Special Guest Alert!
This week the AMAZING Deb Stanley shares her story of moving from the teaching world to the worlds of business AND book authorship.
Deb is a great example of what it looks like to do it YOUR way, to make your own rules, and to find your way to clear purpose and consistent growth.
She has created a business where she gets to focus all of her time and energy on doing what she LOVES - and you can too!
Welcome, welcome. Welcome to a very special Teachers in Business. I am so excited to have my very first friend guest. This is Deb Stanley, I'm so glad to have you with us today, Deb. She is a retired special ed teacher, who has been in business, she's gonna tell us all the stories, but she's a retired teacher. She's a business owner, she has a business that does a couple of really different interesting things. I think Deb is a really good example of like how to take the skills you had as a teacher, and move them in new directions. And sometimes directions that you're like, Oh, wait, I'm here. How did I get here. He is also a published author. She's got a whole series of books, she does amazing things. And she's a wonderful resource in her world in her community. And just for all the people in y'all should know, Deb, so here we are talking to Deb, thank you so much for coming here with us. I'm glad you're here.
Thank you for having me, Sara, How exciting is this, I'm always happy to help you with whatever you're doing.
I'm so glad you're here, now let’s start at the start. You know, this podcast is really about talking to people who are in the teaching world or left the teaching world to be in the business world. But at their core, like I keep thinking of it as like humans are people are teachers. And then when we go into the business world, we put this like little shell over the teacher, because the teacher is still in there, there's no taking the teacher out of the human, that's just not how this works. So talk to me a little bit to start about how you especially now that you've evolved into the business world, how you define teacher and what it really means to you at this point. Now that you've been in, we're going to hear a little more about that process in a minute. But now that you've been along this journey for a bit, tell me what your thoughts are there.
I when I think of a teacher for a while, I did think of a teacher under that umbrella of a classroom. And when I first left, I went to a student's open house. And I was telling her giving her some advice, I guess on her next steps and what her grandma said, Here's still teaching. And I think about that, because teaching, I wasn't teaching her really any skill, but I was encouraging her and inspiring her. And I think that's what we do as teachers, we find the strength in each student, and then we bring them out however, we can do that. And so that was an interesting comment that our grandma made, right and right off the bat, like, Oh, I am still teaching. And I kind of have lost that, you know, here and there and have to not separate classroom teacher from Teacher Teacher, we're always teaching something, whether it's skills, or we're encouraging others, or we see those gifts them people that maybe other people don't see and how to bring that out how to bring the best out in other people. And that's a critical part of teaching.
Well, and I think you have made that transition now. Right? Like, it is very much still about bringing out the best in other people. They just aren't necessarily your students anymore. Right.
Right. Right. Yes, I have former students who still come to me but but yes, I have new adult students who come to me to to learn about purpose, or taking tea or writing a book, or we're always teaching something. We just don't always think about it as a teacher. It's a natural thing. And I think sometimes when it's a natural part of us, we don't think about it. We don't give it a lot of thought, or credit, or credit. Right.
