Originally published on Women on Topp Magazine
Chanel Fortier is a Life Coach, Executive/CEO business coach, financial expert, keynote speaker, and published author. She was part-owner in a finance firm for almost a decade. She is the founder and CEO of Fortier Therapy Group. She has a Master’s of Science in Business Management and has obtained her second Master’s, which allows her to pursue her passion in talk therapy.
Transitions and major changes in our life are never easy. This falls in line with the saying, ‘no pain, no gain.” My main motivator and theme throughout my entire life is to truly help other people. It started with my first career choice of wanting to go into the legal field. I thought I wanted to be an attorney, but after being in that space for half a decade, I realized that I wanted to help people in a different capacity.
Transitioning into finance from the legal field was one of the most challenging career transitions I could’ve ever imagined. Finance to this day is still male dominated, and good advisors use their own skills to do the technical aspects of the job. It is a very demanding and constant high-stress career. While I thought I was going to go into finance and truly help others, I realized that to continue to be successful I had to continually be in a sales type of role, bringing in millions and millions of additional assets continually to stay relevant. I wanted to help others and not just make wealthy people – wealthier. While I was really good at my career, my heart just wasn’t in it anymore.
One constant that I always enjoyed was the relationships and trust I built with my clients. They had full faith in my capabilities when they trust me with their entire life savings and/or corporate finances.
Because I am a total nerd, I enjoyed counseling my clients and helping give more personal advice through transitions in their life, such as business endeavors, divorce, death in the family, loss, and so on… I would joke about it being better to have gotten a Master’s in counseling/therapy/psychology as opposed to my Master’s of Science in Business Management.
Leaving the safe confines of the finance field for close to a decade was such a challenging and painstaking decision to make. The more I think about it, the words “terrifying “and “anxiety-fueled state” would be a better descriptor of what I felt. Transitioning to what my heart was pulling me to do was so scary – being a single mom with no family support or help. Solely on my own I raised an amazing son, killed it in finance, making six-figures, getting national recognition and awards, and having so much of my identity attached to being in finance. I was faced with staying in a space where I broke through every barrier and excelled, to take a risk to start another company in a new field. Literally starting over!
I had some people close to me in my life that were in shock that I’d even consider leaving finance because of the level I was at, and how hard I had worked to get there. I have realized over the years that one must not ask travel advice from those who have never left home. I also have learned that not everyone is truly in your corner and happy for you. There will always be naysayers and to be successful you have to drown out any unproductive noise. Have you ever met a naysayer doing better than you? Me neither. Set your intentions and pursue your dreams and don’t let anyone or anything get in your way!
My son has always been my #1 WHY in my life alongside helping others. Being a young single mother with no help, child-support or family support, I had to buckle down and do everything in my power to succeed to provide an amazing life for my son. With him getting ready to graduate high school (sad face/tears), it was time for me to focus on shifting my “why.”
I have an interesting take on money and finance. After having worked with hundreds of amazing clients over the years, I witnessed all sorts of financial motivations and scenarios. Sadly, many of these situations were geared more towards an ego state. From my experience in these types of situations, it’s never enough. Some people have an insatiable desire for money, riches and fame, but I have found that is a very empty existence and that void never truly gets filled no matter how much you obtain – it’s never enough. Some people have the mentality, “if only… (fill in the blank), then I will be or have _________. These people don’t realize that happiness is internal, and no external force is going to give you sustainable happiness. It may give you a temporary “high” but it doesn’t last.
I always wanted to be successful and have money but for one reason and one reason ONLY! My financial “why” or reason is for FREEDOM. To me, money equals freedom. The more financially stable you are, the more freedom and flexibility you have in life.
I started Fortier Therapy Group deep from my heart and soul. I knew I wanted to be a therapist one day but figured it was something I would do later in life when I “retired” to keep me busy and help as many people as possible. The universe kept nudging me in that direction all along and finally I knew with the utmost certainty that Therapy and Life Coaching is my purpose.
I have started Fortier Therapy Group with Life Coaching and Executive/CEO business coaching, Corporate Wellness services. I am in school at the University of Kansas for my second Master’s, and will expand to do talk-therapy as soon as I complete the requirements. My plan is to do talk-therapy mainly for adults and/or older teens. In my therapy practice, I plan on specializing in Trauma & PTSD, Anxiety, Mood Disorders, Relationship Issues and Narcissist/Sociopath/Psychopath Abuse, but my practice will not be limited to these issues alone.
Life coaching is an umbrella term that encompasses coaching for a litany of areas from relationships to business endeavors, all the way to healthy lifestyle habits.
My clients range from high-powered CEOs for business and personal issues, to stay-at-home moms that want an accountability coach to help them develop steps to improve their lives in some fashion, and even male clients that hire me to get a female perspective on their relationships. The possibilities are endless.
There are life coaches out there for every age group, life stage, level of ambition, personal struggle or issue, and goals imaginable.
In life, if you feel stuck or scared – take a deep breath and take the leap toward what you truly desire! Our days here on Earth are numbered and we spend more time working, than the workweek allows for family, friends and hobbies.
I am thankful I took the leap to pursue my dream. I am helping so many people from all walks of life, and loving every minute of it. I wake up energized and cannot wait to get my day started now.
Just remember you are one decision away from an entirely new life!
– Chanel Fortier, LMSW, MSM