Editor’s note: This is an edited version of the story Keri Bischoff wrote while participating in a Whyography workshop. For tools and resources for writing and publishing your story, visit our Workshops page.
Keri Bischoff felt like she’d just been punched in the gut. “You’ll never earn what you do here—especially for a woman your age,” her boss said as she announced her resignation. It was a low blow and left her momentarily breathless. But she quickly realized his words were a gift. They confirmed what Keri already knew. She’d made the right decision. She was ready to take a leap of faith and start her own business.
Years earlier, Keri had discovered a tool called Clifton StrengthsFinder. When she learned her results, she was blown away. Finally, she had answers about where she naturally excelled and why she approached things the way she did. She sat her whole family down and shared the details. She explained her top strength was “Learner,” meaning she loved to ask a lot of questions, discover new things and go to school. It provided clarity to her family and helped Keri articulate feelings she hadn’t been able to explain.
A few years later, when a friend asked Keri to attend a certification course in Omaha for StrengthsFinder coaches, she had no plans to leave her current job. But she’d been a proponent of the tool since discovering its impact on her own life and witnessing its transformative results for others. So Keri headed to Omaha with her friend, open to new possibilities but not fully knowing where it would lead.
Completing the course was transformational for Keri. Suddenly she knew it was time to leave her job, and she set a goal to launch her business on the first day of 2015. And though her boss didn’t take the news well, Keri began building her coaching practice and creating her own workshops. She came alive when she presented with her “Woo” and “Communication” strengths. Her “Learner” and “Input” strengths helped her learn from expert leaders and create collaborative work teams. The process of building a business challenged her but she never gave up—it satisfied the “Achiever” in her.
Today, Keri works with a wide range of individuals, from nuns to neurologists, to help them clarify their unique strengths. By showing them their potential—and blind spots that could be holding them back—she empowers them to become better leaders, team members, and business owners, as well as to build stronger organizations. They’re able to show up as their true, authentic selves. Keri believes the world will be a powerful place when we’re all understood and valued for who we are and the strengths we bring to the world.
Keri is also passionate about supporting emerging female leaders to understand their value. So she created “Stillwater Alumnae Program: Girl Power.” Through it, girls at her high school alma mater learn from successful female graduates who hold nontraditional roles. Keri’s mantra when it comes to people of all ages embracing their strengths: “If you can see it, you can be it.”
To learn more about Keri’s business, visit KeriBischoff.com.
Photo: Keri Bischoff Consulting