When I tell people that I worked for over 25 years under the corporate umbrella, they are usually impressed by my resume, background, and tenacity. When I continue the conversation and tell them that I left Corporate America to follow my dreams of being an entrepreneur, their impression of me develops into a sense of shock and awe. I get questions like, “weren’t you scared?” and “how did you do it?” They then follow with “you’re so brave” and “I could never do that” or “that’s awesome, but it could never be me”
Too often, when we have a desire, we let the fear of the unknown get in the way. We have somehow, as a society, convinced ourselves that we need the “stability” of a corporate job or the “guaranteed” paycheck.
SPOILER ALERT! After two layoffs from my secure corporate roles, I no longer believe in the stability of Corporate America.
Maybe that’s just me (shoulder shrug)
“You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen” – Michelle Obama
Let me tell you, walking away from my corporate job and six-figure salary was one of the hardest and easiest things I have ever done. To rid myself of the golden handcuffs (what I call a job that gives you a salary, benefits, stock options, etc.) was damn near impossible, or so I thought. Being able to breathe, enjoy my work week, my clients and live according to me … EASY DECISION
Here’s what I know. Whatever you have in your heart and whatever “job” you can’t seem to stop thinking about, that’s what you are supposed to do. Often, that thing, is your purpose.
How did I find my thing? After many years of leadership under the corporate umbrella, I started to think about what I truly liked about my job. When I was honest with myself, I realized that I couldn’t care less about the reporting or the project management. I couldn’t care less about the title or the “seat at the table”. (Afterall, my desire was to create my own table.) What I liked most about my job was the people. I loved the people that I came in contact with on a daily basis. I loved mentoring people and I loved helping people reach their next level of success. Often mentoring went beyond the corporate walls. I was afforded the ability to have conversations with people about personal growth and development.
After having mentoring sessions or speaking in front of a group, I always felt excited and alive. I felt accomplished and I knew in my soul that I was living in my passion and that I was making a difference. Yes, it took over 20 years but, I realized that coaching and mentoring was not only my passion but, it was my purpose. To no avail, I tried to fit a square peg into a round hole by convincing my job(s) to allow me to coach regularly or on a full-time basis. To “accommodate” they added more mentees to my current job function. More work for me, more hours for me (same pay because I was a salaried employee), as I worked tirelessly to help them hit their “development” benchmarks. While that was workable arrangement for a little while, it was truly a one-sided win. Eventually the “other stuff” (a.k.a. my core job function) outweighed the desire for them to develop employees and my true passion was behind me once again.
SIDE NOTE: Leaders, invest in your people. Invest in developing your employees. Find out their gifts and their passions and help nurture it. I promise you will reap the benefits long term.
Unfortunately, many leaders and corporations miss that! I have the same conversation with all of my employees and mentees …
I ask, “What is your passion?” I would ask “If I were to pay you $1M. to do any job and nothing stood in your way, what would your job be?” After some soul searching and then giving themselves to be honest, I’d say,” If we don’t identify your true goals then I am doing you and this company a disservice. I want to get you to the place where you WANT to be, that is the only way you will prosper”
Many companies have their own agenda and don’t tap into the gifts of the people they hire. LEADERS, please listen to me when I tell you to invest in your people. If not, it will cost you in productivity, creativity and possibly lead to shrinkage and attrition
BUT I DIGRESS
In my corporate role, I would coach people to find their passion and to live in their purpose and then find that I didn’t take my own advice. I was being a hypocrite because of FEAR. I was afraid on the unknown. Afraid I wouldn’t be able to maintain financially. Afraid that I lacked the necessary knowledge and confidence. I was also afraid of what other would think, what they would say and frankly that they would think that I lost my mind. I mean, who takes off the golden handcuff, right?
When I shared my dreams people would say “Do you know how many people would KILL to have your job and salary? ” …. NOPE, but I do know who was dying inside every day the alarm clock went off. ME!
I used to dream about the day when I could walk away. I would say thing like “I won’t be happy until my name is on the door”. People would ask me what I wanted to be when I was younger, and I’d say “a talk show host” (from a self -help perspective). I used to dream about talking to young women who have been through some shit in their lives and needed a non-judgmental ear. I wanted to be someone who woman could relate to. A confidant. A COACH
TALK ABOUT MANIFESTING!!!
One day, while at work, I found myself organizing and cleaning off my desk, as I did often, this time however it was a little different. This time I noticed I was packing up my personal belongings. I was taking everything that meant something to me, and I put it in my car. Now, I didn’t quit right away. FEAR! I called off of work. I got sick to my stomach. I had anxiety. I had stress/fear headaches and I had aches and joint pain. FEAR! But, long story short, that was the beginning of the end
I left Corporate America in pursuit of a full-time coaching career. Was it easy? HELL NO. I still worry about how the bills will get paid and I wonder if I made the right choice. I am human right? Sadly, worrying is what we do.
BUT I HAVE FAITH
Knowing that I am working and walking in my passion, through mindfulness and meditation, I have realized that the Universe has a plan for me. I have found peace in knowing that I am honoring God by doing what I am put on this earth to do. Now, that my sound a little cray-cray and very pie in the sky to you but, let me tell you, the peace I found in knowing that everything will work out is second to none.
Full disclosure… all this confidence is coupled by having a husband who believes in me. He believes in my dreams and who will stop at nothing to help me pursue them. He talks sense into me when I am afraid and stops me from applying for corporate jobs, that we both know I’ll hate , when I get scared . We both know DAMN WELL that aint my path!
SHOUT OUT TO THE BEST HUSBAND IN THE WORLD!
By no means am I telling anyone to walk away from their job but, what I am saying is that you MUST figure out your passion and purpose (P&P). You MUST find a way to work on your P&P every single day. You must feed your P&P and watch it grow. Pray for your P&P. Manifest. Put your true desires out in the Universe and watch the Universe respond accordingly. It may not happen overnight, but it will happen. Trust yourself and trust your instinct. Don’t listen to the naysayers, after all…
” you can’t expect a blind person to see your vision”-T.Godby
Want to talk more about living the life you were born to live? Let’s chat