Changing career – quitting a secure job to run my own business – was one of the scariest things I have ever done. Ever!
On the 20th of June 2014, I quit my job and began working full time as a life coach with my business, The Better Life Project. I have learned a huge amount in the 4 years that have passed since quitting my old job and I wanted to share some of what I have learned with you.
Before you make the decision to quit (or stay) in your job I hope that what I have learned will guide you in the right direction.
IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT CONFIDENCE
Often, a decision to leave a job isn’t about confidence. It’s about courage; acting even though you are scared. And I was scared! Too often we expect total - 100% - confidence before we pursue something new and I've learned that if you are waiting for this to happen, you will be waiting a very long time.
I’M A BIT OF SCARDY-CAT
Following on from the point I made above, I was scared when I left my old job and not one day has passed since that I don’t feel some sort of fear. But let me tell you, I not only feel the fear and do it anyway… I listen to my fear and in an effort to understand and manage it I have grown to accept this part of me and value the input my fear has to offer. You scared Sarah? Good that means you must care about this a lot.
NOT EVERYONE CAN CREATE A LIFE AND BUSINESS THEY LOVE
You know that saying "Create a life and business you love"? Well, that used to be my business slogan until I realised that it's not always possible for people to create a business that they love. That's not me trying to rain on anyone's parade. I believe that everyone is capable of the hard work required to turn dreams into reality, but not everyone has the gift of time or the luxury of patience and perseverance; single parents, people who have faced redundancy, poverty and illness are only some of the real-life barriers preventing people from pursuing the job of their dreams.
I realise how lucky I was to even consider quitting my job to set up a business.
WORK IS NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN MY LIFE
I don't like putting all my eggs into one basket, and I certainly didn't quit my job to do just one thing with the rest of my life, for the rest of my life. The BLP is, honestly, one of the best things I have ever done because it has empowered me to spread my wings and create my Empowered Women Workshop, Life-School an online learning course marketplace and to self-publish my very own book, Be Your Own Best Friend.
But it's not all work! I am completely dedicated to my husband, my friends and my family. I dabble in new hobbies constantly and I am always trying new things.
MAGIC HAPPENED OUTSIDE OF MY COMFORT ZONE
People always say that magic happens outside of your comfort zone, and for me, the magic happened when I left the comfort of my 9-5 office job. When I left one of the most safe and secure things in my life (a consistent salary, pension, sick leave, maternity leave) I was forced to say yes to new things, things that were never on my radar, and my life was and is regularly shaken up (which is a very good thing). Since quitting my job, I have done some awesome things, none of which would have been possible in my old job; travelled the world on a month-long honeymoon, been on the TV and radio, wrote a book, gave a TEDx Talk and rescued a dog!
SELF PROMOTION MAKES ME FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE, MOST OF THE TIME
But it’s just something I have to do. I used to, still, do shy away from self-promotion but when I do give myself permission to “toot toot” I realise just how awesome things are. Self-promotion is just reflection out loud. I love taking stock of all my successes because it can make a hard road, a little less challenging. I still haven’t mastered the art of self-promotion, but I am getting better at it every day.
I AM ONE STRONG ASS MOTHER F*CKER
Not so long ago, I gave myself a mild dose of food poisoning. I woke early and things started to go downhill pretty fast. I had 2 clients that morning and I carried on with each session despite feeling very sick. After I finished these sessions, I went straight back to bed. For the entire day, a warm glow triggered by a sense of pride in what I was capable of was also met with a sinking feeling that this was my life now. As a self-employed person I am afforded very few privileges and I only get paid for the work I show up for.
I am a healthy, young, able-bodied individual but if things were to change, what would happen to me and my business? Well, I know that I am strong and resilient and will cope but planning is crucial if I am to feel secure and safe.
LIFE DID NOT GET ANY EASIER AND THAT'S OK
Loving what you do does not mean you will never work a day in your life, and to be honest I am sick of people saying that it does. I have worked harder, longer and for less than I ever did with in my old job but sometimes, its not all about money. Nor should it be in the first few months or years of setting up shop. Deep down inside I knew that running away from my problem was a race I would never win. And at the time, my job was one of the biggest problems in my life. I was stressed, anxious and the pull of an unfulfilled ambition became too strong to ignore. Quitting my job was hard but being self-employed is harder.
However, I have grown to love my life and every challenge that I face is 100% worth it! I can be lazy, fearful, impatient and jealous... all qualities that make running my own business very tough but I am also incredibly hard-working, a total dreamer and passionate about helping people. If I have to wade through a little mud every now and again to honour what is important to me, I am OK with it.
DOGS MAKE 99% OF YOUR PROBLEMS GO AWAY
I think everyone knows how much I love dogs, especially my Princess Lizzie! Dogs can bring so much joy to our lives and I’m sure most dog owners will agree that they are more than just pets. For me, Princess Lizzie is my companion, best friend, walking buddy and a source of unconditional love.
No matter the day I have, she is always there to greet me with cuddles and kissed. I adore her and how she had changed my life for the good!
HAVING A ROLE MODEL IS CRUCIAL
I spend a lot of time on my own. Sometimes I embrace the solitude, other times I find it really lonely and isolating. But here's the thing, as somewhat of an introvert I find networking very challenging and avoid it, which means I miss out on the opportunity to meet some incredible people. So, I find them online and in books instead. I have discovered some of the most incredible people in the world that inspire me every day to be myself; Marie Forleo, Brene Brown, Sherly Sandberg. These women have paved the way and their success has left me some helpful clues!
Sarah Doyle is a life coach, a speaker, the creator or L-School and The Empowered Women Workshops, the founder of The Better Life Project and author of Be Your Own Best Friend. Sarah works with women all over the world to help them achieve their personal and professional goals, whilst developing their confidence and self-esteem.