About Me

Hi, I'm Sharon Olbeter.  I'm a retired Air Force colonel who had a very varied career.  I served about 11 years on active duty, first enlisted as a medical laboratory technician and then as a civil engineering officer before I separated from the Regular Air Force. I felt terribly unhappy, which at the time I blamed on my career choice.  I joined the Reserves to keep a foot in the military and earn a retirement, which accumulated into an active duty retirement.

Falling into the Abyss

What I didn't expect was that I would fall apart when I left and spiral downward into major depression. I felt adrift like I had no connection to anything. The problem was I didn't know who I was or what I cared about;  I had never paid attention. I had spent my life doing solely what was expected of me.  My life was the Air Force and then there was nothing. 

Getting Back Up Again 

I had to develop an internal compass that would guide me in making appropriate career choices.  By paying attention to what interested me I eventually I discovered what I wanted.  I went to graduate school and developed an interest in motivation psychology. At the same time, I volunteered to do career counseling at nonprofits, and volunteered for Reserve active duty assignments that seemed appealing.  I felt like a trapeze artist figuratively - one assignment would end and another would appear.  I gravitated toward people-oriented work because that's where my passions lay and retired out of SAF/MR (Air Force Manpower and Reserve Affairs) as an O-6 at the Pentagon.

Hitting Another Obstacle

When I retired, I thought: now I’m truly free to do anything I want to do. Yippee!  I felt excited to embark upon an entrepreneurial career as an educator and professional coach. Then I realized I wasn't prepared for the challenge.  I hadn't yet developed an entrepreneurial work identity for my new role.  I simply couldn't envision myself as an entrepreneur - my work identity was as an individual contributor in a large, established organization.  I kept seeking information in books and online courses to find direction. But I remained stuck until I finally realized that no one had a magic answer for me.  

My Anti-Abrupt Career Transition Stance

I learned the hard way (finally) that abrupt career transitions aren't a good idea.  I look back now and realize that I should have been transitioning to my civilian phase way before I retired.  I could have been constructing the identity I needed by engaging in activities that would have been similar to my future self. That way, my transition would have naturally evolved as I became the entrepreneurial person I wanted to be. 

I suspect that's why other veterans have difficulty.  They lose the only world they know and haven't constructed a new work identity with a foundation for their civilian phase. In retrospect, I look back at what I could have done differently, such as networking with people whose careers I desired, putting out thought leadership pieces to get my ideas out, maintaining and building my contacts, doing work during off-duty hours, etc.  

My Conclusion

You have to lead yourself to create the work you want.  You do this by discovering what ignites, fuels and stokes your inner fire by aligning your desires, thoughts and behaviors in the direction you want to go. You're unique so it takes a bit of discovery to figure it out. There are motivational assessments that can help you but you still need to delve into how they apply to you.  When you do discover what you want, you can focus on the right opportunities for yourself and consider how you can take actions to craft your career from wherever you are.  

My chosen work is to empower military members and veterans create a career that they truly want by leveraging what naturally motivates them.  I help you:

  • Uncover your desires to envision an ideal work life
  • Identify opportunities to grow and contribute the way you want to in the way you want to do it to ignite your motivation
  • Assess your current situation and how you will get what you need to commit to act to fuel your motivation, and
  • Create a structure for learning and taking action to make progress to stoke your motivation
  • Sustain yourself throughout your career journey

I know I already wrote a lot, but you might want to know about my qualifications for why I can help you - so here's a bit more about myself:

Work Experience: 34+ years in the Air Force (enlisted as well as officer) with lots of professional military education; awarded Legion of Merit

University Education:  Master of Education with an emphasis in Adult Education & Development; Master of Arts in Educational Psychological Studies; Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering

Coaching:  Certifications as an ICF Associate Certified Coach, Board Certified Coach and Advanced Certified Personal and Executive Coach; also attended coaching programs at the Inspired Business Institute and the Career Coach Institute; trained in career counseling by the YWCA of Boulder County and American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).  Certified in Career Personal Branding and Career Transition Coaching.

Assessment Certifications:  I'm certified in EQi-2.0 and 360 to assess emotional intelligence.  I'm also certified in the DRiV, What Drives You, What Drains You? and the What Motivates Me? career motivational assessments. 

Business training:  Completed the Women Igniting the Spirit of Enterprise Program and Boots to Business Reboot Program with Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families in addition to a wide range of online courses related to online self employment.  

I welcome you to the journey!  If you like to reach out, I'd love to hear from you.  Please email me at: [email protected] .

To your happiness and success!




"Sharon is a fascinating coach, her career in US military made me really sit up and listen. She is wise and very laid back. She has a very subtle way of getting me to complete tasks while at the same time seeming to have all the time in the world to listen to me talking away. I got finished products from working with Sharon... and thank you for that."  Tom Butler, Tom Butler Coaching.

“Sharon was invested in helping me to move forward toward my goals and supportive as I explored possible routes to get there. She helped me to hone my business message and gain important insights in a short period of time.” Sonya Fields, Sonya Fields Coaching.

"Sharon’s coaching style is very warm and inquisitive. Besides being fully engaged in each coaching session, she is a great accountability partner. I was able to make measurable progress toward my goals while working with Sharon".  Shelene Perriard, Shelene Perriard Career Coaching Services