Leaving a sure thing; are you CRAZY?
It has been two weeks since I left my full time job. It still feels surreal and I don’t know when it will finally hit me. Let me back up and provide some context, for the past four years I’ve had a full time job for an insurance company and was slowly building my private practice. Building my private practice had been a dream for me since I was in graduate school. I remember at the time it seemed like such an impossible goal.
After graduation the reality of the situation was very evident, I had limited experience, I needed to find a job and I had student loans with a due date. Needless to say the private practice idea was put on a shelf and I got my butt in gear to build my resume, build my experience and start making money.
One job led to the next, that one led to the next and so on and so on. Fast forward 10 years and my career path was not where I thought it would be. I had a lot of success during that that time but I also had a lot of disappointment. Looking back at it, it was this disappointment that got me thinking about starting my private practice again. It was this perceived career set back that made me pause and reevaluate my priorities. I settled into a remote full time job and on the side I was able to start seeing clients. I started with 2 clients and that slowly grew. I developed a schedule and kept at it.
I slowly came to realize that I could not maintain this pace of working full time and building a practice. I was forfeiting work-life balance for a few years and I started to play with the idea of doing this full time. There were many sleepless nights and many doubtful moments if I was making the right decision. Who would leave a great place to work, working from home, and making great money. There was so much security and stability in this work. Then the pandemic hit, surly this is not a good time. Who would be so crazy as to leave the security of a full time job as things are stressful for many people? I could have listened to that rational and logical voice that was seeking security and comfort and stability. But there was also another inner voice, a much smaller inner voice but no less important wanting and craving something else.
Luckily I listened to that voice and here I am two weeks later after having made that decision. It is still early on, obviously I’m at the starting point. Traditionally we don’t celebrate the beginning, we don’t want to jinx it, we are protective or we don’t think there’s anything to celebrate yet. But how can you celebrate your future success if you don’t take that first step. That first step is monumental and life changing.
Celebrate the first step.
Here are some of the things I have learned along the way as I was contemplating this change. I’m sure this list will grow with time and experience.
- Being afraid doesn’t mean that it’s a bad decision. Taking any leap into something new and uncertain is fearful. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t, it only means that you haven’t done it before.
- You don’t have to do it alone. Being independent doesn’t mean doing it all yourself. Don’t let people tell you differently. I have many people around me who have encouraged me along with way. My husband is not just supportive but has helped in researching, emailing, calling and doing other things to support and build this business.
- Tell people- I tend to be a private person and keep things pretty close to the chest. I realized that if I was going to start and grow my business I would need to be more public and let people know. I told friends, I told family, I told coworkers. The response I received back was overwhelming, people were excited for me, people encouraged me and people supported me in my decision. (Not everyone will react the same way, the key is knowing who is in your inner circle.)
- We all feel like imposters- it doesn’t mean that it’s true. I had been seeing my own clients for a few years but taking this huge leap for me brought on a little of the Imposter Syndrome. Being out of your comfort zone will do this, it’s normal and natural.
- You will never feel 100% ready- no matter how long you wait, no matter what the economy looks like, what happens with the political climate. Those things are important to be aware of and to adjust to but they cannot be determining factor or at least my determining factor. I made this decision while the pandemic was still happening.
- I need to TRUST myself. Only I know what I’m thinking, what I’m feeling and what living authentically looks like to me. Other people will have their opinions but take them with a grain of salt. Their opinions are for what they would do based on their own values, their own objectives and their own goals. You are not them and they are not you.
- I will make mistakes. I will not be perfect with this endeavor. I will not know everything. That’s OKAY. I will tap into my capacity for self compassion, I will be kind and gentle to myself when I make a mistake so that I can learn from it.
- I can define my own success. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have a fully booked practice the first two weeks but not having it does not mean that this will not be successful. Success is doing what I love. Success is being more balanced with work and home. Success is having taken this leap and trusting myself.
Don’t think of “FAIL” as “FAIL”, think of it as “F.A.I.L.” = First Attempt In Learning.