Renessa Boley Layne: Founder, the Perfect Work Academy & Author

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My Native Admission Statement: Renessa Boley Layne is Founder of the Perfect Work Academy and Author of the book Fast Lane, Wrong Direction: Insider Secrets to Redesign Your Success and Reclaim the Passion, Purpose and Balance You Lost Along the Way. She takes women who have grown bored, burned and unfulfilled in their career and helps them create their “Perfect Work” – be it radically changing careers, launching a business or bringing a big idea to life. Her mission is to equip women everywhere to discover, design and get highly paid to do work they love. 

How did you get into the industry?

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a news anchor, a fashion magazine editor, an air traffic controller…and a Solid Gold dancer (Yes, Solid Gold from the 1980s!) Those dreams faded along the way and I ended up becoming an industrial engineer, a management consultant and a few other interesting (and not so interesting roles). I became the very woman I would eventually write about – in the fast lane going in the wrong direction in my career - for nearly 15 years. I looked very successful on the outside. I was making great money and all that, but I was bored, burned out, and completely unfulfilled…and it was literally sucking the life out of me.

But how do you explain having a really good life that you secretly don't want?

Some people would say that's a you-don't-know-what-real-suffering-is kind of ingratitude.

I wasn't ungrateful for my life, but something definitely had to change. I’d had more than my share of wake-up calls.

So I made some radical changes in my own life to marry my passion, purpose, personality and skills into something the marketplace would pay for. It was long and scary and hard…but absolutely worth it!

Through my own journey, I realized just how many people are bored, burned out or unfulfilled in their own career or business. I realized how much we suffer and sacrifice and compromise for achievements that don’t fulfill, all the while being scared shirtless of the risk it takes to change. I also realized what a force for good we are when we are doing work we feel we were born to do – how much more vitality we have, how much more successful, fulfilled and giving we can be to the people and world around us.

It would literally break my heart to hear people with a deep-seeded desire to come alive and do something more meaningful with their work. In the big scheme of world suffering, that “longing” seems so insignificant, but, in actuality, it’s everything. Succeeding at work you love can transform your health, marriage, parenting, self-worth, and personal impact. I knew that first-hand. So, it became my mission to equip women everywhere to create their “Perfect Work” - to discover, design and get highly paid to do work they absolutely love!

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

As I mentioned earlier, my inspiration for speaking and coaching on the topic of doing work you love was the realization that so many people are suffering because they don’t enjoy their work, even if they’re making good money. But I noticed two problems: (1) People want to get highly paid to do work they love, and I don’t blame them! I’m all about the money, honey…“Dream job” and “broke” do not go together! So, the focus of the Perfect Work Academy is to equip people with the strategies to get highly paid in a career or business they love.

(2) When it comes to creating work they love, most people do things in the wrong order – present company included! Many people don’t know where they truly belong in the world of work. They assess what they’re good at (or what someone else says they’re good at), what the emerging trends are or what they think customers will buy, and they start chasing down that career or business path. We often raise kids to believe they can be anything when they grow up, and that’s not true. Being “anything” could certainly lead to achievement and financial reward if they work hard enough, but it often fails to bring the fulfillment, meaning and flow of true success. Most of us skip the fundamental step of finding out where we truly belong – our sweet spot. Once we know our sweet spot, we can apply the hustle, the planning, the networking and all the other strategies in the right direction.

I spent an unconscionable amount of money investing in seminars, gurus, strategies, programs, etc. that took me in all kinds of disparate directions. Most were not bad in and of themselves, but I wasn’t clear on my sweet spot, so I was grasping at straws, sometimes implementing strategies I wasn’t quite ready for. Had I known my true sweet spot – what I was truly supposed to deliver in my career or business instead of a faint glimpse of an idea – then I could have known which seminars, gurus, strategies, programs, etc. were best for me at the time.

A lot people waste time and money in pursuit of doing work they love, and the fear of that loss is what keeps some people from ever trying. Those that do try often stop a few feet short of striking gold because of the discouragement that comes with fruitless efforts. So, I created the Perfect Work Academy to be that first step to success, so that people get crystal clear on what their “perfect work” actually is and how everything they’ve experienced to date has equipped them to succeed at it. From there, we can create the right strategy to get highly paid for that work. Order matters.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

I’m most excited that we provide clients with an A-Z approach to creating work they love. Figuring out your sweet spot is just the beginning, especially if you’ve been doing something radically different the prior 15 years. What next?