That's the thing that you're like, well, but I'm not doing anything special. Oh, actually, because you have met like I have met. It makes me think of when I was at in the corporate world. I had a boss who I loved he was a really good dude. Without a lick of teacher sense. Like none, he'd stand up in front of a group and like halfway through, I'd be like, Oh my god, what are we doing? And we would be sharing these presentations and it'd be like he'd do half and I do half and slowly as I got to know him better. And I was like, oh, wow, no, you don't understand what teaching works. Like even in a group like this, where it's just like, working with adults kind of presentation slowly. Started is 5050. And slowly it would be like you give the introductions now go sit down. And my part in the show was over people. So tell us what you teach people now and sort of how it relates to where you started like take us pull us down the road. Some
Well, I'll start word started, I was a special education teacher in the school district for about 20 years. And and what and as I, I taught, I had students who kept graduating and they were just falling through the cracks. They didn't know, next steps. And of course, once that IEP, their individual education plan ends if they graduate from high school. So if they want a certificate, it's different. But once they graduate schools done with them, and all the resources go with us, and the parents resources, so I was having parents coming to me and students coming to me, former students say, Oh, I don't know how to bridge that gap between school and life and what comes next. And so I started transition bridges, and then planted myself in the community as a resource as a connector, because that's my passion. I love to connect. And I still do that. But it kept evolving. And I eventually, what I really have always wanted to do was write books. And finally, I thought, so why am I not writing books? Since I was 11, I've been journaling and writing poetry and talking about writing a book, and I haven't done it. So it evolved into writing books. I wrote a book about purpose. So sometimes people come to me about that now, especially I think, I am older. And so older women especially will say, Hey, I'm in a new season of retirement, I like to call it retirement by era. And what do I do with this time? What do I do with my gifts and skills, or they think they don't have any, and we we do, we all have skills. And we have skills that people need. So it just keeps evolving. I help my dad read and autobiography. And now I help other people get their stories into the world because, and actually, I didn't help him. He wrote it on a computer file, and one of my sisters found it. And we made it into a book for him. And surprise them. 2019 at Christmas, I flew to Pennsylvania surprise them all. And we had a family gathering and presented in with this book. And he kept saying I wrote this. Uh huh. Oh, so it was Yeah, it was really special. And it was the last time I saw my dad, I couldn't see him during COVID. And he passed away in August. So there's a picture of him with his book. And not only a fit his family read it, but other people who would never have met my dad have read his story. And it's a very simple autobiography. And it became very important, especially during COVID. My mom said he would sit there and read his book when he was alone. And people in the assisted living facility read it. So they knew my dad, more than just somebody who has Parkinson's, he is a person with a history of very interesting history. So it just became a really phenomenal book, we never could have foreseen that the minister used it in his celebration of life to talk about my dad, because my dad didn't talk a lot about himself. So we learned a lot. So I'm just encouraging people to get their stories out there. Now we just never know the impact that our story will have on someone else. And well, that's
I, it's so interesting that it's like, it started as I think so like special ed to me are all like, I didn't teach special ed. But I've worked sped lots of inclusion kids over the years, like this was my I was always the one they were like your Come on, get a partner in crime, like, let's go. And I was always like, okay, we're teachers. So, you know, the special ed teachers, for me, were always the connectors, as you said, like, let me take this kid and this idea and this teacher that gets them and let me put all these pieces together. And then in transition bridges, you connect kids that need the resources to the resources to like how to thrive moving forward, and now it's, like, even transitioned further in connecting people to the ability to express themselves in a way they didn't think they, they had, right. Like, to allow people to tell stories that they have, but they don't. Like they don't know you're connecting them to process and to resources. It's like the same ball of yarn in a different color. Right? Like it's, it's a lot of it's the same they're all teacher skills, right? Like so what do you think the teacher skills in all of this are like if you had to name a couple that you were like, well, that one I use all the time and that one I use all the time and oh, yeah, that one like what's under there?
I think it's still a matter of, of listening, and, and then meeting a need whatever that need is. So like, I might have a former student, I had a former student come to me and say, Hey, he, he went to school all on his own and got his certificate to help the maintenance apartment and apartments. That's fabulous videos. But I don't know what's next, you know? So it's still that like, oh, okay, well, you you need to build your resume. If you have one, you need to update if you need help, let me know that's not my skill, but I know who can help you. I put a couple feelers out for him. So and then other people will come and say, Hey, I think I would like to write a book like you're dead. Where do I start? So it's kind of list it's using those listening skills that we use all during teaching observation skills, to see what people need and listen to what they need. And then to bridge that gap between what they need and what to do next, or where to go next. And we're constantly doing that, and encouraging people.
Well, and I think it's a lot of so it's like, listening, for sure. I think in that like observing and listening is that like critical? Thinking and assessing that comes with teaching where you're like, Oh, wait, you're here, you need to be here. Here's how we get there. Like I see. Oh, okay, now that you said it like this, I see where the breakdown is. And that meeting people where they are because like, what you learn really quickly as a teacher is like, everybody's going to come in your room, and you have to get them all in the boat. But you can't be like sorry, in the boat left. That's not so you have to meet them all. And they're going to be like I taught math. So there were kids that walked in that were with the skills and like teaching a college algebra class right now. And there are kids that have walked into my online classroom with the skills and there was one the other day that asked me what a factor was. And I was like, oh, like, that's not a good sign. She was like, But wait, what's the factor again? row row. And I think those but I think being able, you said, you know, people come to you in retirement looking for the next thing. And they're like, well, I don't have any skills. And I think what happens, I see that and people to people leave teaching, and they come into business. And they're like, I don't have any skills. Well, actually, you have all the skills, like so many of them, and that's identifying them and being able to be like, Oh, no, look at the skills I use to do this, I think is half that battle, right?
