Anyone who knows me knows that I am not terribly athletic and I really baulk at anything that forces me to go UP in a steep ascent.

However, it has become increasingly clear that my role as a coach is to help women climb their second mountain. And I know the way up because I have climbed it myself – at east once.

I recently became aware of notion of The Second Mountain through listening to writer and author David Brooks first speak about the 5 Stages of Character, and then about his book, Second Mountain.


The first mountain we climb through the powers of self-control and discipline, however, they are often goals external to ourselves. For example, we finish school, go to uni, get a job, find a relationship, have children… or various combinations of those. Often because we feel we should or we have to.

At some point, we may have a life-altering experience that halts our climb up the mountain or something that stalls it completely. Generally, it is less dramatic. We get bored, or restless, ready for a change. While this can occur earlier but it is not unusual for this shift to happen in your 40s.

A redundancy, death of a loved one, or a health crisis can cause it but so too can being an empty nester or a change in your boss or team dynamics. All of a sudden, we find ourselves in the valley staring at another mountain. And this journey causes us to go inward and examine our values, our purpose or our lives to this point. Who am I and what do I want for this next chapter of my life?

Some may call it a midlife crisis, others a spiritual awakening but I love David Brooks’ notion of a second mountain career. 

First mountain climbed.

Now I am in the valley starring at the next mountain. While there is something safe and comforting in the valley – it’s not where I, or most of my clients, choose to stay. 

A restlessness of spirit, a curiosity to see the view from the second mountain, propels us upward.

Choosing which mountain to climb is critical. Presented with numerous choices, many of us get stuck in the valley, scared to venture forth. Quite frankly we feel we don’t have the time or the energy to waste experimenting with the multiple paths up the mountain open to us, and we furtively seek a short cut.

But climbing the second mountain demands that you do the work – the deep, reflective, soulful work. There is no chairlift to the top, only the outstretched hands of the coaches and guides who have climbed before you and the company of the sisterhood who are travelling with you.

Do you feel you are stuck in the valley? 

Or maybe you can see the second mountain – a change in direction or a new career and want to explore the possibilities of what lies ahead?

I would love to talk with you. You can schedule a complimentary discovery call and we can look at the parts of your work, career or life that are ready to be examined.

In the meantime – happy travels

Hello there! I am Jenny Cole – Coach, Consultant and Cheerleader. I work with women to create careers, workplaces and lives that allow them to flourish.

I love nothing better than watching smart, capable but overwhelmed women step confidently into their best self and truly succeed.

I am endlessly curious with two successful businesses behind me. My blog shares what I see, what I know and random musings.

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