Seven years ago, a close friend told me that they thought I’d be self-employed within the next few years.
And I remember thinking to myself, there’s absolutely NO WAY I would be doing that!
The risk, the unknowns, and my perceived lack of capability – it was all so blinding at the time.
So, I continued on as an employee
A journey that has taken me through many horrible workplace cultures.
I noticed the worst type would develop when all decisions from management were stemming from their bottom line.
It led to staff who wouldn’t take responsibility for their actions, workplace gossip that was off the charts, and staff turnover rates that were through the roof.
As a middle manager in organisations like these, I would work day-in and day-out to improve this toxic culture. I focused on captivating, motivating, and engaging my team – and with great success, too.
But my bubble soon popped when I realised there was no support from my manager. And I quit.
From there, I was fortunate to start studying.
And despite getting ridiculed for everything I was doing naturally, I persisted.
At this point, I knew I’d never go back to traditional employment
I felt sure that businesses would find what I had to offer valuable.
So I reached out to an organisation that, at the time, held a (free) business advisory contract.
When I met with my mentor from the organisation, I was full of fear and doubt that I could even make this happen. But, on the flip side, I was riddled with drive, optimism, and enthusiasm.
My goals, both in life and business, have never been small. I’ve always wanted to be ‘everything to everyone’.
Needless to say, my mentor wisely told me to focus on one thing and be excellent at that! Though I remember hating this advice at the time.
Eventually, I succumbed to the fear and opted for contract work instead
My contract work grew from one contract to two. And then I took on two presidency roles. The next minute, I realised I had no space to grow my fledgling business, Savant.
I’d actually taken the easy route – although it wasn’t easy at the time!
When COVID-19 took hold of Tasmania, I felt privileged to have the chance to reflect on my career journey. But all I discovered was that I wasn’t staying true to my original vision.
How would I fix this? What changes would need to happen?
And what does this vision look like now?
After months of falling down and rebuilding, I finally took a step forward
I summoned some courage and withdrew from my Number One secure contract.
This was one of the scariest moments of my life!
To walk away from job security, from regular and guaranteed work, and to have complete faith in my ability to generate an income that would support my family – it was nothing short of intense.
However, I did have an incredible head start… I had unwavering support from my husband.
At this point, I took the time to map everything out
I made an action plan. And I made sure my head, heart, and hands were in alignment. I let go of my inner desire for complete control, and worked towards greater flow and holding faith.
Most traditional business advisors cringe when I say I work to the day’s flow. But honestly, I wake up each day and take it as it comes.
I always start with a guide to what I want to achieve – something of a ‘To Do’ list.
Still, I often get distracted by ‘something shiny’, like a grant application or a new lead (or having to make an hour round trip to drop off a sports uniform for my pre-teen who’s still learning the high school timetable).
So, what’s the secret to my story?
- Don’t let fear hold you back. Acknowledge its presence, and know that if you didn’t feel fear, you wouldn’t want your goal badly enough!
- Don’t underestimate the power of support. Find critical people to be your cheerleaders (they may not necessarily be your family or direct friends).
- Trust your instincts. But back it up with data.
- Know that everything happens for a reason.
- Go with the flow. Laugh lots and enjoy the journey!