Renowned matchmaker Rachel Greenwald, responsible for 801 marriages, shares how she turned her passion into a career…
“How did you get such a fun job?” I’m frequently asked. Well, I’m 48 years old now, but not too long ago I graduated from Harvard Business School (okay, it was 19 years ago, but it feels like yesterday!). I was on the business fast-track selling designer water to supermodels at Fashion Week in New York City.
But, when I got married and was expecting my first baby, I realized the corporate mommy-track was not for me. What’s a smart, successful, driven MBA to do when (3) babies arrive? I had absolutely no clue, but I knew one thing: I could no longer go into an office and pretend that $5 bottles of water were the most important thing in my day. Like many women in my generation, I wanted to find something I could be passionate about, but do it from home around a flexible schedule.
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So I decided to create something I called an “Adrenaline Journal.” This was my own version of a “food diary” (when you go on a diet and have to write down everything you eat each day for a week). Except in my adrenaline journal, I wrote down everything I DID each day, from the mundane (brush teeth, grocery shopping) to the meaningful (read book to my baby, go to my favorite art museum with my mom), and I’d rank each action on a scale of 1 to 5 stars with how much adrenaline I felt surge in my body while doing it. One star meant “boring/blah” and 5 stars meant “I’m super-passionate about this, what an adrenaline rush!”
It was a fascinating experience to help me understand what revs my engine, and at the end of the week, surprisingly there were only 3 actions that rated 5 stars: drinking my English Breakfast tea in the morning, kissing my husband, and talking to a 41-year-old single friend of mine who was struggling to find Mr. Right. The first two actions didn’t seem like potential candidates for a new career, but the third one was the charm. I loved the excitement I felt that week as I told my single friend how to meet men. I was on the phone with her pacing the floor as we spoke, gesturing my arms wildly as I told her “don’t do that!” and “do more of this!” I realized my dating tips were the same strategies I had used every day in the business world, centering around branding, packaging, and niche marketing.
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Fast forward to my friend’s wedding a year later (my first success story), and my matchmaking business was born! As of September 2012, I am now responsible for 801 marriages, my dating advice books now include a New York Times bestseller and are translated into 19 languages.
I’ve been on the “Today Show” four times, in addition to CNN, Nightline, NPR and many more. I even won an NBC reality TV dating show (“The Match Off”)! This is what happens when you monitor your adrenaline in the quest for a new career, rather than ask traditional questions like “What am I good at?” Start asking instead, “What makes my adrenaline spike when I’m actually dong it?” Start your own journal and find out!
So, I think I’m the first Harvard MBA to enter the “love business”, but here’s what I know for sure: I am IN LOVE with what I do, my schedule is 100% flexible and I can safely say that the dating business was a very unexpected career choice for a happily married woman of 20 years.
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