This past week, as you already know if you are connected to me via email, newsletter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, is the tenth anniversary of my business. In response to my announcement of a monthlong celebration, I’ve been getting emails from clients, colleagues, and friends congratulating me on this accomplishment. The response has been lovely and humbling, and is making me even more grateful that I’ve had the career I’ve had over the past ten years. In between the planning of a happy hour, a contest, a book sale, and free coaching hours, I’ve reflected on some of the things I’ve learned on my own journey toward greater career and work-life balance satisfaction. Here are a few:
It took an itch and a leap.
I didn’t grow up wanting to be a career coach, and I didn’t have a strong desire to have my own business until shortly before I did. I was fairly satisfied in all of my previous jobs. It wasn’t until I found something that really excited me (the profession of coaching) that I began daydreaming about possibly starting my own business. And, the desire for my own business only came when I couldn’t use my skills and talents full-time in my current position. I found the more I imagined this new business and career possibility, the more energy I had. I found most of my non-job hours were spent planning for my new career. When I decided I was actually going to leave traditional employment to head out on my own, I had significant periods of worry and doubt. Before I handed in my resignation letter, I had to focus on what I wanted to create (as opposed to what could go wrong) if I left the security of my full-time job.
I needed a safety net.
When I was ready to make this transition, I was fortunate that my husband Nigel was in a secure job that enabled me to significantly reduce my income contribution to our household. Although I was very uncomfortable with this situation, having that safety net enabled me to fully engage in and focus on my new career with intensity. It also was a great motivator, as I wanted to resume my financial contributions as soon as possible.
The roller coaster does not stop.
In just about every facet of my business and work life, there have been significant ups and downs, and they continue. Whether it is income, work-life balance, feelings of success and satisfaction, exhaustion, professional engagement, or positive attitude, they all fluctuate based on countless factors. Every down turn will lead to an up, and my highest peaks are not permanent. I’ve learned to enjoy the ride instead of either fighting it or holding on too tightly.
Surround yourself with great people.
Although 80 percent of my work is done over the phone, and I am the sole person designing, planning, and implementing my business services, it is the people that I work with and connect with each day that makes me love what I do. My clients, my trusted colleagues, and the contractors I hire to help run my business, always enhance my energy, my capabilities, my commitment, and my confidence.
So, how can you take my experience and apply them to your situation? Whether you’re transitioning into a new job/position, or are satisfied in your work and want to continue to grow and develop, keep these in mind:
- Pay attention to the work, the tasks and the ideas that most excite and energize you and look to do more of that.
- If fear, safety, or security is keeping you from taking a leap, sometimes creating even the smallest safety net can give you the comfort you need to take the next step.
- You will get over a big mistake, a bad performance review, or an embarrassing situation.
Don’t let negative situations shape your job, your career path, or your life. Invest time, energy, and attention in maintaining relationships with your clients (even after they’ve stopped working with you), with your colleagues (to make them look really good), and with your community (so they see you as a resource to come to over and over again).