If your Perfect Work is a radically different career, you’ll need to devise a resume that markets you for that work, you’ll need a compelling LinkedIn or social media profile, effective interviewing and networking strategies. How do you undertake a guerilla job search for the role you want and negotiate the salary?

If your Perfect Work is a business, how do you build that thing? Where is your low-hanging fruit? Which strategies should you undertake first? Which should you save for later because you or your business is not ready yet?

People are hungry, not only for the clarity on what to do, but also on how to do it. Oftentimes, we get pieces of information here and there, but we don’t how to put it all together. Providing clients with a safe place to admit, “I don’t know what the heck I’m doing!” then providing that next-step coaching is what our clients appreciate most.

How do you motivate others?

An author once quoted, “Your desire reveals your design, and your design reveals your destiny.” What that means to me is that when you get honest about what you truly desire to do in the world, you’ll notice that your design – your talents, personality, quirks, past experiences (good and bad), etc. – all complement that desire. And the design is confirmation that you are equipped to fulfill your destiny. I help people connect that puzzle for themselves. This is important because, oftentimes when we take the risk to do work we love, we’re looking for validation from others that it’s indeed something we’re supposed to do…that we can actually succeed at that career, business or big idea. That’s a recipe for a lifetime of insecurity. Instead, when you can actually see how what you want and who you are are perfectly aligned to vision taking shape in your head, there’s a lasting motivation. Of course, you may need to develop certain skills, make valuable connections, or hustle, but when you know it’s the mountain you were born to climb – not some copycat career or business - there’s a lasting motivation and an urgency to show up for your life. Helping people own that for themselves is my superpower.

Career advice to those in your industry?

This advice is geared towards coaches, speakers, trainers, healers and other “solopreneurs”, but I suppose it can apply to anyone. It’s critical to figure out the business-building strategies that work and feel good to you. Email strategies work. FB ads work. Networking, email marketing, and social media works. Getting on TV, direct mail, writing a book, speaking, telemarketing, creating a daggone billboard…all of that works for somebody. But all of it likely won’t work for you. And while I’m all for “testing” strategies, it’s also important to tune in and figure out what efforts are effective for your personality and lifestyle and, most importantly, put revenue in your pocket!. As the old saying goes, there are lots of ways to skin a cat.

What do I do best?

I see people. I have this uncanny ability to be able to see and articulate their brilliance. In a remarkably short amount of time, I can help people verbalize what they are supposed to be doing in the world. It’s like I can speak the unspoken that’s in their head and heart, both the fears and the desires. That part is the “woo woo”. But then the engineer in me clicks in, and I can laser focus on the exact next steps to move forward…1,2, 3 – no fluff. It’s a really really cool blend of head and heart, of possibility and narrow focus. And it’s sooooo much fun to watch people “get it”, then go out and do something so freakin’ cool like write the book, snag the keynote, create the app, or land the dream job!

What makes me the best version of myself?

Oftentimes, we try to separate who we are professionally from who we are spiritually, but faith is of paramount importance to me. It makes me who I am. I spend a lot of time reading scripture and embracing how God views me, and what the scriptures affirm that I can be, do and have. That practice has helped me to be more confident (not so much in myself as in what God can accomplish through me). I’m more real, take more risk, and dream bigger…with far less of the competition, comparison and insecurity that came with my ambition in the past. It’s gives me a natural “chill pill”, for sure.

What Else to Know?

Sometimes, it feels odd to pub my own stuff, but it you ever feel like you’re in the fast lane going in the wrong direction in your life, I encourage you to get a copy of Fast Lane, Wrong Direction: Insider Secrets to Redesign Your Success and Reclaim the Passion, Purpose and Balance You Lost Along the Way. Incredible people share vulnerable, honest and oftentimes funny stories on wrong direction, right direction and everything in between. You will find yourself in good company, for sure.

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