Welcome to the Midlife Career Rebel, the podcast created for high achieving professional women to gain the clarity, confidence, and courage they need to go after and get the life and career they want. I'm your host, Dr. Carol Parker Walsh, lawyer, social scientist, brand strategist, executive coach, entrepreneur, and midlife career rebel.
Each week. You'll learn strategies to manage your mind, navigate the challenges of midlife and take control of your career so you can thrive doing the work you love. So if you need to tear up that rule book and create your own you're in the right place. And I can't wait to show you how.
Hey, hey there rebels, welcome back to the podcast. We are still continuing on in our career rebel conversations with amazing game changing women who are just stepping into different iterations in their lives and careers that are just inspiring and impactful for me. And today is no difference. We have a guest on today whose story just was captivating and magnetic for me. And I think her story, her life, her work would be definitely inspirational for you as well.
So without further ado, I'm excited to introduce Diane Hoffman. She was an undercover cop for the San Diego Police Department, where she experienced a unique perspective of life behind the scenes. I think that's a good way to say it. Diane took her years of experience to pioneer the creation of her own company called SPA Life, which stands for seek power always. And as the host of the Live Your SPA Life podcast and productivity consultant, Diane Hoffman travels the country speaking, consulting, conducting workshops, dedicated to helping overwhelmed women, entrepreneurs, and corporate leaders move from a life of emergency to emergence, which is so amazing.
She's known as the reset specialist, and I can't wait to hear all about that. And I love how for 10 years she walked around with a gun in her hand, which we're going to hear about, to actually now carrying a microphone, really changing the lives of women entrepreneurs and leaders around the world.
So Diane, thank you so much for being here today.
Oh, Carol. It's a pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Yeah, absolutely. So I would love to just get started with, I mean, I do a lot of work with women around career reinvention and transition and this is probably the most captivating what I've heard. And so I've got to hear the story about what your life was as a cop. Why did you choose that life and what led you from leaving that, to doing the amazing work that you're doing now?
Well it's so funny. Sometimes life chooses us, we don't always... I wasn't a person that grew up and said I wanted to be a cop. I was the oldest of three children, and like you, my parents wanted me to be successful, and when I went to college, I also had 12 years of Catholic school. So I had a very kind of a growing up of middle class. And my dad basically said, when I was going into college, are you going to be a lawyer or a doctor, as if those were the only two professions in the world that I had to choose from? And I knew I wasn't interested in medicine, but I was intrigued by law. So I said, okay, I'm going to go to school and be a lawyer.
And I got my degree in criminal justice and my senior year when I was doing work for an attorney and I was doing the research, I thought, oh my God, I can't imagine me having my head in these books every day, all day and how it wouldn't be exciting or inspiring enough for me to do this. And you're probably laughing, going through the attorney jeopardizing and all of the things that you're very familiar with as well.
And so I was kind of at this crossroads of what am I going to do with this degree in criminal justice. And I had some of the guys I was graduating with going into law enforcement. And they're like, why don't you just take the test, just see what happens. And I was a very scholarly like you, I was ahead in my class and I took the test and scored very high and said at the time they were actually looking for women to be on the department, it wasn't as prevalent as it is today. And particularly because they were looking for women that could work undercover prostitution because there was renowned serial killer case that was targeting prostitutes that expanded 10 years of the Green River killer all along West Coast. And several of those cases were in San Diego. And we started having a lot of copycat killers that were happening during that time.
So not only did I, from the day that I took that test to I was accepted to be a San Diego police officer was three months, which is very unheard of to move like that quickly through that people can sit on that list for a long time. I mean, obviously I was qualified and I had all that, but there wasn't a lot of time to go. Hmm, what do you think this career's going to be like? And what's, what's it going to... I didn't even know anyone that was a police officer, except one person who was at our church. And so I didn't have a lot of insight to that life and what it would look like.