Yeah, absolutely. I absolutely think you're right. I think we segregate things we hadn't talked about that earlier, we'd separate being a teacher, in a classroom from being a teacher in general. And there's there's not really a lot of separation, except you're not in the classroom, but you're using the same skills.
Well, it's like a crime in the box. And we're like, well, but this is the only box I can sit in I this is the one that says teacher on the outside, you're like, Oh, actually, there's oh way bigger box, or you can just make your own. Yeah. And I think that's what you have done. That's certainly what I do. Like, that's the work I do at this point. Um, talk to me a little bit about so I know I know a lot of your story. I know more than certainly we've done here. I know that you have worked through a ton of small challenges and big ones, all the kinds like this is what happens in teaching. And also in business. Like I remember when I was first teaching, and I ran out of corners that first year. What do I do with challenges in life, in business? in transitioning, I think particularly, there are always obstacles and things to overcome. So if you think back, what stands out to you, as you know, the biggest thing you faced and overcome in business so far, and tell it like, why is that the thing that stands out? What did you do? Tell us tell us the story.
Probably the biggest thing for me is that I wear a lot of hats, like probably a lot of people do and how to how to merge all those into a business. And so for a long time, I didn't have any clarity. You know, I thought well, am I an author? Am I a teacher? Am I a resource person? Am I a connector and my XYZ and how do all this connect into business and so I was very unclear about what I was doing. And what really helped me honestly was coaching with you because within a few months, I had more clarity than I had in six years. Like Oh, yeah, yeah, you're all of those. So and how does it all fit under transition bridge as well, we're always transitioning, we all have different seasons, we're always looking for ways to get from x to z, x or y to z, I don't know. But those bridges, those connectors, those connecting points, and that's what I help people do. But it took coaching to figure out what that is, and then how to let people know what I do. So when I started, I just said, I help people with disabilities, and the people were like, oh, okay, well, that's wide open. And, and it's evolved into much more than that, but it takes time. And honestly, if I had to do it over again, I would I would get a coach right away. Like I may even say, two to one more year just to have a coach to help me me transition to business and getting that business mindset. And anyway, that was that is that my biggest? My biggest area of my biggest challenge? Is that clarity.
Well, and I think that's really interesting, because I, one of the things I know has happened to me, I one of the things I see in clients, I know it's what you're talking about is we go like, well, I am this thing, and it is in this silo. And I am this thing and it is in this silo, and I am this thing, and it is in this silo. And never the twain shall meet. Like those things can't touch the apocalypse will come. But what's interesting to me and I think I had somebody say it to me. I don't remember when but it was a couple of years ago when somebody was like, well, but from the outside, we don't see those buildings. And I was like, What do you mean? And they were like, well, but you're just all of you and you do all your things. And that's what you do the only one who sees the walls between them as you. And I was like, Oh, whoops. Like, I remember thinking like, Oh, no, like being bowled over with a feather. Because that's the thing and people will I have a client who was doing some visibility coaching, and she's a photographer. And at one point, she said to me, Well, I can't have them on the same website. I was like, well, but they're both yours. And she was like, right, but people get confused. Like, we're not giving people enough credit when we think that, like they they see all of us, the other people see all of us in all the ways you connect people. All of the ways you have the ability to bridge it's us that are like, Oh wait, but those things can't touch. I can't have corn touch potatoes touched chicken. Like that's not okay. We need plates with squares.
Yeah, I think you're right. And it takes that outside person to see that because it's hard to see that in ourselves. And and you're absolutely right. Am I an author? Or am I a teacher? Am I a transition person? Am I ABC? Yep.
Right. And I think the online business world in particular is like, well, what's your title? Huh? You're like, well, it's whatever they do, well want it to be thank you very much for playing. I that's the joy of this, I get to freakin decide. And it feels like that's not okay. And especially I think, for those of us who have come from a school building in particular, where like, there are a lot of rules in you know, if you were in middle or high school, there are even bells
you up on a schedule, basically, like you can't. And so then you go out into the business world and people are like, do you like oh, who am I?
