November 19th, 2015

Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS) Applied To Career Coaching and Pathfinding

We, at A Path That Fits, are very excited to have a new pathfinding coach on our team. Govinda Bader is a career coach and psychotherapist who loves helping people find and express their unique talents in the world.

Govinda brings expertise in a method of psychotherapy called Internal Family Systems that we’ve found to be especially effective in career coaching and pathfinding.

Internal Family Systems helps people reconcile the inner conflict between different parts of themselves. For example, part of you is longing to find a career that you’re passionate about while another part of you is scared that you won’t make enough money. One part is pushing you forward and the other part is on the brakes. The result: you’re stuck. You can try to make a career change but the fearful part of you is going to do everything it can to keep you right where you are until you do the work to understand it and free it of its fears.

Internal Family Systems offers a way of helping you listen deeply to each part of you, free each part from the burden that its carrying, and build new relationships inside yourself so that all parts of you are aligned. When this happens, you’re infinitely more connected to your true self, able to find your calling much more easily, and capable of following through on your career change.

Govinda combines this knowledge of “parts work” with our career pathfinding program to provide a unique and powerful career coaching experience that goes deep. He’s also an entrepreneur and has been through two career transitions before the age of 40 so he knows the struggle of feeling lost and dissatisfied, the overwhelm of changing course and the joy of finding deep satisfaction from a career.

Govinda is currently accepting new career coaching and life coaching clients at his offices in San Francisco and Berkeley. You can read his full bio here and schedule a coaching consultation with him by visiting our website at


September 17th, 2014

SF Bay Area’s Top Rated Career Coaches on NPR

A few weeks ago, I was invited to join Marty Nemko’s radio show about careers on NPR (KALW). It was a lot of fun to talk with another career coach about the challenging issues that come up in our work with clients. I also had the opportunity to do some very quick career coaching with live callers. Marty and I have noticeably different career coaching philosophies so it made for a very rich conversation.

Here are a few examples of the questions we discussed in the live interview.

Q: Is it more ethical for a career coach to shepherd their clients to realistic goals or their dreams?

A: Summary of my response (not word for word): I encourage my clients to follow their big dreams while also being sure to take care of the practical things that are necessary to sustain that bigger dream.

Why? I believe that the act of pursuing the biggest goals has the potential to bring the most fulfillment to a person’s life. Pursuit of the big goals call forth more of our potential and help us grow. That’s what I want for my clients. I want them to be inspired by something that matters to them not just trudging along to a realistic goal that isn’t exciting.

I’ve also seen that some people do reach the big goals that seem unrealistic. Who am I to say a big dream isn’t possible? I think a lot of the successful and happy people took a risk to pursue a goal that didn’t seem possible at one point.

Even if they don’t reach their big goal, at least will be on their true path. Opportunities will come their way that wouldn’t be available to them if they hadn’t stepped onto that path and those opportunities are going to be a lot more exciting than anything they would find in pursuit of the less inspiring “realistic goals.”

Pursuing big goals is also how people change the world. Nothing changes if people only do what is “realistic.” Then we all just fit within the existing system and nothing new and innovative is created. That’s not the world that I want to live in. I want to live in a world where people are using their gifts and passions to make a unique contribution that benefits the world.

Q: Making a career change takes a lot of time and effort and often people aren’t happier in their new career—they bring their problems with them. How do you address that?

A: Summary of my response (not word for word): I address this by helping my clients discover their innate strengths, passions, and personality so that their new career fits who they are. I believe that when a person’s career fits who they innately are, it does make them happier. I’ve seen many clients go from feeling depressed to happy when they make a career change. The thing is, their new career has to fit who they are. If it doesn’t fit their natural strengths, passions, and personality, they probably aren’t going to be happier. Making a hasty career change just for the sake of making a change is unlikely to solve anything.

I remember having a great coaching relationship with a client that was deeply unhappy with his career in tech sales, feeling hopeless about his future and lacking the confidence he once had. When we started discovering who he is, it became clear that tech sales didn’t fit his passions or personality. It was aligned with his gift of building relationships but he wasn’t passionate about technology and his personality wasn’t the right fit for a desk job so he wasn’t motivated to use his strength. He ended up making a bold brave career change into real estate investing, a career that aligns his strengths, passions, and personality type. He’s happy, successful, and he feels like his best self again – all because of making a career change into a path that fits. This example highlights that people are happier if they make a career change into a career path that fits who they are.