At the time also I was married and my daughters were very young, and so I literally would go from wearing a police uniform, answering 911 calls and doing the work during the day. And then I would adjust hours and I would work as a prostitute at night and then come home and be a mom. So wearing all these different hats, women can relate to wearing a lot of different hats.
Oh my gosh. That is so incredible.
So what was that like when you started becoming an undercover cop being a prostitute, trying to find a serial killer? I mean, I can't even imagine doing that. And like I say, coming home and being a mom than probably not locking your daughters away and never allowing them to leave the house ever again, considering what you've seen and experience like what was that like?
Well there's a lot of different ways to look at it. The thing that is we were very lucky and in our department we had a lot of really great, innovative training that a lot of other departments didn't have. And so they say that anytime you're under a pressure situation, you go back to your training, that's why it's so important to have good coaches and good trainers and people in your life that help you see the things that you don't necessarily see.
And so anytime I was presented with things, I would be able to under stressful situations, revert to my training, as well as build up the experience on the street of being able to trust myself and to have situational awareness and be able to look at the things around me and make decisions very quickly, so that supported me on the street as well as when I moved into coaching consulting, because those same are things that people need. And I was able to learn to step into things where most people would run away from things I learned to lean in to things that were challenging and to evaluate very quickly what's in front of me and make the best decisions in the moment.
And so I know the transition, I would love to hear you talk about that too. Like, what was that like to come out of, you talked about I broke the mold of being undercover and moving into something very different. So what was that process like? Because I can imagine it's a very different type of being, and I hear what you're saying about the skillsets that you developed definitely were transferable, but sometimes we don't see that initially, so what was the process like for you to go from that, into the work that you're doing now?
Well, just like it wasn't necessarily a conscious decision to go into police work. It also wasn't one to leave it.
I had been 10 years into my career. I was on sergeant's list. I was looking at this to be a lifelong career, again when you train for something and you're in something you don't necessarily look at getting out of it, you look at well, how can I promote or how can I get to the next level and move into that. But for me, I was in a training accident where I shattered my gun hand and all the bones in my right hand, which is my gun hand got shattered, and I was rushed to an emergency surgery where they had a snap back of my hand. And they basically said, if I didn't get into surgery, I could have lost the hand.
And although thank God for training and being able to have good recovery, I've got very good strength, not what it was, but I have very good strength and flexibility in my hand. But basically the doctors had said that I had a high percentage of having paralysis in the hand if I broke it again and basically said you couldn't be in any street fights, you couldn't have any type of altercation and obviously as a police officer, you can't guarantee that. So I went into retirement. So it was one of those having to recover from the injury and be able to look at something that in essence feels like it was taken away. But I also looked at it as it was a God sent, and I looked at it as these are the nudges that we have in life.
Similarly to you had with your car accident, these things happen in life and we have these awarenesses that we may not always see in the moment, but trust that we're meant to be on a different path and we're meant to be led somewhere else. So even though it felt confusing, it felt unsure. At this point I was a single mom, there were a lot of different things that were like, how is it life's going to be different? And I just kept looking at take one step and start looking at what it is I'm going to do different. And because my last case that I had was a very notorious kidnapping murder case, the first case that I actually knew the child victim who was killed. It was a friend of mine, her daughter, she lived a mile away from my home, it was a case where a lot of volunteers came and helped. It was a very public case. And it was very not only emotional, but very taxing at the time as well.
And so after that case and after retiring, I really didn't tell people that I was a police officer. It was one of those, like I wanted to almost be undercover in my real life to kind of have some separation from that. But anytime anyone found out about the work that I did, they would always ask about what the stories and the questions and what that experience was both as a police officer in uniform and as undercover. And that's where I really started seeing people were pointing out to me and coming to me for this advice of how do you move through fear and how do you make quicker decisions? How do you have situational awareness? All the different things that I learned on the street are things that were helpful for people that were entrepreneurs and in leadership positions that had to make those quick decisions.
And maybe it wasn't life death for them, but it can feel like it when you're in business and in life that those decisions can feel like I have to make them very quick, and how do I get it from that?