So you go shopping for rules and you put in boundaries and we you know, we overdo it because we don't know what else to do. And that's the trick to it right?
That was one of my biggest frustrations with teaching was I wanted to do things outside the box color outside the lines a little bit and it was sometimes I could you know, I create a power of peer support and did a transition class created that but for the most part it was always will we don't do that or we've never done that and whenever I got we've never done that like who let's do that. Right I want to color outside the lines.
Well in business when somebody is like well that's not how it works. You go okay, but it is now it's like my world. Right? Like that's and that's sort of the joy of it like honestly my inner five year old really enjoys the business world because every time somebody is like you can't do that like that. I'm like Oh watch me we didn't do that. I mean I that happened in corporate at some point I had a this is really what pushed me out the door honestly was there was a high hire up in the organization at some point that over email like I they didn't give me a job I didn't want honestly like because I made my own jobs as I went, but they didn't even considered before and it was like, well, but she can't do that she's girl, basically. I mean, I when it came down to it, like she's not capable of that, and I was like, hmm, hmm.
Okay, well, what about me?
That's interesting. I'm gonna go run circles around you all for the rest of my life. I mean, I was like, oh, okay, that's Thanks. Thank you for the challenge.
Oh, yeah, it is. Yeah,
it was really what shoved me. You know, now that I look at it. That's why I started my first business. That's why I went back. That's that's part of it. And part of it was because I wanted that, and I knew what I wanted. But the other part was like, somebody went No, she could she's not capable. Okay. Thanks for playing. So, talk to me about. I know, I know, one of the things you said is you'd wished you had done coaching at the start. Are there other things that you think people like? What's the what are the pieces of advice that you've gotten over time that you're like, oh, why don't you tell me that sooner? And I know, we can't always hear it. Sometimes we can't hear it each. So somebody did say it earlier, and you just couldn't hear it yet. But like, what are those one or two or three things where you're like, No, no, here's the thing you should hear now.
The two biggest things I learned even through coaching are clarity and consistency. So if we're having trouble being clear about our business, it is important to find someone who can help us with that clarity. And of course, that was huge for me. And then consistency. So being consistent about whatever it is, and that doesn't mean we can't change what we're doing. And I think that's a right to or we, we've talked about this, like the next book is going to tell me what to do the next course is going to tell me what to do the next No, it's in here. We just don't see it all the time. And it takes a person sometimes to help us I coach to help us see that two things we can't see. And then it's my business I can do with it what I want. That was huge for me, because we do get used to so many rules. And as much as I hated those rules when I got out and I went oh, I can do anything. Oh, can I? You know? Yes, I can. And sometimes it's hearing I still hear your voice. It's your business. You do whatever you want with it. So when I think of changing it a little bit, or going in a different direction, like oh, but that's not transition bridges anymore. Yes, it is. It is. It is Yeah, it's my business. I can I'm the CEO, I can do whatever the heck I want with my business. Oh my god, I want to like hug, you know, words I want.
But I think that that's right. And I think you know, we also get sucked into like, how business should look? And how other people do it. And I think, you know, it's like, well, but I'm supposed to be at my desk from 830 to four. And a workday is eight hours long. And there is an hour for lunch. And my other coaching colleagues each have 20 clients, therefore that is what I should do. And it's like, oh, wait, I don't have to do it like that. Because that's not how my brain works. Oh, like, I have a client not too long ago, like we shortened her day. She works better that way. She has less time to mess with. It's better to not have time to like be like, but I'm supposed to be at my desk. Like, and I think the other thing I heard you know, and consistency is, you know, the thing I think all the time is it can change but also consistency and regular are not the same thing. And I think we confuse them. Like consistent doesn't mean every day every day at 8am. Every morning you do this thing. It means you do this thing most of the time when you're ready to do it like it's you get to define what that consistency looks like. So there are things I do three times a week. Sometimes they're three days in a row, and sometimes they're not. But like how do you want to show up consistently? How do you want to meet new people consistently? How do you want to work on your self as a CEO consistently? And what does that look like for you? We each get to decide that which is like both a blessing and a curse because we're like, oh my god, I get to decide that. Oh, God, I have to decide that. Exactly.
