Adam’s Winding Path
Adam Bee, 43, left a successful marketing career four years ago to start up a business as a Intuitive Relationship Coach. This is his winding path.
In two-three sentences how would you describe what you do most days/weeks?
I work with people who want to find more ease in relationships, sex, and desire. Folks who want to learn to navigate obstacles, conflict, and consent. And those who wish to better understand how power dynamics, systemic oppression, and our culture impact their inner process.
What did you want to be when you were eight?
All I wanted in my youth was to be out of my small town in Tennessee. I knew from a very young age that I didn’t fit in there. It was incredibly lonely, and that fire has driven me my whole life to seek for more and always ask, “What would make it better?”
What did you learn about work that you learned from your family?
I watched my father live a miserable life as he worked constantly in a job he didn’t like. I knew I didn’t want that, and it ingrained in me a motivation to ask for more and do whatever I could to get it. I watched my grandfather, grandmother, and mother spend their lives helping others. A lot of it resonated and some didn’t, but it shone a light onto how I wanted to live my life.
What professional experiences/employers had the greatest impact on you?
This is so hard to articulate because there are so many lessons and so much wisdom on each step of the path. Right now, I am focused on my limits and where I want to say no, who I want to say no to. I have noticed that when I don’t say no for myself, I fall out of peace and ease very quickly. And I can locate that in all of my previous jobs.
What is something about your career journey that people might not expect?
Leaving behind my successful marketing business to step into work in the sex & relationship industry at 39. I was completely terrified. Coming out as gay in the late nineties was nothing compared to the anxiety I had around starting a new business that talked about sex. I was fully prepared to lose most of my relationships, family, and friends. But I didn’t. I got so much support because they could see my intentionality, heart, and desire. They knew I was serious about it, and they believed in me. Sure, some people stepped back, but I honestly can’t even name them because they weren’t that important in my life to begin with.
I believe that taking courageous actions like changing career paths to do something you love is always scary and it will always simultaneously attract and repel people. I learned a lot about who loved me and who supported me. I learned a lot about myself, my bravery, and what I could do.
Why did you pivot?
There was an unmistakable desire in my body to do more. I wanted to change lives. I knew I was good at many of the elements of this work, and I knew if I ignored it I would be miserable. I have taken a lot of risks in my life, but this was by far the biggest. I dropped everything, moved to NYC, and started creating. It was hard, and I have found so much joy in that decision.
What skills were portable from what you had been doing previously and what was brand new to you?
Bringing over organizing, processing, and Excel skills has been helpful. So many in the personal development industry don’t have a good grasp of these elements that are, in my opinion, helpful in running a business.
What I had to learn was integrity. I think so much about capitalism and business is built upon a framework that demands taking from others outside of integrity. It does not support people or organizations that are interested in real community, honesty, or integrity. While I, of course, supported those ideals, I had no models for it. So, it took some learning. And I’m still learning.
What was the hardest part about making a career pivot?
Learning to say no to folks I didn’t want to work with. Because I work in sex and relationships, I get a lot of folks who want proximity to my body. And when times are tough, I might ignore the pieces that are red flags for me. I always try to remember that if I don’t say no now, I’m going to be saying it later - only by that time there might be a lot of hurt or harm.
What were the most important lessons you’ve picked up along the way?
I am enough. No certificate or sheet of paper will give me value. My experiences, my ability to be present, and my curiosity give me value.
What would you say to others who are doubting their ability to make a change in their career/vocation?
Hold the doubt in your hand and see it, acknowledge it. It will always be there so you might as well learn to be friendly with it. Say hi, goodbye, and then take that step. And have a solid team of supporters who have taken those steps before you.
Where did you get the confidence and support to make such a change?
I have always had a lot of unearned confidence about my abilities. Growing up white and male will do that for a lot of folks. I also have been blessed with a mother and sister who always believe in me. Their unwavering support for every crazy decision I have made has helped a lot.
But I’m also intensely curious about many things. That keeps me going, it keeps me learning. My curiosity keeps my engines going so that I can keep innovating and creating new things.
What was the hardest thing you had to overcome in your professional life?
Bosses who didn’t know how to manage their mental health. In my experience, whenever we aren’t able to hold ourselves, we project that out onto those around us. And in business settings, that is often the people beneath us.
And now that I’m working for myself, I do it to myself! It’s a vicious cycle that I’ve learned to pay close attention to. My own insecurities and challenges rear their heads on a constant basis. The fear, doubt, shame, grief - it’s always there. And I am much better at holding it, acknowledging it, and making better decisions for myself.
What, if anything, are you hoping happens next in your professional life?
I am hoping to continue my retreats and workshops. I love group work. I love the intensity and potential for radical transformation. I’m always curious to see where this work takes me. It is always deepening and ever-evolving – personally and professionally.
What social media links, if any, might you like to share in the piece?
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/adambeenyc/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/adambeenyc
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/adambeenyc/
YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/adambeenyc