Picking a Path at the Fork in the Road

“Road signs show the way at a dead end on a desert road” by Lachlan Donald on Unsplash

This was not at all how I planned on making this announcement. I planned nice discreet emails to people in my network, but Brene Brown’s recent blog post moved me infinitely. I knew that staying quiet and secretive would not help anyone.

“There are consequences for squandering your gifts. There are penalties for leaving big pieces of your life unlived. You’re halfway to dead. Get a move on.”

This quote is a large part of my story.

Last week marked the one-year anniversary of me launching my life + career coaching business. Making this move last year was a monumental and very proud moment for me. But, for the entire year, I played it really safe. Working my “plan” of moonlighting with my side hustle while still working my full-time job. I was secure, being calculating, being “smart”, doing what I’m “supposed to do”, and having the best (and I use this term loosely) of both worlds. But life kept happening that was throwing my plan and my timeline out of whack. I kept getting little warnings and messages from my doctors, my own little voice, fellow entrepreneurs, coaches, friends and family. But I was so sure of myself and my plan and that I knew what I was doing. I spent my whole career working toward this point in time, and not to mention thousands of dollars on training and coaching, so nothing was going to deter me. Wrong.

My clients had been (and continue to be) a mirror for what I was secretly struggling with — being bold and being willing to really take the leap to go after the life I wanted. I was guiding them to do really fucking bold things, but when I put the mirror up to myself, I wasn’t really doing the same. But, I had a plan and I was working the plan. Then, I had the big scare.

Getting Perspective

While typing at my desk one day, I started to feel very strange. Then immediately after realizing something weird was afoot, the left side of my face and head went numb, as did my left arm and hand. I freaked out and texted my best friend in the world — who happens to be a Chicago-area doctor — and she immediately started taking me through stroke protocol. Note, I had experienced this numbness a few times the week prior but I pushed through because I just had soooo much to do. I couldn’t stop. Or so I thought.

I went to my general practitioner who ultimately sent me for a neuro consult. After a litany of questions, physical exams and assessments, my neurologist diagnosed me with a panic disorder. Essentially, my body is pumping so much adrenaline because of all that I’m carrying on my shoulders that it manifested as this numbness plus a host of other ailments I’ve been experiencing. My doctor advised that I get my stress under control STAT.

The Final Straws

There were two additional final straws (or nails in the coffin). One was my values being tested one too many times in the workplace. Two, was my manager asking me if I wanted to take on a bigger leadership role at work, and possibly move up into a different, more visible position. Now, as the Marketing Director for my organization, my position is already pretty visible. Instead of lying and playing the game and keeping up appearances, I quit my job. Yes, you read right. I quit my full time job. At the end of June, I will be leaving a nearly six-figure salary, benefits, and the security of a full-time job to officially be self-employed…only. The decision was terrifying, and equal parts of liberation and excitement. This is my opportunity to truly fly. Why did I decide to do this? Because of this…

What Happens If Things Never Change?

The cost of doing everything, pushing through, staying comfortable and safe, keeping up appearances, trying to be the perfectionist, and leaving big parts of my life unlived was way too high. So, I decided to take my life back, step fully into my power, and start doing things my way.

It took me a long, long time to get real and come clean. Sharing my story feels magical and it feels like anything is possible. My prayer is that my tale not only inspires you to have more courage in your life and career, but that it reminds you that you only have one go at this thing called life. Please don’t wait until it’s too late or too high of a cost to you, your health (mental or physical), your family, or other relationships before you decide to take action and go after what you truly want. As Joan Baez said, “Action is the antidote to despair.” So, take action!

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As a coach, I specialize in helping professional women who are stuck, working jobs that are sucking their souls dry, living to meet other people’s expectations, and are just plain trying to do it all. I partner with them to help them build their courage, get more clarity, and find more purpose. To learn more about me, visit my website: https://www.ahaprojectconsulting.com/