The Planets are Aligning! How Kismet Consulting Came To Be….

Karen Furlong, founder of Kismet Consulting, at the intersection of coaching and engineering.

Welcome to Kismet Consulting

Hello! Let me introduce myself. My name is Karen and I own a heart-centered business called “Kismet Consulting”. I provide clarity coaching, emotionally intelligent project management/ technical solutions, and leadership coaching. I know, coaching and engineering do not seem even mildly related so I’ll explain to you why I am combining them, what I do, and how I ended up here. Grab a coffee and find a comfy spot to read!

The Backstory

First, a bit of history. At 29 years old, I decided to pack up my little chevy truck and drive it across the country to attend engineering school. I graduated with a civil/environmental degree in 2005 at 33 years old, and I returned to northern Canada start my career. I eventually became a professional engineer, a project management professional, and I studied “community economic development” through an MBA program. I have been so lucky to have lived and worked in this profession in Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and Yukon for almost 20 years! I have been supported, encouraged, and offered amazing opportunities everywhere I have worked (including Ireland for almost two years!), and for that I am truly grateful. BUT, in 2018/19, I started noticing signs of burnout. Although I am a very conscientious person and showed up for work every day and did my best, I began to feel mental and physical strain, including excruciating pain in my upper back, shoulders, and neck. I also developed digestive issues and had reflux so bad that I began to aspirate and choke at night. No wonder I was so exhausted! I became a weekend warrior, slogging through my 9-5 while dreaming of the weekend where I could stop thinking about work and have and have fun outside, camping and hiking with friends. Fridays and Saturdays were my favourite! On Sundays, the anxiety would creep back in again, and, after a shitty sleep on Sunday night, I’d find myself sitting in my cubicle on Mondays, feeling tired and emotionally low. I was exhausted, and found myself wondering if there was something more. When the upper back tension led to a herniated disc in my neck and excruciating pain from a pinched nerve, I realized that I could no longer ignore the signs my body was giving me and I HAD to make a change.

Side Note: The shifts I describe above were oh-so-subtle (until they weren’t…OW), and they happened over several years. I don’t believe they were super noticeable to my colleagues because I was still a hard worker, I liked to have a laugh, and I still cared about the clients that I managed projects for. But inside, I was turning to dust.

The Leap

I was offered a position with a local municipal government leading a team of 40 people, so I decided to take on the challenge for a year. A change is as good as a rest, right? Nope. I learned so much, and they were the best team EVER, but the job was incredibly demanding and took its toll, often leaving me so spent that I could barely function. Now my burnout was starting to impact my evenings and weekends! Therefore, when the opportunity to start my own business and work for a Yukon First Nation development corp presented itself, I jumped at the chance. It was an excellent move because it enabled me to test the waters of running a business while still holding on to the financial security of a one-year contract. I had visions of starting to use my gifts to find more fulfillment in my career but I still had no idea how to make it happen, so I hoped that working for a First Nation would bring the satisfaction I was seeking. I  have learned SO much and I have met some of the most amazing people here but, one year later, the contract is nearly over and I am not renewing it because the business development work I’m doing is still not using enough of my heart. I am a huge cheerleader and I wanted to help people develop the skills to avoid going through career burnout and massive health issues too, so I began thinking about ways in which I could do more of that. My damn back still hurts and has never been the same!

The Synergies

So, about half way through the contract, someone I began to follow on Instagram while trying to heal my reflux issues through Ayurveda (@iamsahararose) was advertising for the next cohort of her coaching certification course. I won’t go into the details because this post is already becoming long enough, but the synergies were just off the charts! It felt like a huge shove from the Universe so I enrolled and over the last six months, I have been learning how to be a “soul purpose” coach on nights and weekends. It has been fantastic and absolutely life-changing! To be a part of a group of (mostly) women who want to build people up and use their struggles to help others has been nothing short of astounding. There are SO MANY good people out there; don’t you ever doubt it! So, you may be wondering: what is a “soul purpose” coach? According to the Dharma Coaching Institute (which is a certified coaching program, recognized by the International Coaching Federation):

Everybody has a purpose in life, a calling that reveals itself as we live out our life’s journey. Your Soul Purpose is your unique frequency in this universe. It reverberates in your actions, conversations, and everything you do. It isn’t just about what you do; it’s also about how you do it – how and why you do it, and that, my wise soul, is your “dharma”.

Sahara Rose Ketabi, from

Consider your dharma your life’s mission statement! I believe I have finally found mine through this coaching course and I am so excited to be graduating in three weeks. I intend to use the beautiful skills that really define who I am (I’m a visionary with empathy, kindness, emotional intelligence and no bullshit) to help people who are struggling like I did or who feel like there is something more than sitting behind a computer all day. As I went through this course and tried to figure out how I could bring my engineering profession into coaching, I began to understand that burnout is essentially a crisis of energy and that I am in a unique position to help professionals (especially STEM professionals) “engineer their energy”. I had to figure this all out on my own and with the help of DCI, but you don’t have to make the same mistakes or ruin your back like I did because – I’ve got your back! (See what I did there? Ha) I have learned (and am continuing to learn) the tools to help people reclaim their energy and, in the process, I am reclaiming mine.

The Alignment

The parts that I always enjoyed the most about my engineering career were connecting with people, helping them figure out solutions to their problems, and working as part of a team to affect positive change, but I spent more time doing paperwork than any of those things. I love the technical side of projects (especially renewable energy projects) so I now am making coaching my career and engineering my hobby, which means I can continue to nurture my geek side with less paperwork and a lot more cheerleading! I call this new phase of my career “clarity coaching” because I will be helping people gain clarity on their careers and their life, whether that’s finding their own personal mission statement, or figuring out how to find more energy for themselves and their families. If people are feeling disillusioned with their current job and want guidance towards finding their purpose, I would be delighted to help with that because I have been through it too! I now know that it wasn’t the employers or the jobs themselves that did such a number on my body and spirit, it was the fact that I was in the wrong profession all along. I wasn’t able to fully use my talents and skills to make the world a tiny bit brighter, and that slowly began to dim my own light.

I am writing this post tonight as the planets literally align above! Here’s a link to a description of this rare celestial event: The planets are also aligning metaphorically for me and my life at 51 years old – I am living proof that it’s never too late! I hope they align for you too, because we don’t get a do-over in this life. Prioritize your health, joy and vitality and if you need help with that, let me know. I’ve got you!

Thank you for reading and please get in touch if you would like to chat about your own journey in a safe, supportive and non-judgemental space. Happy star gazing! 🌟

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