So I was able to look at getting all of those skills that I had on the street and the things that I learned in my own experience to then transition through that, even though I didn't know what the exact path was going to look like.
Yeah. What do you think were some of the biggest challenges of that transition for you? Was it the mindset shift or what were some of the challenges you felt were maybe from transitioning from what you were doing, knowing that you couldn't do that anymore into doing something different to what you're doing now?
Well, I think one of the biggest challenges and you and I have talked about this before is the people around you, I was basically labeled as I'm a cop. Right. And as a police officer, there was as an identity with that. And so especially with my family, it was like you were related to, in that way, people saw you in that way and they'd treat you in that way as well.
So going into consulting and coaching, I can remember particularly for my dad and he would make comments like you doing that thing, whatever it is that thing that you do.
Or he'd see me, like when I started my podcast or I would do public speaking and he would see a clip of me speaking somewhere, and he's like, there's Diane doing that thing of whatever she does.
It's like when you see like a job or a title that you can go like, oh, an attorney does this or a police officer does this, or a baker does this. It's like a consultant. It's like, what exactly is that? And what does that do if you're not in that world. If you're not part of the entrepreneurial world, you don't see that. And part of having a JOB is like, you get a paycheck every two weeks, and you have these things. And as an entrepreneur obviously you can make a lot more in that, but everything's on you, So you have more of that stress of not knowing what is the next thing and what it's going to go at.
But I also look at having your own business and when you get to help people realize their best potential and what they're doing, what you're up to, there's a lot of trust that happens, that not only them but you, that you trusting yourself that everything that you've gone through, everything that you've experienced happened for a reason, like it happened in ways that you now can relate to people in a different way.
You can share that experience like no one else can experience, and you have to trust that when we're put on certain past, if we're given even just the inclination, the desire, the passion to do something different than we're doing now, to know that there's a reason for that, and to listen to that, and whether you step fully into it or not, I think we owe it to ourself to at least explore it because it's showing us, it's kind of shining light in that way that I believe God created to just offer a unique purpose to be here in the world that no one else can do than us. And we have to accept that assignment of what it is that we're here to do.
Yeah. I love that. I love that. How do you help people though? I 1000% agree with you and like you said, we have talked about this, but how do you get people to trust that, to listen to that, to know particularly when they're getting a lot of naysayers or people saying of that thing you do, or not really understanding it, how do you help people to really see that it's okay to lean into that, that it's okay to kind of move past the fear or uncertainty that's available to them right now to be able to get to the other side when they're not even sure what the other side looks like.
Right. Right. Well, I think one of the easiest ways to do that is for them to look at their own success. So no matter where they've gotten here before, and maybe they're not seeing it right now, they don't don't necessarily see it in their vision. Maybe they're seeing the obstacles or the things that have worked. And they're seeing all the negative things in that. But when you actually explore with someone and you get really clear on what is their story, like what is it that inspires them to do the things that they've done so far?
What have been their accomplishments in not necessarily in their work, but in other areas of their life, maybe they have done a lot of things in volunteering, or they've done some amazing things with their children, or there's something that they did in their home.
There's just every aspect of your life, when you look at that and you find where have you been successful in that? And you start kind of tearing that apart about what were the challenges of that and how did you win anyway? And I think the more we can identify that no matter what challenges we have in our life but you won anyway, that is building the bank of your success.
You are able to see because success leaves clues. It's like if you were successful in anything in your life, no matter what small thing that you think it is, you already have that formula within yourself to be successful in anything because how you do one thing is how you do anything, there may be some other skills you need to add, there's maybe certain things that you have, but you are always bringing you that nobody else has because they've never experienced anything quite the way that you've experienced, and you're able to look at it in a different way. And this is the beauty of having someone who is a coach or a consultant in your life.
