Nicholas Lore: A Brief Autobiography
I was born July 12th, 1944 on a mountain top in Tennessee, like my childhood hero Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, in a little village with dirt roads that turned to mud when the perfect blue Appalachian skies cried on the men who made atomic bombs along with my father.
When I was a boy, my friends and I would watch the men in dark suits walk to the train station for the ride into Philadelphia. We were, in our blessed state, Tarzans of the jungle pretending to see the “civilized” world for the first time from our hidden vantage point at the edge of the bamboo grove. The men seemed to drag enormous, invisible weights along with them as if they were sucked toward the city by some mysterious, invisible magnet. We imagined they were zombies answering the call of the Voodoo master. We did not have to stretch our imaginations very far. They did look a little like zombies. They had lost the joy of living.
Later on I lived in Greenwich Village during the days when The Village was the center of the explosion of creativity that became The Sixties. My great passion was inquiring into unexplored possibilities: how could people live their lives creatively, fully self expressed and fulfilled, without giving up their sense of wonder and play. I studied psychology, Eastern philosophy, anthropology and literature, and participated in the 60s full tilt. My friends became rock stars, explorers, painters, writers, and scientists who had found their means of self expression. I watched them grow in mastery as the years went by. Some gained worldwide renown. I still had no idea what to do with my life. Work was just a way to make a living.
I got married at the age of 27. I thought, my god, I had better start acting like a responsible adult and settle down. A man offered me the job of Plant Manager of his factory, mainly because I was honest and his previous manager wasn’t. My final management job was running a solar energy and conservation company on the coast of Maine. I became restless and bored with it just as I had with every previous job.
I had recently been commended for excellence by The White House, had written and been responsible for the passage of legislation that saved thousands of beautiful historic houses from destruction, had invented a technology that saved countless barrels of oil each winter. My office looked out on the breathtakingly beautiful harbor at Rockport, Maine, where lobster boats and foghorns greeted the new day. Yet I had trouble getting through the workday. Even with my extensive background in psychology, I had difficulty understanding why my workday should leave so much to be desired.
Many of my friends faced the same problem: somehow our working lives had not lived up to our dreams. I looked all over New England to find a career expert who could guide me through the process of choosing a more fulfilling direction. I was shocked to find that career counseling methods were extremely primitive, the technological equivalent of 16th century surgery.
I was very fortunate that a fellow member of my local boat club, R. Buckminster Fuller became a mentor to me. Through his coaching, I dedicated my life to creating powerful and effective career coaching methods that would allow anyone to choose a career direction that would fit them so well they would be able to wake up in the morning with enthusiasm for the workday ahead.
In 1981, I founded Rockport Institute. Our philosophy is that, with dedication and hard work, anyone can choose and change to a career that fits them like a custom made suit. Over the years we have realized that, by far, the main reason so many people feel they may be in the wrong career is because they are!
At Rockport Institute we began to reinvent career counseling from the ground up, starting with a few assumptions:
- That even many successful people have not found the kind of deep fulfillment and satisfaction in their work they hoped for, because making truly excellent career decisions is a more complex process than most people go through. The things we have been traditionally taught to consider in making career decisions just scratch the surface. They are inadequate if both success and satisfaction are important.
- That the career decision-making services available to students at college and to career changers from professional career counselors are pathetically ineffective. Perhaps more than one third of us are in the wrong career. This is an unrecognized national disgrace in a country so dedicated to individual self-expression and a “having it all” life-style.
- That a very large percentage of our fellows have their success impeded for the same reason. This includes not only the people who have obviously failed to find a suitable career, but many others who are in a job that only partially fits their talents, abilities, personality, etc. At about the time Rockport Institute was founded, the book The Peter Principle proposed that people stall in their careers because they are promoted to jobs that are above their level of ability and intelligence. Although this is sometimes true, I believed (and have subsequently proved with thousands of clients) that much more often these people had been moved to jobs that were outside of their range of natural abilities. They had been promoted to the wrong job.
- That it is possible to choose a career that fits an individual so well that it greatly increases the odds for having a lifetime of maximum satisfaction and success, and a career that does not stall out in midstream.
We developed career decision-making programs and techniques that, unlike most career counseling, were (and are) very successful in coaching people through the morass of uncertainty to the best possible career decisions. These programs combine in-depth testing of natural abilities, talents, aptitudes, etc. with a complete exploration of clients’ personalities, temperament, values, commitments, passions, spirituality, habits and life-style. We help them discover what workplace environments are best for their individual makeup. Clients get clear on everything that really matters to them. They are introduced to important factors that they never considered, but that play a large role in day-to-day career satisfaction and success. Then, they put all the pieces together into a practical, doable career choice, a new direction that they designed themselves.
Our programs are now available worldwide. Rockport has helped more than 10,000 clients. Clients represent all walks of life: young and old, rich and poor, professionals, artists, students and people reentering the work force. There are programs for mid-career changers as well as for college students and other young people making original career decisions.
As Director of Rockport Institute, I have had the opportunity to serve as personal career consultant to several national and global leaders, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, senior policy makers of three presidential administrations, and people in nearly every field of endeavor. Clients have one thing in common: a desire for a more fulfilling career. Rockport Institute programs enable people to have the most successful, productive, and fulfilling lives possible.
We are practical idealists with an extraordinary record. Rockport’s programs have been so effective that nearly 90% of clients who complete our programs report that the results they had wanted to achieve have been fully realized.
President Clinton was kind enough to commend my work. He wrote: “ I am heartened by your efforts to empower people to lead productive and fulfilling lives. … As you well understand, knowing one’s own gifts and talents is a powerful tool for finding work that is challenging and rewarding …The success of this information revolution will ultimately depend on the dedication and commitment of individuals who, like you, care deeply about helping people reach their creative and productive potential. [Your career coaching programs represent] the kind of effort our country needs in order to meet the demands of a global economy.”
In the distant past I have been: a corporate CEO, an entrepreneur, plant manager of a manufacturing company, researcher in psychology, blues musician, well driller, and paper boy. I wouldn’t trade my current career for any of them – or for any other career I can think of.
I live by a lake, in the midst of woods, fields, and flower gardens with my wonderful wife, Mitra.