Five years ago I decided to resign from my full-time job as Head of Sales in a SaaS company so that I could pursue a career that sat true to my life goals.
So what was the push that motivated me to take such a drastic, risky decision without having another job lined up?
I spent six months researching life coaching until finally in November 2015 I committed to, and applied for training as a coach with the Center for Coaching Certification, based in the United States. What started then, was an incredible journey of self-discovery that made me feel alive in a way that hadn’t felt alive since my first lecture at university!
My course culminated in a trip to Los Angeles to sit my coaching practicum and complete the live sessions needed to qualify for certification. It was a fantastic experience, and I met some wonderful people who were using coaching techniques and practices to turn out amazing projects in their communities and incredible work in their businesses. In my eyes, these people were living lives that echoed enrichment in every personal and professional decision they made.
When I completed my course and came back from my trip, I felt a renewed sense of energy and zeal for life.
I understood that there was more to my days than what I had allowed my life to reduce to — and yes, I had allowed it to happen. I had let my career eat my world, neglecting my relationships in favour of evenings spent on my studio floor, typing out emails at 1 am. I had become my job, and my job had become me.
Ironically, at the same time as all of this was happening, I had just finished reading Kafka’s The Castle for the first time, and I felt my alienation echoing the protagonist, K’s struggle.
Nowhere else had K. ever seen one’s official position and one’s life so intertwined as they were here, so intertwined that it sometimes seemed as though office and life had switched places.
And here I was, a modern day K, living in the village and constantly concentrating my gaze towards the unattainable, unreachable castle. And my castle didn’t have a moat and wasn’t shrouded in mist or covered in ivy either. No, my castle was built out of heavy bricks made of things like:
Worse still, it wasn’t even that I hadn’t achieved any of the above. Instead, it was the sobering fact that just like K; my transcendence, my actualisation and my success were dependent and externally driven by my job!
My mentor in L.A asked me ‘what do you want?’ And I remember the question repeating itself over and over in my head each day at work after I returned from my trip. I knew. I knew, but I was terrified of leaping into the unknown.
How could I leave my livelihood behind?
I needed to pay for rent!
And here I was, once again, letting my anxiety drag me back into the safe zone, that comfortable place where nothing exciting ever happens.
So at 25 years old, I decided to pack it in and commit to resigning, I mean, why had I even flown 16 hours across the world so I could qualify as a coach if I didn’t also want to hold myself accountable for my lifestyle? I had to move forward with confidence and intent.
I’m now 30 years old, reflecting on and editing a piece of writing that I wrote five years ago, in preparation for yet another life-changing shift.
A lot has happened in five years, and I’ve had to quit coaching TWICE. Once because I couldn’t secure enough paying clients to pay my rent, and once because I got pregnant and couldn’t commit to the amount of paying clients that I had!
In between providing business coaching and personal development coaching, I realised that I hadn’t even found what made me happy yet. I was enjoying getting results and clients, but I still wasn’t OVER THE MOON to take on another new client. I still wasn’t BLISSED OUT over the life I had created for myself.
What was REALLY driving me was the full-time copywriting gig I had taken up shortly after I got married. I had only ever written as a freelancer in the past and had never written as much copy as I was now writing daily. However, the challenge and excitement of being able to write every single day (and get paid for it) made me realise that somehow, after all of these years of searching, I had unintentionally stumbled across my true calling.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love coaching, and I still get a kick out of helping people rise to their own challenges, but what was fueling me more than my one-to-one sessions, were the topics I was uncovering and writing about on this blog after I’d met with a client, or after a particularly challenging day at the office.
So what was going on?
Was I a bad coach? Was I a good copywriter? Was I something in-between?
I have to say, I’m not quite sure yet, but I think I may be on the cusp of discovery.
What I HAVE uncovered is my medium. My channel. The place where I feel most at home and comfortable, and that is definitely online and on paper, as someone researching, creating and crafting valuable content.
It may have taken five years, and a flight to Los Angeles to get to this point but had I not resigned and decided to try when I was 25 years old, perhaps I wouldn’t be writing this story today.
I’ve taken time to find my path in life and the road has never been linear and easy. I’m always checking in with myself to make sure that I’m still content because I never want to ALLOW myself to fall victim to a job I’m not happy in again.
My most significant learning from Kafka was to become a castle unto myself and to learn how to redirect my energy towards what I love and believe in because that’s where I uncovered my authenticity.