Passions become a livelihood
Sharon Bowman of Glenbrook has taken her 23 years of teaching experience with the Lake Tahoe Unified School District and built upon it with her enthusiasm for life and lots of hard work to create a new life for herself as a successful businesswoman.
In 1993 Bowman saw a need for improved teaching methods in classrooms, in the corporate business world and in the home. She came up with an idea that has led to a career as an author of light-hearted, self-help books and a speaker at private businesses, government agencies and school districts all over the country.
“I help people learn how to deliver information in ways other than lecturing,” Bowman said. “People have a lot of information and a little bit of time to present it.
“People would ask me how I do it,” said Bowman, who is working on her seventh book due out in 2005, “The 10 Minute Trainer,” designed for use by educational and publishing companies.
Bowman’s books and lectures are written for parents with children, employers with employees, teachers with students and trainers with adult learners – anyone who needs help in learning to communicate more efficiently.
“We all do it,” said Bowman of the practice called lecturing. In fact, her most recent book – “Preventing Death By Lecture!” – was inspired by a conversation with a young businessman she met in her travels who saw no need for audience participation during his speech.
Bowman and her marketing manager, who is also her “lifetime partner,” formed Bowperson Publishing Co. and now Bowman spends her time alternating between writing and conducting her one-woman teaching and training business. Other books published by Bowman include “Presenting with Pizzazz,” “How to Give It So They Get It,” “If Lazarus Did It, So Can You,” “Shake Rattle & Roll” and “Going Lightly – Terrific Tips to Lighten Your Daily Load.”
Of “Going Lightly,” a stress-management book, Bowman said, “It doesn’t change what’s going on around you. It just changes how you react to it.”
About half of Bowman’s income comes from her books and the other half from training, but she said she would like to increase her writing time in the future while still continuing teaching seminars. She has also helped in the formation of Lake Tahoe Trainers’ Group, an informal group of teachers, trainers and consultants with members from as far away as Reno.
Members meet and “share ideas, training skills and wellness skills,” said Bowman, who is planning on putting together a seminar for anyone who is interested this summer. “It will be a seminar for people in the community wanting to develop their own training or consulting business,” she said.
Bowman said she feels extremely lucky to have come this far, but remembers the struggle it took to get there. When she first made up her mind to leave her teaching position, she had to take “survival jobs” and do a lot of “freebie” lectures in order to make ends meet.
“I made up a job,” Sharon said smiling. “I leaped and the net appeared, so to speak.
“Always, every day, it surprises me that I can make a living at this and that there is a continuous need for this,” she said. “If anyone had said to me 10 years ago I’d have a thriving business, I wouldn’t have believed it.”
Bowman’s advice for teachers is: “There’s a whole world waiting for good teachers.”
For anyone who thinks they cannot achieve what they desire to do, she said, “If they have a dream, whatever that is, pursue it in baby steps or giant steps – hold on to your dream. Find your passion. Whatever your passion is about, it can be your livelihood. Most of us give up our dreams too early.”
Bowman remembered how she hadn’t known what direction her dream was to take her, but just went with it. “You don’t have to have your dream all flushed out in the beginning,” she added.