How do we start telling the story of local dynamo Karin Freeland?
She is a certified Life Reinvention Coach focused on helping business leaders transform their lives and achieve their dreams by using the lessons she learned in her 15 years in the corporate sector, and before that as an actress scoring roles in numerous movies and TV shows. She also is a wife, mother, dog owner and best-selling author.
Her corporate experiences include being Chief of Staff to the President of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, Head of Demand Generation & Field Marketing for North America at Centrica Business Solutions, and Vice President of Digital GTM and Learning at JS Group.
During her career she’s overseen the creation and launch of global brands, but always with a personal touch that she now brings to her consulting business located in bustling Greenville. A New York state native, her latest book, Grab Life by the Dreams, just came out. Grab Life by the Dreams pulls from Karin’s thousands of hours of training and coaching sessions she has led that have helped professionals make the right choices to find better career fulfillment.
Want to know more? Read below!
In your opinion, what’s the most rewarding part of working in your job and why?
Hands down it’s seeing the transformation my clients make. So many of them start out in a really hopeless place. They feel stuck in their career. They lack balance and self-care. They’re just consumed in the overwhelm of life and they often break down in tears during the initial call. Over the next six months, they go through a shift where they start to see the possibilities and believe that life can change. By the end they have made major adjustments to how they spend their time, they’re capable of setting and holding boundaries, some get new jobs or promotions, and all of them are experiencing more happiness and fulfillment. Getting to be part of that journey is what gets me out of bed in the morning!
How did you start in your current job (ie, give us an origin story)
I had a full-blown midlife crisis at 39, even though on paper my life looked like a success! I was the Head of Demand Generation and Field Marketing for an energy company, making a great living. At the same time, I was basically the client I explained above – stuck, frustrated with my life and feeling hopeless. I set out to discover what I truly wanted out of life and what would make me happy. That’s a key step in reinventing your life. Most of us know what we don’t like but we never give a lot of thought as to how we can turn that around – what would actually make us feel fulfilled. So from there I decided to write my first book, a memoir. About six months later, I was laid off from my job and I knew it was a sign from the universe that I wasn’t meant to be in corporate any longer. I love fitness so naturally I thought about becoming a personal trainer when I wasn’t writing books. In my exploration I learned about life coaching and realized that was the perfect match for me, because I wanted to help women with all the aspects of their life (career, finances, relationships) and not just health and wellness. Now, I’ve published my second book Grab Life by the Dreams and I get to live that title every single day.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A lot of things! When I was really young I wanted to be a cashier at the grocery store because they got to scan items and push buttons, which made really satisfying sounds. In junior high, I was obsessed with becoming a lawyer and going to Cornell University. I got a Big Red sweatshirt and wore it almost daily. Then I wanted to be a pharmacist, but Chemistry was not my jam, so I quickly shifted directions again. My biggest passion was acting and dancing. I always wanted to be a soap star on Young & The Restless. I finally had the chance to pursue that seriously after college and had quite a bit of success at it before jumping into corporate life.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned and/or challenge you’ve faced in your career?
Money doesn’t make you happy. I had always heard it but when I was a starving actress waiting tables I would laugh and say, “Try me! I’ll gladly take all your money and let you know if I’m happy or not.” What I ultimately realized is there is a certain amount of money that makes life comfortable. It makes life easier. But as I came to find out, all the money in the world isn’t worth the pain if you’re not doing what you love. Life is too short to just “suck it up for a few more years.” Dreams are meant to be followed!
What are your favorite things to do on your days off?
I generally don’t work on Fridays so I love to take time to rejuvenate. That may be taking a nap, reading a book for enjoyment’s sake, having lunch with a friend, or playing with my dog. Other times I feel the need to invigorate my soul in a different way and I enjoy volunteering for The Junior League of Greenville, especially at The Nearly New Shop. I love getting to see our regulars when I pick up a shift. (And I usually find a little something for myself to bring home.)
What is one movie you’ve watched more than five times and why?
Well, as a mom of two boys, I’ve had my fair share of Disney Pixar movies. I’ve watched Cars and Cars 2 way more than five times. Why? Because sanity is nice. And sometimes the only way to keep yourself intact is to throw on a DVD and get things done while they sit quietly for two hours. This became a much less effective strategy when they started watching the Harry Potter movies. Who knew they would be so good? Next thing I knew I would be curled up on the couch with them instead of getting chores done. But in hindsight, it was worth it. I have many great memories of those days.
What are three books you would bring with you to a deserted island?
For sure the Bible, because no matter how many times I read it, I always learn something new. Byron Katie’s Loving What Is, because I have a feeling I’d need a constant reminder not to fight against my reality. And The Trumpet of the Swan because it’s one of the first books I read with my youngest son and it would remind me of my boys. Plus, it’s a super cute story.
What are some of your favorite things to do in Greenville?
I can’t get enough of the Swamp Rabbit Trail or spending time by the Reedy River Falls. I could get lost in the green of this city for hours on a sunny day. It’s just a great way to relax and unwind. I also love eating out, especially when I can be outside and people watch. Some Northerners will tell you it’s hard to find good food in Greenville, but they just haven’t been to the right spots yet. And I love going to watch the Greenville Drive play at Flour Field. It’s an amazing way to combine a family-friendly outing with sports.
What makes you smile and why?
Goats. I know that probably sounds ridiculous, but I think they are the cutest little animals. When we first moved here, I drove by a farm that had baby goats on my way to the Dollar General. I got so preoccupied with the goats and feeling grateful I get to experience nature every day that I drove right past the Dollar General not once but two times! Finally I just had to keep saying Dollar General over and over in my head so I didn’t miss it a third time. But besides goats, I’d say the unsolicited “I love you, mom” from my boys. I left my corporate lifestyle so I’d have more time for them and they would feel like a priority in my life and not an afterthought. When they express their love and gratitude in that way, I know it was the right decision and worth making the change.
Tell us a funny story about you that most people don’t know?
Growing up my dream had been to dance at Hershey Park in Pennsylvania. It was a place we frequented on family vacations, and I loved watching the performances between roller coaster rides. There was a lot of sentimental significance for me since it reminded me of my grandparents. During college, I talked my parents into driving me to New York City to audition for their summer shows. There was just one little problem: I was not prepared for them to ask me to sing. They said we could sing Happy Birthday if we didn’t have a song prepared. When it was my turn I confidently walked to the middle of the floor and belted out Happy Birthday at the top of my lungs. To the horror of the casting directors they realized I couldn’t carry a tune to save my life. I knew that too, of course, but I figured I might as well commit to it and act like I knew what I was doing. Needless to say, I got cut and my dreams of dancing at Hershey were replaced with new dreams. I truly believe everything happens for a reason. But if anyone from Hershey is reading this – it’s never too late to make a girl’s dreams come true. ;)