Marty and I discussed more of the challenging issues that come in our work as career coaches and then took live calls. If you want to hear more, you can listen to or full conversation as well as the short career coaching sessions with live callers. Here’s the show description from the KALW website:

“On the Aug. 24, 2014 edition of Work with Marty Nemko, Yelp top-rated career coach Adrian Klaphaak and I kick around thorny issues in career counseling. Dealing with client fears, procrastination, etc.”

You can listen to the podcast using the following link. Be sure to choose the podcast segment titled, “Two Career Counselors Kick Thorny Issues” from August 24th.

Podcast Link: SF Bay Area’s Top Rated Career Coaches on NPR

Thank you, Marty, for having me on the show.

Bay Area's Top Rated Career Coaches Adrian Klaphaak and Marty Nemko

Bay Area’s Top Rated Career Coaches Adrian Klaphaak and Marty Nemko at the KALW studio.



June 19th, 2014

Do other people see your value? [Career Lesson #2]

This is the second email in the series of career lessons inspired by my recent trip to India.

On the night of the wedding, my sister and I got dropped off at a sprawling outdoor venue (see pictures) by a driver that we’d never met. Immediately intoxicated by the sights, sounds, and smells of the wedding, we jumped out of the car and got lost in the excitement of the wedding.

It wasn’t until it was time to leave that we realized we hadn’t said a word to the driver about how we were going to get home. We didn’t have his phone number, or his name. We didn’t even know if he was planning to drive us home. Adding to the concern was the fact that I didn’t have the address of the place that we were staying on the other side of the city. Whoops! Oh, and did I mention that there were 600 people at the wedding and India is just a tad chaotic (to put it mildly). Suffice it to say, it isn’t easy to find your way around in India, especially when you don’t know where you’re going.


What did we do? We looked up, in the direction that we entered the venue, with that confused, ‘Uh oh’ look on our faces. The driver instantly materialized, walked towards us and inquired, “Hello Sir. You are ready to leave, yes?”

My sister and I looked at each other with an even more confused but equally delighted and dumbstruck look on our faces. And then we started laughing because we couldn’t believe it.

“Yes. Thank you. We are ready.”

As things like that kept happening, I started to realize what was going on. It wasn’t just that India is a magical place where synchronicity abounds. It was that people were taking ownership.

Career lesson from India #2: Take ownership.

It was the driver’s job to get us to the wedding and back home and he owned that responsibility. He owned it so fully that he wasn’t going to let us mess it up. He didn’t just drive. He owned the mission of getting us comfortably to and from the wedding. He didn’t sit in the car, checked out and asleep. He was watching us, making sure that we were okay. Making sure that he was ready when we were ready.

As a result, we felt well cared for, which, in my opinion, is one of the sweetest and most touching human experiences. My heart was opened as much by our driver’s care as the wedding ceremony. If I lived in India and needed a driver on a regular basis, I would have hired him in a second.

Why is it a good idea to take ownership in your career?

Taking ownership helps you apply all of yourself to whatever it is that you’re doing and it empowers you to do it in your own unique way. Your full potential comes forward and your brilliance shows. This helps people see who you are and the unique value that you bring.

When you take ownership, the people around you (clients, customers, boss, colleagues, co-workers) can relax, stop worrying, and be freed up to focus on things more important to them. This helps other people appreciate you. You’ll be seen as someone that makes their life easier and they will want to keep you around. Your value will increase. People will want to work with you. You’ll be given more responsibility and you’ll earn more trust. As your value and trustworthiness increases, you’ll be given more interesting work. You’ll also build credibility and solid relationships that you can leverage to ask for the opportunities you want to grow your career.

There’s another hidden benefit of taking ownership…

Taking ownership isn’t just going to make you more successful, it’s also going to make you happier. In addition to all of the benefits of taking ownership like being appreciated, increasing your value, building relationships and growing your career, you’ll also be more fulfilled by the actual work when you own it. You’ll be more engaged and you’ll get to feel more of your strengths and unique value coming forward.

How fully are you taking ownership of your work?

Take a second to reflect on the following questions.

Do you just do what’s required of you?

Or, do you own the bigger mission of the project that you’re working on and pour all of your potential into making it outstanding?

If you’re thinking about your current work and feeling resistance to taking greater ownership, maybe it’s time to find a career that you’re excited to pour yourself into.


If you don’t want to give more of yourself to your current career, take the Self-Study Online Career Pathfinding Program to find a path that you want to take ownership of.

What is the Self-Study Career Pathfinding Program?