And one of my favorite quote that I like of Les Brown is that he talks about for those of you who don't know who he is, just look him up. But most people in the entrepreneurial world know who he is. And he is a motivational speaker and somebody who has really helped people step into their own success and power. And he talks about that "you cannot see the full picture when you are in the frame" right. When you are in it, if you're not looking at a mirror, it's like, what are my eyebrows doing? It's like, you can't see it when you're in it.
And so the beauty of having people, cheerleaders in our lives, people who look at things, they help protect us from the naysayers, the people that aren't ready to see the next iteration of ourself. You have to prove that, you have to step into that and say that you are ready to be that person.
I love that. What an amazing quote, that is a keeper. Definitely for sure.
So let me ask you this, because I'm sure sometimes people are like, well you couldn't be a cop. Like you were forced out of it because of your hand. Or if people heard my story, they may think, well, a car accident, like these massive events that kind of push the envelope for you to do something different or to step into something different. What do you say to people who are like on the fence, who it's really nothing other than their own desire or internal compass is saying maybe to take a leap into something different, but feel the fear or worry about stepping into that, to moving into something different.
What do you say to people to help them to get off the fence and get into action?
Right. Well, the fact that someone has fear or they have some uncertainty, that's the nudge. They haven't quite gotten to the point where they had a major incident like you and I have, but they're most likely on the road to that because when we're meant to do something, we're going to have wake up calls. And when you start having the grumblings of this is not all I can be, or I'm here to do something else, that is the time to start exploring and stepping into that. It's a great time to pray. It's one thing to go, okay, God, if you really want me to do something, I want a sign. I want a big sign, and you start looking for those signs.
It's like when you say that you want to have a blue car and all of a sudden you see blue cars everywhere.
When we start putting out into the world, Hey, I want some signs. I want to have some clarity. I want to have some insight, that could be a time where you consult with somebody or you have to be careful and protect your big dreams for the people closest to us because they want to see us in the box they've created for us. Because it's not that they don't want great things for us, I mean, of course, whether it's our parents, our spouses, our family, they want great things for us, but they don't want us to be different than they can possibly recognize because subconsciously they think that it's going to change our relationship with them.
And so they're coming from a protective space. That's a survival skill that people have. And in order for them to move into the next iteration of themselves, one, they have to listen to that. They know that it's time to at least explore it. And what's the worst case scenario. I mean, you can always step back to your old life, you can always go back to that. It's never going to be quite the same because we grow, we change life changes.
So anytime you feel that uncertainty or that fear or any of those things that come up, I love one of the acronyms for fear is face everything and rise. So no matter what's coming at you have the opportunity to rise above it and to look at it in a different way. They say too, that the graveyard is filled with people of regrets and not stepping into something, and no matter where you are at a current career or whatever, you still have so much more life to live. And do you want to be on your deathbed to say, I wish I should have explored this. I was meant to do something bigger and whatever that is we do ourself in injustice to not explore it.
Yeah. Ugh. That's real talk right there. Really. Yeah, regret is something that I think plays a lot of people for not.
They always say the studies that I've read around regret are that we never regret the things that we've done, but what we regret are the things that we haven't done. And that is such a painful legacy to live actually. So I really appreciate that.
So you call yourself a reset specialist. Tell me a little bit about what that means and what that's about.
I love that actually.
I always look at you can always hit the reset button, no matter where you are in life, no matter what's going on, there are things in our head that make us feel like we can't go further or we can't change, or we weren't meant for this or whatever our circumstances are, those are all stories, those are all things that are meant to keep us down.
If we know that we can always just hit the reset button, because I look at the original model of the unique person of who we showed up for, that's our most powerful self and the things that happen in life that can knock us down, that can have us question. But if you talk to like a two or three year old, they can run the country. Like I've got grandchildren and it's like, they are so full of possibility and you can see the vision of their greater self. It's only when they get to school and they get around certain other people that tell them that they can't, and you start seeing that eroding of the brilliance of who they were over time.
