind of actionable things can somebody do today, who is considering a transition – either starting a business, ending a business, bringing new partners in. These are all sort of transitional things that can happen. What can I be doing today that’s going to help me move towards whatever my outcome might be?

Dolly:              Well, I can get them started with a little five-minute quiz that will get them thinking about what’s of interest to them because I think that’s the first thing, I think. Something that you focus on and that they probably have advisers that they’re working with, in terms of their business and their financial situation is, what will their finances support? And so, I think that’s really important to sit down with a financial adviser.

But I recall, when I left the practice of law to move into what I’m doing now, I had lunch with my financial adviser. I had been making good money and stocking a lot of it away and working with somebody to invest it for me. We sat down at lunch one day and he basically told me, “Your portfolio is at a point where you can start taking a reasonable amount from interest, you’re not even going to touch the principal.” The sum that he gave me, I realized, was more than the amount that I was drawing from my business because I was drawing what I needed to live, to cover my expenses, and stocking the rest away into a retirement portfolio. I realized, I didn’t have to do what I’m doing anymore but I didn’t know what I was going to do next. Then I, literally, started to cry at lunch because I couldn’t see what was ahead of me. I couldn’t see what I wanted to do.

And a traditional– I don’t know, what I think the mainstream media portrays as traditional retirement, you’re going to be out on a sailboat, sailing with your significant other. You’re going to be playing golf. You’re going to be doing all these sort of leisure activities.

Well, one of the things we know is that leisure is no longer leisure, if you do it full time. What are you going to do with the rest of your time and what’s important to you? What kind of creative activities, constructive and productive activities?

This is all in the nature of some kind of “work” involvement and I’ll put work in quotes because this is sort of great work now. This is chosen work. This is where you want to be involved, whether or not you need income. And you might. You might need some income. Retirement was never intended to mean stop working or stop working for money.

The Department of Labor defines retirement as working less than 40 hours a week, which would be a relief for a lot of people, and deriving a portion of income from savings, a pension, or investments. So, within that context, if you’re going to step away, like I did, from what you’re doing, what are you going to do instead or in addition? You might shell some of it up with that leisure time.

But, again, feeling productive and constructive and feeling generous and making a contribution in the world. All of things are really important. That’s a lot of what I focus on because the financial part, people are already working on, hopefully, with their advisers and they’re managing their portfolios and what not. The rest of it is, again, that unknown new territory.

Josh:                It sounds to me like the most important first step you could take, after you know whether you can afford to do whatever you want to do next, is to actually answer the question, “what’s next?” And the “what’s next?” can’t be leisure activities because after a while you run out of them and they get sort of boring unless you’re my brother-in-law and you ski 125 days a year.

Dolly:              Which I would love to do.

Josh:                But even if he needs to find something to do 200 other days a year to do, also.

Dolly:              Right.

Josh:                So even 125 days of skiing isn’t working.

Dolly:              Well, 125 days of skiing is only 125 days out of 365 as you noted which is great, great work if you can get it. If I could be skiing 125 days out of a year, that’s what I’d be doing. I, fortunately or unfortunately, live some place where there is no snow so. But yeah, exactly, leisure is what we do when we’re not working.

Josh:                Right.

Dolly:              So it ceases to be leisure. It ceases to be a break from the routine, or work, or whatever else it is and it becomes less pleasurable. I’ve worked with people who leave a job or a career to move into doing something that they love, that they turn their leisure into work and they find that oh, all of a sudden, it’s not as enjoyable as it was. Well, guess what, it’s no longer leisure. Now, it’s work.

Josh:                Yes. Yes.

Dolly:              You’ve taken a job as a ski instructor. You’ve got all the structures that go around that and the bureaucracy and what not. All of a sudden, it’s just not fun anymore.

Josh:                Right.

Dolly:              So, I think we have to look at all those things. But the biggest piece of it, for me, is work. I mean, if you’re a professional person, if you’ve built a business, you probably have an interest in continuing some kind of activity. And there are a lot of ways to do that either in your own business where you structure it so that you can step away and only do those parts of it that you really want to do.

I have one client who started a very successful equipment leasing business and he reached a point where it was going well. He turned it into a well-oiled machine. It was making money. He had staff. He had systems.

And what he realized is he had two other interests. One was, he might want to run for office or get more politically involved or involved in community affairs which is a form of work. In this case it’s more voluntary because, unless you actually do run for office and win a seat, you’re not going to get paid to do it necessarily.

But within his business, he loved sales. He loved putting together the big deals. He loved, to a certain degree, mentoring some of his sales staff to help them help him put together those big deals. And so, he decided that that’s what he was going to do. He was just going to move in to focusing on that and brought in a CEO to run the company.

Josh:                Dolly, I need to cut you off because we’re out of time. I’m sure people are going to be interested in finding out how they can get a hold of you and do your short instruments. Why don’t you tell people how to find you?

Dolly:              Well, the way to find me is at That’s the easiest place to go. And if they want to do the quiz, it’s called That’ll get them started. That’ll get them to me.

If they have an interest in moving forward from doing the quiz at, they’ll get an e-mail from me. They may get an invitation to do a New Directions Discovery Session. Or, they can go directly to and if they qualify – there’s a little application form there, I’ll be happy to set up a New Directions Discovery Session with them where we can explore where they are and what their best next move is for right now.

Josh:                Great. Okay, thanks so much, Dolly. I appreciate it.

I have an offer for you, also. I have a 45-minute CD, basically, that helps you figure out- if you own a private business, “can you afford to leave it?” We call it Financial Planning for the Private Business Owner.

To get this, it’s really easy. You just take out your smartphone and you type in RETIRE1 to 44222. That’s RETIRE1 to 44222. And please don’t do this if you’re driving. Wait till you stop driving, take your smartphone out then and be a good, honest citizen about that.

And if you don’t happen to have access to a CD player, which I’ve recently found out more and more people don’t, just send me an e-mail to and I’ll send you an audio file for that course

This is Josh Patrick. You’ve been with Dolly Garlo. Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope to see you back here really soon again.

Narrator:         You’ve been listening to The Sustainable Business podcast where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around 100 years from now?” If you like what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802‑846‑1264 ext 2, or visit us on our website at, or you can send Josh an e-mail at

Thanks for listening. We hope to see you at The Sustainable Business in the near future.

Topics: sustainable business podcast, Sustainable Business, planning, coaching, personal inventory

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