There's no outline. There's no guidelines, there's no blueprints. I think that was one of the hardest things when I started my own business like what do I do next? So there's no blueprint for it. So we I've always had a blueprint most of the time and parents thing I guess is a little bit kind of like, but for the most part, you go to school, you, you get your degree, you start a job, somebody tells you what to do you show up and you do it try to, you know, you might do something a little out of the box, but for the most part, you have to stay within their box, their guidelines. And so all of a sudden, when you have freedom, it's like, but where's the blueprint? And there isn't?
One? Actually, there's not one, but also there's 1000s, which I think is the trick, right? Because if you go look at the coaching space, like I was in a mastermind over the winter, and there were 28 business owners in there. And I got a little hung up at a certain point, because I was looking at like, well, I like that she does it that way. I like that she does it that way. I like that she does it that way. I'll do all those ways. And then I was like, Well, I don't like any of these ways. Oh, there's something. So there's a million ways to do it. The thing that I find really freeing in a lot of ways is this idea that there's a million ways to do it. And there's a million ways it works. Right? Like the number of ways it doesn't work is finite. Like my math brain really likes the idea that the number of ways to fail, the number of ways to do it. Where it's not going to work out is like a is a number like you can you can do all those you can fail all the ways and actually like them succeed, because you can run out of ways to fail. But you can't run out of ways to do it. Well, like that's infinite. And if you look around you see there's plenty of people succeeding and doing things in ways that you're like, Oh, god, no, like, that's how I feel about Instagram. Like no thank you just don't want to.
That's where all the experiment in concept. Yes. And I love that. What's your experiment right now? My experiment right now is is helping people with their, with their books. I've never done it. That way I didn't like I said, I didn't even do my dad's autobiography. I just made it into a book for him. He did the work. So I, you know, there's a part of my brain is like, Well, we've never, so you don't know what you're doing? And then I but maybe not. But there's only one way to find out. And that's to offer to hope. And as I've been offering, I'm like, Oh, I have I'm a writer. I know how to write I know if something. Looks good. Sounds good. How to tweak it. I know how to do this. So I think that's the other thing. Well, I've never done it. So I can't put myself out there as knowing how to do it. Well.
Well, we know and that's the thing. It's just like, but it's I think about it in cars. You were like, well, but I don't know how to help someone to write a book only to help them know how to help them write a five paragraph essay. Like you're helping writing versus helping writing. It's like if somebody and I was telling somebody this yesterday, I drive a minivan. It's a lovely minivan. And if somebody came on, they're like, here's this Maserati, can you drive it? I wouldn't be like, nope, only know how to drive a minivan. I'd be like, thanks for the car dig the dirt. Yeah. But like we know, it's that, like, what we build as teachers and students is the ability to take a skill and use it in a bunch of places. And then when we look at ourselves really well, but I can only use that skill over there. I can't bring it with me and and we got it works the same for adults, friends, like it's take it with you, you're qualified, he went, here's the stamp.
We are. And if we don't know how to do something we ask or we, I you know, I'm good at knowing who's a good resources to help with that particular thing. Like I said, writing resumes is not my my jam, I don't really love to I, my daughter helps me if I have to update my. So if somebody comes to me, and that's part of their journey that hey, I I completed the certificate, and now I need an updated resume. I point them to someone.
So it's okay to do that. But I think actually, there's a fine point under there, which is that it's not that you can't it's that you know, you don't want to.
Exactly I could learn but my energy is elsewhere right now. And, yeah, we chose what we want to learn and get better as we go. I know somebody who's good at that. I don't, that's not something I want to spend my time and energy on right now. So you're wrong, I can't learn. But I could also design my own covers for my books, but no, thank you. I have Megan and she's phenomenal. If you've seen the covers of my books, she formats uploads, does all that and I just couldn't write which is amazing that I can't just write my books and then I send them to her and she designed something and does all the work well. And I think that's a good piece of advice actually underneath there, which is like there are gonna be things in every business that you're like if I never have to do that again. I will be so excited. It's not that you can't write but there are going to be things You're like, you know what, this isn't a good use of my time. Like at a certain point earlier or late last year, I was doing some rebranding of my group and my podcasts and some other things. Could I have made it all? Absolutely. Would it have taken me 100 years? Yes. Do I have a dear friend up the street who is magic at this kind of thing? And it took her like an hour. Yep. And she knows me. She gets me and she was like, oh, here, I was, like, taking me the rest of my life. And it would have been lucky, lucky. And, like, I know, can I sure? Can I figure it out? Yes. Like, I firmly believe that if tomorrow I decided to be an astronaut, I would figure it out. Like I don't get in my way, peeps. But at the same time, like I don't actually want to. So. I don't know. Like, you don't want to write resumes. Cool. Don't. No one said that. That had to be a part of your jam. Like you get to decide we'd get back to deciding you get to decide. And if you hate something, don't do it. Like, I talked to a potential client the other day, and she was telling me about how much she hates being on Facebook. And I was like, so don't be just like, I'm sorry, what? Excuse me? I was like, so. So don't she was like, well, but I'm supposed to do its business. Where do you want to be? She was like, really like Instagram and LinkedIn. I was like, cool, do that.
