My thoughts on fear, courage, and being an entrepreneur.
In January of 2018 I left my 10-year-old online business for a job as a trainer/facilitator with a Leadership Development company. Though it was a complicated decision — walking away from my website, blogging, subscribers, my online presence — I knew it was the right one.
I was right. I loved the work. I loved the content I got to teach. And I loved the people I worked with. Just a year later, I was promoted. Then, just over a year later, Covid descended. Then, months after that, there was an unexpected senior leadership change. Then, everything changed.
In the midst of such, and regrettably, I watched myself move into my highly-honed default behaviors of compromise and compliance. I kept my head down. I didn’t speak up. I pulled back. I did what was required — but with less heart, less presence, less “me.” Until…
I pulled back far enough to notice. I had to honestly acknowledge that I was behaving in ways that were completely antithetical to who I knew myself to be. And though I couldn’t have known where it would lead, I said to myself, “No more.”
And then, things got even harder (as is almost always the case when we choose our own integrity, authenticity, and alignment over compromise and compliance). And harder still. Eventually, through a “mutual separation agreement,” I left. September 17, 2020.
It is hard to make choices on our own behalf when they are costly, when there is so much at stake, when fear of the unknown looms.
I believe this is almost always the nature of it — at least as I look back on the most significant decisions and transitions in my life. I also believe that bearing those costs and facing those fears exponentially increased the reward, my sense of strength and capacity, my awareness of my own value and worth.
If you are sitting at a crossroads, where the laundry list of costs feels nearly overwhelming, where what’s at stake is pretty much everything, where the fear of the unknown feels dark and scary, here’s what I want you to know:
- Consider that the complexity and cost is the very evidence you need to confirm just how important this choice is, just how capable and worthy you are to make it, just how much you and your desires matter.
- If it were simple or benign, you would have already made the move, had the conversation, left the job, risked it all, started your own business, enforced the boundary.It’s NOT simple or benign. Which is WHY it is asking so much of you.
- Know that your costs and fears are real. You get to acknowledge them instead of push them under the surface. Not once, but over and over again. Though this feels daunting, it is like Olympic training: building strength you didn’t know you had in order to face and surmount challenges you didn’t know you could.
- Trust me when I tell you that you are no less worthy if you wait, if you hold off, if you can’t bear those costs right now. I understand. You are still more than enough.
Now just over a year out from my seemingly-stable corporate position that offered me a steady paycheck and benefits and frequent flyer miles and an expense account — I feel the to-be-expected angst of being on my own.
Day-in, day-out I see the costs, what’s at stake, and all my fears lined up like toy soldiers in front of my computer monitor waiting to be addressed or ignored, tackled or given into.
Day in, day-out I remind myself of what I’m doing and why it matters.
And day in, day-out I recognize that in spite of it all, I am choosing me — over and over again. Most days, that is more than enough benefit to stay the course, trust myself, and persist. Easy? Not at all. Worthwhile? That IS the risk, the gamble, and the focus of my endless hope.
May it be so.