The Career Pathfinding Program is a soulful and practical 3 month online coaching program that guides you through a step-by-step career pathfinding process to find the right career for you. Think of it like an incredibly interactive class about finding your path – complete with lessons and short lectures via video, group discussions, and tons of creative pathfinding activities and homework assignments. A new module of content is released each week in the 3 month program but you have a year to complete it so you can go at your own pace.

When & Where?

The program is built on an online learning platform that delivers a new module of content each week in the form of videos, coaching activities with easy to follow step-by-step instructions, assessments, downloadable worksheets, video case studies, pre-recorded coaching calls, and creative pathfinding activities. It’s available online and you can start anytime and go at your own pace.

Who’s going to be there with me?

I’ll be right there with you in 50+ videos that I’ve created to guide you through each step of the journey. There’s also a community discussion forum where you can read real comments from like-minded pathfinders that are on a quest to find a path that fits and are writing about their challenges, fears, breakthroughs, and career transitions. It is a self-study program so you can go at your own pace, but you won’t feel like you’re in it alone.

Want to get more of a feel for it?

Watch this video to get more information.

Special Offer

This is the first month that I’m opening up the self-study version of the Career Pathfinding Program so you get a big discount if you sign up now. Use the promo code “selfstudybeta” when you sign up.

(I launched the group version of the Career Pathfinding Program in February and I was floored when over 50 people signed up! The program is still in process and I’ve been thrilled with the results – some people have already found their path and we still haven’t finished the full course yet.)

“Take Ownership” is the second India inspired career lesson. If you missed the first career lesson you can read it here.

—> What have you learned from your travels that you can apply to your career? Please share it in the comments. I’d love to hear!


May 7th, 2014

Career lessons from India: #1 Make the most of what you have.

I recently got back from two extraordinary, profound, mind-blowing, beautiful, soulful, intoxicating, (please insert more spectacular adjectives here), transformational weeks in South India. The people and the country touched me in such a deep way. Both have so much heart.

In the midst of delighting in a five-day Indian wedding, leading career and life coaching workshops at a remarkable school, and squeezing in some travel, I gleaned some powerful career lessons that I want to share.

This will be the first post in a series of 4 career lessons.

Career lessons from India
#1: Make the most of what you have

Everyone in India is an entrepreneur. I’m not talking about their job titles. I’m talking about their mindset. They make the most of what they have. They don’t wait for the perfect opportunity, they fashion together whatever is available and figure out how to make it work. If it doesn’t work one way, they’ll find another way to make it work.

What I saw in India

  • 6 year old kids using size 10 rollerblades with buckles that didn’t work and ball bearings that could barely move… laughing, smiling, and delighting in the opportunity to play.
  •  A four-person family on a “one person” motor scooter.
  • Homes made of tattered tarps tied together with plastic bags because scrap metal and rope are too expensive.
  • 100% of the students at the boarding school genuinely excited about learning, sitting quietly and attentively and then participating wholeheartedly when given the opportunity.
  • Businesses of all types operating out of storefronts (if you can call them storefronts) that are the size of bathroom stall.

india bike

How do you apply this to your career?

Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity to come to you. You have far more resources than you think. Work with what you have and build it into something that gets you going in the direction you want.

Take it upon yourself to use what you have to create what you want. If you can’t do it the first way, find another way. If you don’t have scrap metal, use a plastic tarp. If you don’t have a plastic tarp, use a garbage bag. If you don’t have a garbage bag, get one out of the trash.

We all get way too caught up in everything having to be perfect right from the start. That mentality creates huge barriers to entry into a path that fits. Start where you can with what you have. Focus less on looking good and more on getting experience doing the work that you want to be doing.

Why? The benefit is you’ll actually be doing the work that you want to be doing sooner than later. More than that, you’ll get to feel your own creativity and ingenuity and the fulfillment and confidence that comes from creating something. Confidence grows by taking action – by getting stuck, persisting, and eventually figuring it out. Doing the work now is what creates the future opportunities that you’re dreaming about. I don’t know anyone that stepped right into their dream without working hard for it.

You have more resources and opportunity available to you than you probably realize. Start thinking like an entrepreneur. Start thinking like an Indian:) Here are some questions to get you started:

  1. What’s one thing that you want to start creating in your career (or your life)?
  2. How can you use the resources you have to get that going (as simply as possible)? Think creatively and as if your survival depended on it!

If you’re reading this, chances are you have incredible privilege relative to the majority of the world. You have the opportunity to choose what you want to do with your life. I know we all have challenges and it isn’t easy to make a career change and continue to support ourselves financially but I’m also pretty sure that you aren’t making the most of your resources right now.

Forget about the material resources you have for a minute. How well are you utilizing the resources within you – your strengths, passions, and personality? Are you making the most of your potential in life and work?