So you can hit that reset button and reclaim that perfect version of yourself. And doesn't mean you're going to show up and do everything perfectly, but when you know that's how you were made and that everything else is just things coming at you in life and you can strip those things away and go back to what are my values? What are my strengths? Who am I? Who am I meant to be? And you keep going back to that, that gives you the strength to go forward, hitting that reset button anytime, anytime you feel stressed, you feel no power, even just mentally, you just kind of hit that button and go, okay, bring me back to my best self.
I love that. Yeah, that's really good. Tell me a little bit about the SPA Life. Is that something that you work with your clients on in the SPA Life? What's that process look like and for individuals that you work with?
Yes. Thank you. So interestingly enough, when I had shared that case, the kidnapping murder case after a year of trial and just so much stress and angst that happened in that, somebody had donated for myself and the mother and one of the other volunteers to go to a place called Canyon Ranch, which is a health spa resort in Tucson, Arizona. And I'd never been to a place like this before. And we came there pretty exhausted and sad and just really just taxed in every possible way. And one of the things that was really beautiful about this place is not only was it physically beautiful, there were waterfalls and beautiful landscape and we would do hikes, and we would have treatments, not just massages, but having really good food.
And it just became this realization of when we take care of ourself, both physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, all the different aspects of ourself, that's where we can get back to our best self. And over that week time, I could just see us getting more sleep and us being able to have deeper conversations in that the more you take care of yourself, the more you fill your own cup up that's from that place is where you can really make an impact in the world. And we had some really great conversations after that deeply taking care of ourselves, where the mother was like, I want to have impact. I want to make the murder of my daughter mean something for other children and started looking at legislation and looked at other ways and things that she could do that so that there could be something positive that could come out of that.
And so when I had come back from that, and one of my mentors had asked me if you could do anything in the world, what would you do? And I said, I'd live the spa life.
And at the moment, that was a divine word that came through me. I'd never heard it before. And I had said it wasn't about just getting a massage, it was a lifestyle. It was how you were living your life. It was looking at all the aspects of yourself, internal and out. When you really start looking at all of those things, that's where you can start being your best self and start showing up. And then it became the more I would lean into that word and start looking at it, that's where the acronym of that came up in actually one of my strategy sessions, like end with one of my mentors where the SPA in spa life, the SPA is for seek power always.
So it's that power within you, that divine knowingness to be able to be your best self, to do what you do. And so the spa life, the whole seek power always, it became being the filling self up. It was all about taking care of yourself, but it was also stepping into that power of who it is that we're truly here to be. So it's funny when I have a lot of my clients they'll call me up and they're like, I want to live the SPA life. That's why I want to work with you. Like, what is that? How do we create that? What is that going to be? And that's where it came from. And my podcast that was Live Your SPA Life.
So it's these kind of conversations, and that way it was so beautiful having you on the show as well, because when we look at all the different aspects of our life, putting all of that together and stepping forward and stepping into who we really are, that's a powerful person.
Oh, I love it. Yeah, I want to live the SPA life too. So I'm, I'm all on board with that in both kind of taste, both of my power and getting a little SPA Life and massage too. So I love the use of... Because I think you're right from both angles, taking care of ourselves and stepping into our power, they go hand in hand. And so what a beautiful title and yeah, I'm on board with that. I'm going to live the SPA Life too.
So I always ask people what it means to be a career rebel, from my understanding, I would definitely classify you as a career rebel, but from your own thoughts, what does it mean to be a career rebel? How would you define that and put that out there for other people?
Well, to me being a career rebel it is SPA Life. It is seek power always. It's trusting yourself to know that you know and a lot of times, and women really get this. It's like you know things and when you second guess yourself, you are taking away your power and being a rebel is to trust yourself enough to know that you know.
You don't even have to always know exactly where that came from. You can explore that later. You can be like, Hey, I received a divine message and it led me to do some research in something or to talk to a certain person, or how many times have you thought of somebody and then they call you? I mean, there are forces in the world that are working for us. And I believe those are all God moments.
