PBeing normal and conforming to what society says is the “proper path” is easy. We grow up and many of us go to college or work the family business after high school. We pick a profession and send out our resumes. We go through interviews and hopefully get a job offer that will help us pay off our student loans. We begin to start building that American dream with the perfect family, the dog and house with the white picket fence. Trust me, THAT IS the easy part. Stepping outside of the box and following your dreams – Now THAT is the difficult part. Stepping out of your comfort zone and not worrying about what others think takes guts and that, my friend, is where the magic happens.
So, why do we let the opinions of others stand in our way? Because we want people to be proud of us. We want our family to say ” I support you in whatever you do.” We DON’T want to fail. For most people the word failure means, you don’t have what it takes. And so we allow others, or the timing, failure to be the excuse.
I am here to share with you some words of wisdom form an experienced CEO- ME in business for myself over 10 years and counting. If you want to spread your wings and not look back with regrets, then be true to yourself. It doesn’t matter what anyone else believes. If you have done your due diligence and you feel this is an opportunity you cannot pass up, then go for it. Do not let the opinions of others stop you from your success. And if you fail, then pick yourself back up. Learn from the mistake and you will be one step closer to achieving greatness.
I wish I had been the person who said “I want to travel the world before I go to college.” How much I could have learned travelling the word. But I, like many of you, went the planned route. Don’t get me wrong. I am forever thankful for my college education and the experiences that came with those four years. My degree has opened doors for me that might otherwise have been closed. However, I was so focused on “growing up” and I was so concerned about the acceptance of others(mainly my parents), I unknowingly pushed my dreams to the side. And before I knew it, I was working to pay for my car payment, my rent, my kid’s college, etc.
Then something happened to me. A tragedy, but an amazing opportunity. Before I graduated from college, my amazing father was diagnosed with a brain tumor and he died a year before my graduation. This loss was devastating and I was in a rush to return home to my mother. I was in college on the west coast and she was living on the East coast. The distance immediately felt like we were a world apart. I returned home and started to work two jobs. My choice in jobs were definitely a let down for my mother, but I was kind of lost.
Then even more tragedy hit. Two years later, my mother, my mother was remarried and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Yup! You can’t make this stuff up. So I quit my job to take care of her, along with my grandmother. My stepfather was pretty good for nothing in the care taking department. My mother died a year later. Both my parents never even made it to 60. So before the age of 25, I was an adult without both my parents. My brother and sister were married with children and I was living with my, now husband, but then significant other. So what did I do? I put my big girl panties on and kept going. It made me strong. You know that saying, what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger? That is me. I knew, I was responsible for me. My entire adult life, I have not had the luxury or the comfort of being able to ‘go home.’ Being a person of faith, I know God does not hand us anything we cannot handle. And so, I believed and still do, that this is how my life was intended to go. It has always been ‘rigged in my favor.”
With the encouragement of my husband, who always believed in my abilities, I became very successful in business. I was always looking for the next best step-what else could I do? I was always at the top of my field, always recruited by other companies and making my way. BUT, I was never quite fulfilled because I was a work – aholic, making money for other people. I was also always a bit hard to manage (probably an indication I needed to work for myself!). I am a strong personality and when I thought a corporate directive was stupid, well i just had a hard time going along with it. I knew there was more but I kept working my corporate gig.
Tragedy came again with the loss of my 95 year old grandmother. She also died of a brain tumor. I KNOW! You can’t make this stuff up. And then….what was probably the most amazing opportunity of a lifetime. I was downsized. And I thank god every day that happened. Once I got over the initial shock of being given a “see you later package” my entrepreneurial journey began. I started my own business shortly thereafter and have never looked back.
It was easy to stay in the so-called safety of the corporate job: The job that had its perks, like the company car, the cell phone, the health benefits and the consistent pay check. But to say, “That is not what I want to do. I want to be an actor, or I want to be an artist, or I want to join this team of innovative entrepreneurs,” now that was not in my vocabulary until I was pushed into it. And this is when you find out who your true friends and supporters are. This is when you find out, you might be hanging out there on your own.
This amazing journey I and others are on, is something I have to share with others. I need to scream from the rooftops – DON’T WAIT! Don’t miss out on an opportunity because you think it is the wrong time, or you are too busy or your family will think you are nuts. Just do it! You can always go back to the normal, but it is the uncertain that is so exciting!
There WILL be the nay sayers, the doubters, the negative Nancy’s. There WILL be people who will tell you the chance of success is less than 1% and basically they are telling you, you will never be that 1%. There WILL be people who you thought for sure would support you, and end up being a lost effort.
The fact of the matter is this. If you want to be your own boss, it takes blood sweat and tears. It takes ‘out of the box thinking’ and the ability to listen and see opportunities that others miss. It takes courage to leave the comfort of that consistent paycheck and follow your dreams. It takes the acceptance of knowing you may fail. And you may fail more than once. But is the person who sees that failure is just one more step toward success is the person who will make their dreams a reality.
My husband has always been 100% supportive of my business ventures. He believes in me. He knows if I do something, I will give it my all. I cannot say the same has been for my entire family. Don’t get me wrong-it is not that they don’t want to support me. They love me and they don’t want to see me fail. They are afraid and they are not free thinkers and they are skeptical by nature. That’s OK. I have accepted that. You will too.
Wishing you happiness and Dream Big!