She was like, she was so funny. Because she was like, what I'm What? I don't have to know, do you? Nobody cares.
That's one of the beauty of our own business, right? I mean, we were teaching in a school district, we had to do things that suck the energy right out of us. And now we don't have to get to do all the things that energize us and delegate everything else. Like they're like how I what's the word, I have a coaching colleague that uses this word. It's, it's shoot, I can't grab it. It's hat. It's like how counter all the programming, right? This idea that you could run a business successfully, just built out of the stuff you love. It actually works better. It's wild, you do not have to sit and bang your head on the table. Like how much fun is that and how much more fun is it when you're like, man, I don't want to make the cover here. person that loves to do this. Go do this.
Other people who love to do what we don't like to do, and there are people who don't like to do what we love to do. That's that's what makes the world go around write.
Things that you love to do most are like hard for the other people just like making logos is torture for me. Like my friend is fabulous at it. Like I don't have to be good at all things. I can be great at what I'm great at, you can be great at what you're great at. And I could just do that. And that's okay. So tell me what you tell me how people get in touch with you tell me how people get started with you tell me what else you want to share with people where they it's easy to get in touch with me.
I'm on Facebook under Deb Stanley or I have a couple other pages I've got Taking Tea with Deb Stanley, which is my books, a few of my books. And I have Transition Bridges with Deb Stanley. So any of those if you get on and message me, you can find me. And I know you have the link to my main Facebook page. I'm on LinkedIn under Deb Stanley. So I and I am willing to if you even email me, I probably didn't give you my Will you have my email address? Well, you can even call me I'm not hard to get ahold of. And then you know, I like to just meet with people and chat for 30 to 60 minutes doesn't cost anything and see whatever needs you have. And if I can help you with that I will if you decide to go with somebody else. That's okay. I love having conversations. Oh, I never feel like a waste of my time. I just don't I don't have the bad feelings. I I get a lot of energy out of conversation and connection. So you've just energized my day. If you talk to me for 30 to 60 minutes.
We're good. I know. We were talking about that yesterday, in my FB group, which people who are listening if you're not on my Facebook group come look it up. It's called Teachers in Business. But like it's the idea. I think we all like go to the idea of networking or like connecting with new people and we're like so exhausting. And then We leave with more energy. And we're like, oh, but then we forget again, and we go through the whole cycle over and over again. And it's just remembering that people are what energize us, like really, especially if you're a teacher person, like you were in it for the people, people. So if you want to get in touch with them, please reach out to her. She's amazing. And all the ways she's happy to connect you, she's your bridge to all kinds of places. If you want to reach out to me, you can find me in my facebook group, which is Teachers in Business, you can find me on LinkedIn, you can find me on my website, which is www.torpeycoaching.com, and if you want to talk coaching, because really, it is a difference maker, like I was talking to a colleague yesterday and we are talking about risk. And like the risk of trying coaching is actually smaller than the risk of not trying and not getting where you want to go. Like the it's less risky to try the thing than to not try at all, I think, in so many ways, because if we're we're trying we're at least learning and just like with Deb you can call me and we can have a conversation. And like I will love you anyways. Even if you don't want to move forward like I'm still Okay, come into my world calm, play, calm, learn and get some clarity and if you want to take it with you and never talk to me again. I will live I promise. I mean, I'll be sad maybe but it's okay. With that, thank you. Thank you, Deb Stanley, what
a treat. Thank you Sara. This is so much fun.
So have a good week, everybody. And I will see you on the next episode of the podcast.