Why Quitting My Job was the Hardest and the Easiest Decision of My Life
You’re feeling stuck and unfulfilled. You see other people chasing their dreams and taking risks and you wonder how they do it.
I know the feeling all too well.
It was about a year and a half ago (mid-July 2017) that I was in the darkest period of my life.
I had received some therapy for post-partum depression but was still feeling stuck. Paralyzed by the future. I had gone back to work full time after my first maternity leave. I was scared that going back to that same job again would be different this time around. I was afraid that my mental health would suffer. I longed for a slower paced life. I needed breathing room to ensure that I could sufficiently care for myself and my daughters and to ensure that my marriage didn’t implode.
July 11th, I received an email that changed the trajectory of my life. A fitness coach was pivoting in her career and was looking for women to life coach. I replied to her email without hesitation. It was almost as though I was guided to do so. I knew that something in my life had to change and I knew I couldn’t access the answer myself. What could it hurt?
I started working with my coach once a week on the phone for an hour and a half. Within a couple of weeks I was feeling re-energized and purposeful. I had a plan. I just needed to tell my boss that I wasn’t coming back full time.
I put this conversation off for many weeks. Maybe, months.
I knew that I wanted to help other moms get that same clarity. I wanted to bring them fulfillment and piece of mind that it was ok to take a chance on themselves. This was the birth of my coaching practice Rooted & Vibrant.
As I reflect upon my first year of business, I am trying to pinpoint the highlights, but also to remember the lows, because really, that is when our true grit and determination shine through. So here it goes….
My home office came to life.
I had a dream of creating a small home office in our basement where we once had a guest room. My father-in-law caught word of this idea and he took off with the idea. He helped repaint, refloor and decorate. He even constructed a built-in desk for me. He and my mother-in-law would come every Wednesday. She would watch my youngest daughter so that I could study for my coach training or my meditation class and he would get to work in the basement. Their support and faith in me helped propel me forward in those early stages, when I really had no clue what I was getting into. I had a beautiful space to meet my clients in and a place to organize all of my business things (where the girls couldn’t get at them!).
My previous job asked me back, on my terms.
I had asked my previous employer if I could come back to work part time rather than full time when my daughter was one and the answer at the time was a firm ‘no’. This freaked me out completely but I was so intent on starting my business that I didn’t cave in. I resigned from my job. A couple of months later they re-contacted me and offered me a position to come in 1-2 times per week! I am so thankful for this part-time casual position because it has provided me with some steady income, allowed me to maintain my genetic counselling qualifications and to keep in touch with my awesome colleagues. In coaching we call this a transition plan; when you work in your “day job” until you feel ready to let go and take on your business full-time. I don’t know how long my transition phase will go on, as I continue to work one day per week, but for now it works for me and my family.
Like most coaches, I completed my coaching certification by attending classes and by coaching practice clients for free. You can get to know someone very well by coaching them for 90 minutes every week for 6 weeks. At the end of each of my 6 week freebie sessions I had to have my first (and dreaded) sales conversations. When one of my clients agreed that my coaching had been valuable and that she wanted to PAY me to keep working together it felt gratifying! Yay! I felt like I could do this and that I was on the right path. This client has continued to work with me for my whole first year of business. In this time, she has negotiated a way to work from home in her current career, learned to play the piano, strengthened her relationship with her partner and decluttered her home. In 2019, I look forward to helping her transition away from her traditional career and into the world of entrepreneurship.
Picking up my daughter from school.
This is a big one for me. When I started my business I had a pretty major limiting belief that I couldn’t be a successful mother and run a successful business. I have worked so hard on this this past year. Something that was really helpful was defining exactly what “successful mother” and “successful business” meant to me. To be successful a motherhood I wanted to drop my kids off at school/daycare and pick them up. I wanted to be there for bedtime. Make their breakfast and dinners. Have a strong connection with them; lots of hugs, kisses and stories. Running a successful business is harder for me to define because this is my first business. To me, it means being respected in my field, giving talks as an expert, serving one-on-one coaching clients powerfully, and earning enough money to make up for the income I left behind. I found that following other mompreneurs and getting inspiration from their paths has helped define this as well. I can proudly say that I am living in alignment with my value of ‘family’. I am being the “successful mother” I wanted to be and I trust that the “successful business” will follow along as I become a more skilled entrepreneur.
New friends and connecting with old ones on deeper level.
When I took the chance to change the direction of my career was a turning point in my life. I decided to no longer live by all of the social ideals that bogged me down. I was raw and honest. I learned to say no to more things. I protect my time and energy. I spend time with people that are interesting, kind and supportive of me. I have met countless local female entrepreneurs who are inspiring. I have had conversations with my friends that are more real. Because of this we connect differently.
Yes, when I quit my job I said good-bye to a pension, a good and steady income, a career that I worked hard to obtain. But when I quit my job I said yes to ME. I said yes to slower days with my family. I said yes to school pick-up and drop-off. I said yes to following my heart and helping other women find their way back home as well. Quitting my job was the hardest and yet the easiest decision of my life.