Maeve O’Byrne

Take time to talk to those on the street, they are people with their own story to tell. And, every conversation you have tells you something.


Maeve O’Byrne, entrepreneur and visionary leader, is Founder of , which provides executive and transition coaching for those experiencing change. Maeve loves talking with people and listening to their hopes and dreams. She believes many of our problems today come from an inability to listen and a fear of dreaming. Her practice focuses on individuals contemplating their Third Act, or transition from career to retirement as well as major career change. She works with individuals and companies in supporting individuals and groups look at change not as a negative, but as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Prior to founding her company, Maeve spent nearly three decades in the Charitable sector working with individuals and families as they made life changing decisions about community impact and legacy giving. The conversations she had with many people convinced her that there was another way to make these decisions and at an earlier time in life. She also learned that on retiring many people feel ‘washed up’ or ‘no longer useful’, and yet they have so much to give. She went back to school and retrained as an executive coach. Now she leads conversations on what next and the transition to retirement. She works with people designing their own path in their third act of life.

Maeve lives on Vancouver Island, in British Columbia. She has served on the boards of the Vancouver Island chapters of the Canadian Association of Gift Planning and the local chapter of the International Coaching Federation. In her free time, you can find her visiting her boys in Vancouver, or family in Asia and Europe, hiking and walking with friends on Vancouver Island or dreaming up new designs for gift giving, and reading mysteries.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

I was looking for a name that represented who I am, and that spoke to what I wanted to convey. – Cumhacht is Irish Gaelic (f. noun) for strength and power. It came from conversations on how powerless many individuals feel in this third act of life, and that I want to make them feel empowered to live boldly and continue to reach for their dreams.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My days are rarely the same. I’m not an early riser, and so I’m usually up and about by 9:00 am, sometimes a little later. I work on the steering committee on international coaching project; coaching volunteers working in refugee camps in Greece, Portugal & Italy and so if I have a meeting with them it will either be at 8:00 am or 11:00 pm.

I’m to be found in my office, I converted my kids old playroom and I have a treadmill there which allows me to get up and ‘go for a thought walk’, if I’m trying to solve a problem.

Each morning I check on what I have planned for the day, and get to work. Most of my clients are online, although I have a couple that are local and so we meet in person either at their office or mine. I always break for lunch and leave my computer and phone in the office.

Work in the afternoon usually until about 6:00 pm. Sometimes I wait until later and spend an hour or so on my treadmill, where I walk and read. Before I leave the office I write out what I need to do the next day; what are my priorities; who I need to contact as well as who I’m waiting to hear from. This is then the list I refer to when I get into my office the next morning.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I mull ideas in my mind over days, sometimes weeks. I always carry a notebook with me, and jot down ideas, things that interest me and I look at the notes each day. I cross out those that I’ve moved forward on, and sometimes those that after time don’t make sense. I often talk an idea out with my Mastermind group or other entrepreneurs I know. I let ideas sit in my brain, they need time to marinate before I move forward.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The number of third actors (55+) who are seeking new opportunities and starting their own businesses – there’s a great energy out there.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I write everything down. When I have an idea, I write it down, when something I have been puzzling over, I write it down. At meetings I write notes.

I have a notebook with me always, even beside my bed. Then I look at the ideas during my day, sometimes they trigger something else, or help in working out either a blog I’m writing or a challenge I’m wrestling with.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Not to be so afraid…

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

That you should take time to talk to those on the street, they are people with their own story to tell. And, every conversation you have tells you something.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I take time each week to review where I am and where I want to be. Then I plan how I can get there I catch myself in negative talk and ask ‘what’s happening that this came up?’, I’m conscious of my own triggers and work to eliminate them from my head!

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Networking and being consistent in my habits, while having markers that indicate it’s time to review a process or strategy.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Since I’m just starting on this journey, I’ve yet to experience a major failure. An error when I first started I was anxious to take on all new clients, and sometimes realized there wasn’t a fit. Now I have a ‘discovery’ session to ensure there is a fit for both my potential client and myself. I often ask if you learn from ‘failure’ is it really that or is it a lesson learned?

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Create a service matching older people who wish to rent out a room or two, with younger individuals/university students who in exchange for lower rent will help with chores in the home and stay at least 12 months.

This supports older individuals remaining in their homes longer and helps with feelings of isolation and depression and it assists younger individuals struggling with student debt and/or other financial challenges

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Organic food. As I get older I know that my health is one of the most important factors in my longevity – what I put in my mouth has a great impact on my health. I recently switched to a vegan diet and watched my blood pressure drop as well cutting dramatically my need for pain medication due to chronic disease

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

My google calendar, everything is colour coded and written down – business, social, medical educational; you name it I have it colour coded and just by looking at the calendar I can measure how I’ve spent my day and whether I need to adjust my time spent in certain areas

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Gosh, only one book, can’t do it. Here’s three: The Happiness Advantage – Shawn Achor, Biology of Belief – Dr. Bruce Lipton and Ageless Soul – Thomas Moore.

What is your favorite quote?

My favourite quote changes: Today is ‘Be yourself, everyone else is already taken’ Oscar Wilde

Key learnings:

• Plan your day in advance, and put everything in your calendar and colour code different parts of your life – you can then see how and where you’re spending your time
• Always carry a notebook to jot down thoughts and ideas, refer to it each day when looking for inspiration or as a reminder
• Take breaks during the day and leave your phone off during lunch
• Look at your habits, especially those that affect your health, work to change those that don’t serve you
• Don’t try and do things alone. Set up a Mastermind group, or have a trusted few individuals that you can talk things through and receive feedback