After being a few years into a career, people often take some time to consider the path that they’re on. Is your career as you expected it would be when you were younger? Is this the right job, or do you want to explore other options?
Alex Pursglove had some of these same feelings after working in the film industry for three years after college. Her introspection led her to make a shift in her career, taking an entrepreneurial route to start the company Pace Success Coaching.
Alex grew up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2008, dual majoring in communications and film studies. After Alex graduated from Pitt, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the feature film industry. She spent a few years working as a publicity assistant, production assistant, talent coordinator and other freelance jobs on commercials and on the films Twilight, Inception, Cinema Verite, and The Fighter. Then she moved to Dallas, where she spent over a year working for both an NBC Television Series and as an event manager for the Dallas International Film Festival.
While her time in the film industry was exciting at first, after two years she felt bored and somewhat purposeless. “I had stopped growing and being challenged,” Alex said of this time. “I was lacking mentors in my life. My days were mostly spent living on autopilot. I had always valued wanting to make a difference in the lives of others with my career, but I never felt that I was actually getting to live that value in my daily life.”
Then a few months shy of her 25th birthday, Alex was unexpectedly diagnosed with a tumor in her pancreas with cancerous tissue. This was a wake-up call. At first, she didn’t know how serious it was, and all she wanted was more time to make more of a difference. “My life hadn’t mattered enough yet. I hadn’t loved enough yet, I hadn’t impacted enough people. I felt that my life just didn’t have real significance to it,” she said.
Alex underwent surgery to remove the tumor. A few months after recovery, she quit the film industry and moved back home to Pittsburgh to connect more deeply with her friends and family. She started working for a non-profit in the North Side that works with at-risk youth.
When she started there, Alex was given the opportunity to produce the annual premier men’s conference, ManUp Pittsburgh, alongside Pittsburgh Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin. The conference gave her an opportunity to assemble and manage teams, and mentor and develop employees.
In 2016, her sister Samantha decided that she wanted to start a coaching and training business. Given her past experiences, Alex joined as a partner and they started down this new path together. The two were personally mentored and trained by Jack Canfield, the critically acclaimed co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series and The Success Principles. They became certified as Success Principles trainers and launched their company, Pace Success Coaching.
While studying with Jack in California, Alex met his leadership consultant and the CEO of Massively Human Leadership, Kathleen Seeley. Kathleen is an expert in values-based leadership and cultural transformation, and she became Alex’s mentor. Last summer, Kathleen invited Alex to become a certified consultant through the Barrett Values Centre in Cultural Transformation Tools, while she was also becoming certified as an Executive Coach through the Center for Executive Coaching.
Over the years, Pace has evolved and changed drastically as Alex and her sister explored different niches and coaching methods. After two years of experimenting and learning, the two women solidified their primary focus, which is to engage and develop ambitious leaders and teams.
“Within organizations, we help leaders create a competitive advantage through the development of purposeful, high-performing cultures,” Alex said. “My personal mission with Pace is to guide and encourage ambitious individuals and teams to pursue their highest potential, achieve significant goals, and create meaningful results. I have come to learn that when our daily experiences and actions are aligned with our strengths and values, we can create purposeful and fulfilling careers.”
Once Alex and Samantha found clarity on the mission of Pace, they took the business to the next level. They started out by hosting open workshops for small groups and, from there, they began working with several individual coaching clients. By becoming more focused on the mission and vision, they were able to network more effectively and ask for the right referrals. According to Alex, building relationships and networking has been the greatest source of growth for Pace. Through the relationships they built, they were introduced to organizations that were interested in the training programs and coaching engagements for both individuals and teams.
Several of the organizations Pace has worked with include the international technology company Halma plc, the MD|DC Credit Union Association, L3 Leadership, and more.
At the beginning of 2019, Alex made the leap to full-time entrepreneur. She founded a second company, Pace Events LLC, which offers event and conference consulting and management services for transformational events. Since its inception, Pace Events has produced the inaugural L3 One Day conference for L3 Leadership, the annual Makes Cents event for Mission Commission, and the ManUp Charlotte and ManUp Pittsburgh conferences for Urban Impact.
Speaking of entrepreneurship, Alex said, “Taking the risk to go full-time with my businesses has been both incredibly rewarding and challenging. As I focus on growth and sustainability, it entails a consistently overloaded schedule and ease with uncertainty. But at the end of the day, I believe that a fulfilling and meaningful life doesn’t just happen to you. You have to be intentional to make it happen. And that usually requires getting outside of your comfort zone.”
“I can say confidently that my most meaningful and exciting life experiences have occurred outside of the comfort zone. Through this journey, I’ve learned that you are always better off making decisions that are aligned with your values and passions, even if it requires discomfort and taking risks to pursue them. Because living in alignment and pursuing what’s in our hearts is what makes us come alive.”
Follow Alex’s journey at https://www.pacesuccesscoaching.com.