If you’re questioning whether your career makes the most of your strengths, passions, and personality type, take my Self-Study Online Career Pathfinding Program to figure it out.

Everyone has a path that fits who they are, that allows them to maximize their potential. Look to your strengths, passions, and personality type as the inner compass that will guide you toward the right career. When those three core parts of you are all aligned in your career, you’ll be making the most of what you have.


January 7th, 2014

Setting Goals Doesn’t Always Work. Find Out What Does.

Hey, it’s me, Adrian. You haven’t heard from me in a while but good things have been happening. For one, I’m going to be rejuvenating this blog and filling it with coaching insights and activities that better support you in finding your path and living it fully.

Why Setting Goals Doesn’t Always Work

We’ve all had the experience of setting goals that we never accomplish. It’s not that we don’t want the result that would come from achieving the goal, we just can’t seem to get ourselves in motion to go after it.

The problem with setting goals is that it doesn’t address the deeper stuckness that is holding us back from taking action. We all get stuck in behavior patterns and beliefs about ourselves and what’s possible that confine us and keep us boxed into an overly safe comfort zone. Until we do something to free ourselves from those limiting ways of being, it’s going to be slow going on our goals.

Goals live on the surface of our lives. Change happens at a deeper level. Most people put too much focus on the action plan for how to accomplish their goals (surface level) instead of working on their state of being and the mindset that is actually going to fuel the pursuit of their goals (deeper level).

What if there was a way for you to bust out of the old confining patterns and put yourself in the right state of being to achieve your goals?

This year, I want to introduce a different approach to achieving your goals.

Let go of the goal and focus on creating the inner shift necessary to get you into a state of being where you won’t even need to set goals because you’ll be naturally moving towards what you want.

Here’s one way to do it…

Do something radical. Do something that will shake you out of your old patterns and launch you out of your comfort zone into a state of being where your goals feel much more possible. That new sense of possibility and freedom will carry you forward, leading to a series of other changes that ultimately bring something beautiful into your life and work.

Here are some examples of radical actions I’ve observed clients take to create the inner shift that sets them free to move toward their goals.

  • Moving (apartments, cities, countries).
  • Going on silent mediation retreats, vision quests, and yoga retreats.
  • Adopting a pet.
  • Quitting a job.
  • Taking an adventure trip.
  • Skydiving.
  • Taking an improv acting class.
  • Redecorating.
  • Seeing a stylist for a fashion makeover.
  • Or do what I did… (see below).

My Radical Act

This year, I wanted to walk my talk and do something radical to bust myself out of a slight funk I’d been feeling for a few months. I decided to cut my hair. Short.

I know getting a haircut isn’t a big deal for everyone but for me it was a radical act. Here’s why…

I grew my hair out after I quit my first job at a business consulting firm and set out to find my own path. Long hair felt like a part of the new identity I formed as a coach – an identity that felt so much more Me than the Adrian I knew up to that point in my life. But my long hair has served its purpose of differentiating me from my younger self and I feel ready to open myself to bigger change and new possibilities for the next phase of my life.

Picture of Adrian with Short Hair!

How do I look? :-)

How do I feel? So far it really has shifted something. I feel reinvigorated with a brighter outlook on life and what’s possible for me and I feel so much more capable of making other bold changes.

Your Turn:

What Radical Act Will Create The Inner Shift You Need?

I’m sharing all of this to encourage you to do something radical to shake things up and breakthrough the barriers to change in the New Year. Don’t just set goals. Do something that’s going to set you free to live more fully.

What radical act will you take to open up the possibility for change this year? I look forward to hearing about it! Please share it in the comments of this blog.

Upcoming at A Path That Fits:

Online Group Coaching Program

I’m so excited to be just a month away from launching this coaching program!

I’ve spent the last year synthesizing everything I’ve learned from nearly 10,000 hours of coaching clients. I’ve put all the essential elements in this coaching program.

Here’s what I built:

  • 3 month online group coaching program
  • For people who want to find a career path that fits
  • Delivered through an online learning platform available anywhere in the world
  • With weekly modules that walk you through my step by step pathfinding process
  • Including all of the coaching activities and assessments you need to find the right career for you
  • With me as your guide via videos and live group coaching calls
  • And a community of other pathfinders like you that will all be supporting each other on this journey.

I expect the program to be launching in early February. If you’re interested, keep your eyes open for upcoming blog posts about the coaching program. In a week or two, I’ll post a link to register for a free teleclass. In the teleclass, I’ll reveal the step by step process that I’ve used to help hundreds of people find their path as well as all of the details about the online group coaching program.