And I think being a rebel is to listen to that because we're having things presented to ourself. And when we ignore them, we stop getting those intuitive hits. We don't get those things when we ignore them. And when you lean into them at any point in your life, if you've turned it off at any time, you can be like, God, give me the sign, let me hear the message. And in order to do that, and this is probably the most challenge, this is probably the most rebel thing to do for our women is to have silent moments.
And I love that the word silent when you mix up the words and you turn them around that in the word silent is the word listen.
And we are really good at listening to other people and looking at things, but we don't always listen to the messages we have for ourself, or we don't create that quiet space to be able to hear the message of what we're doing. So the more angst and things that we feel sometimes that rebel moment is to just be quiet and to listen to what is really within us. And I think sometimes the reason we multitask or we're busy or we're doing all these things we're doing is so that we aren't quiet enough to hear, because we know this is that you know that you know that we're being guided to do something else. And if we sit still enough to hear it, we would actually have to do something about it.
Yeah. I love that. I think that is so true. Yeah. We start buffering and avoiding because we're like, oh no, I have to go that route. I know what I should do and I don't want to do. And I love that because a lot of times when I work with women, when I hear them tell me, well, I don't know what I want. I'm like, yes, you do. You just don't want to admit it and now that you have to actually do some work to go after it. I absolutely love that.
So Diane, where can people find you? Like, how can they find more about the SPA Life to get aboard on your podcast? And definitely we're going to put all of that in the show notes so you can find it, but what's the best way for people to reach out and connect with you and get in your world.
Yes. Thank you. Well, one of the best way is you can go to my website, dianehoffman.com, that'll get you to my podcast. On there you can also go to any platform and listen to that. It's Live Your Spa Life and you can listen to all the different episodes, because I think listening from other people is really helpful. We also have on there too, you can go to dianehoffman.com/crisis. And I think particularly right now, this is a free resource to have you really understand what crisis means to you and how to move through it. Because what a crisis can mean to one person can mean something totally different. And I would say, especially what has been happening in the last couple years, people have to learn to take back their own power, not believe necessarily something that they've been told, to really see what is true for you, your family, your body, your beliefs, all of these type of things. It's just so important to trust yourself in that way.
And so knowing how you operate in crisis is a really important thing for just overall wellness. So dianehoffman.com/crisis. And then any of the social platforms I'm on Instagram, I don't do LinkedIn as much. I'm trying to get better at that, but Instagram and Facebook and some of those as well, definitely send me private message anyway I can support or help, I'm happy to do so.
That's fabulous. Well, Diane, thank you so much for taking time out of what I know is a very busy schedule to be a guest on the podcast. It is an honor to have you, and I love your story and there's so much synergy. And I know for those of you who are listening you're going to want to re-listen to this again and again, because there's so many gems that I think you can take with you to really step into that next iteration, your highest iteration of self being. So thank you so much, Diane.
Thank you Carol. Thank you so much for having me here on the show. I so appreciate and I love what you're doing for women out there and I just want to leave everyone with just another quote that I really like, it's Clement Watt and it's "Take the first step, no more, no less, and the next step will be revealed." And anytime that we feel overwhelmed or we feel fearful or anything, don't worry about all the other steps or what it's going to look like. Just take the first up.
I love that. Thank you again. Oh, that's awesome.
Listen, rebels, this has been an amazing, amazing episode. Tune in we're going to continue these conversations and connect with other individuals. And until then take one step and have a rebellious week. See you next time.
Hey, if you are loving what you're learning on the podcast, then you've got to come check out the career rebel academy. It's where you'll get the individual help and support you need. Applying the concepts of strategies you're learning here and so much more.
You'll be joined by a community of other rebels just like you, and I'll be there as your guide every step of way. If you're genuinely looking to change the course of your life and career, I promise you, this is the place you'll want to be. Just go to www.carolparkerwalsh.com/career-rebel-academy. I can't wait to see you there.