I look forward to staying connected with everyone in the coming year. Sending you all good vibes for a beautiful new year.


October 21st, 2013

A Formula For How To Win In Your Career

First, a quick disclaimer: I don’t like the phrase “win in your career” but I just announced a winner to the raffle for a free ticket to participate in the first launch of my online career coaching course and I thought I would riff off that language.

Here’s a formula for how to win in your career:

  1. Find a prestigious career that is likely to make you as much money as possible.
  2. Put your head down and work hard for as long as you can.
  3. Retire and pursue the things you’ve always wanted to do.

Sound familiar?

F&%k that! It sounds backwards to me. In my opinion, that formula is going to take you as far away from winning as you can get. You might be financially comfortable but that’s just about all that formula is likely to get you.

Sadly, I think that formula sounds familiar to many of us because it seems to be how our culture defines winning in our careers. I know it sounded familiar to me until I ended up miserable in my first career and had to re-evaluate how I was thinking about my career.

If that formula doesn’t work, what does? Hmmm…

What if we start by flipping that formula upside down?

  1. Retire and pursue the things you’ve always wanted to do.
  2. Put your head down and work hard for as long as you can.
  3. Find a prestigious career that is likely to make you as much money as possible.

Starting to sound better, right?

Let’s modify it a little bit more:

  1. Retire from trying to win. Instead, pursue the things you enjoy doing and that feel natural to you.
  2. Work hard at the things you enjoy, keep your head up to stay open to new opportunities, and keep doing it for as long as you can to develop mastery.
  3. Look for the place where the things you enjoy doing meet a need in the world. That’s where you’ll find a career that supports you financially.

That’s how I think about “winning” in your career.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please comment here.

September 19th, 2013

Why Generation Y Is Unhappy

Check out this interesting blog post about why Generation Y is unhappy. While I don’t agree with every word of it, I did think it provided an interesting perspective on some of the bigger societal forces affecting Gen Y.

November 21st, 2012

It’s Simple… Do What You Like Doing

This a short video with a powerful perspective on finding meaning in work and happiness in life.

Check it out here *

* If the link to video is broken, try doing a search for “What If Money Was No Object Alan Watts.” It’s about 3 minutes long. The video is often removed for copyright issues.

March 10th, 2012

What Are You Going To Do With That by William Deresiewicz

This is a wonderfully articulated essay by William Deresiewicz about finding your own path, living a meaningful life, and everything that gets in the way. Enjoy it… you’ve probably been feeling the same way.

October 20th, 2011

The Big Secret To Finding Your Path

I see a lot of email subject lines and marketing materials that claim to reveal a “secret.” I find this trend a bit annoying because the “secret” that is revealed is usually something that I already know. So, I was careful in making the claim to share, “The Big Secret To Finding Your Path.” In my experience this secret is a big one and it isn’t common knowledge or practice. And, most of the people that seek our guidance at A Path That Fits are also unaware of this secret and have been for a large part of their life. I was in the dark for a long time, too.

So… What’s the big secret to finding your path? The secret is that finding your path comes from within. It comes from you discovering who you already are and then translating your uniqueness into a career. It doesn’t come from thinking about what careers are out there and how to fit yourself into a career. The secret is to let your path organically unfold from discovering who you are. By discovering important parts of yourself such as your strengths, passions, values, personality, essence, and purpose, you let the career path that fits who you are naturally emerge.

Still not convinced this is a big secret? Okay. Consider this… What is the first thing that a person (possibly you) asks themselves when their career begins to stagnate and they start feeling the need to find a new career path? It’s usually some version of, “What should I do?” Or, “What am I going to do?” The thing about these questions is they lead you to look outside of yourself at the options you perceive for yourself in the world around you. Those questions take you away from yourself and focus your attention outside of you. The secret is to look inside. The real question to be asking yourself is, “Who am I?” So pause for a moment and ask yourself, “Who am I?” You might find it a confronting question and a challenging one to answer. But, I think it is the most powerful question you can be asking yourself if you want to find a path that fits.

When you have taken the time to discover who you are, finding the right career path will be less of a mystery. And, you don’t have to do it alone. Our coaching programs, retreats, and workshops guide you through a process of self-discovery that helps you answer the question, “Who Am I,” and translate your uniqueness into a career path.

If this article resonates with you and you are ready to find your path, consider joining us on our first ever “Discover Your Career Calling” Retreat in Bali. It may only happen once and we are putting a lot of heart into creating an amazing experience for everyone that participates.