When I decided to walk away from my corporate job 2 years ago, I honestly thought the hardest part would be finding clients. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but after 15 years in the corporate environment working at both big and small companies, I thought I was well prepared to take on a new challenge and start my next chapter as a business owner.
Throughout my corporate career I found myself attracted to those who had worked for well-known corporations with notable educational backgrounds. I felt many of those high-level managers had a real “it” factor, and I aspired to be like them.
The biggest obstacle of being out on my own was simply changing my mind set. I had to let go of the corporate insecurities to be able to build my brand. I had picked up some deep-rooted beliefs from the corporate world.
Credibility I felt a lot less important without the business card of a well-known company and big job title on it. I went from being wined and dined, continually sought after for business, to…well, I was now the one attending networking events looking for prospective new clients. My how quickly the tables had turned! Though I began to question my professional self-worth, I decided there was no other option than to honor myself and my personal brand. I reminded myself daily – “I am knowledgeable, creditable, and can add value to the lives of my clients.” I began reading books, listening to all the personal development/motivational greats like Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar and Suze Orman to help shift my mindset.
What is My Worth Working inside the walls of a major corporation afforded me many luxuries – healthy salary, benefits, expense accounts, airfare mileage, hotel points, complimentary upgrades, etc. I hadn’t paid for a vacation in years due to the countless perks I had at my disposal to cash in on. I was always aware of my market value, as it wasn’t uncommon for a recruiter to reach out to me a couple of times per year pitching me on a new opportunity. I knew I would be walking away from these added luxuries, but didn’t realize how envious I would be the first time I walked through first class and thought, “that used to be me,” as I headed to my seat in coach. I had to stop using the monetary metrics I had picked up from corporate America. This was definitely more challenging to overcome than I had expected, but for once I was truly happy; my decision to work for myself provided me the opportunity to finally be the mother and wife I had always envisioned myself being. I was now in control; I actually owned my time. I could head to Costco at 10:00 am on a Wednesday and avoid all the crazy lines. I could go on a field trip with my daughter without having to use a trumped up story with my boss. I could attend a fitness class in the middle of the day and come home and use my own shower rather than the bacteria breeding grounds…err, I mean, the gym showers. I could make business decisions without going through several managerial layers for approval. Even with the new-found advantage, it is still often challenging to maintain my mind-set (i.e. that the “lifestyle wealth” outweighs the material wealth. I am in best shape of my life, I am present for those I love, the work I am doing is meaningful and I am truly helping others find their greatness. In addition, I know that I am making significant progress daily toward equaling the material wealth I had before I left oppressive corporate life.
Measured by My Title My title drove where I sat on the corporate ladder and from a young age, I worked hard to be close to the top (versus standing at the bottom staring up). I felt my job title was a direct reflection of my success. Shortly after I had left the corporate environment, I celebrated with a friend who was promoted to Vice President of a large corporation and, as she was telling me about all of the luxuries the new title came with, I remember driving home that night feeling slight disappointment that I was no longer on the management fast-track. In that moment though, I realized just how much I had allowed my position on the corporate ladder to become the measure of my success. I knew I couldn’t let this false measuring stick hold me back any more and that it was no longer valid (if it ever had been). I had to find new, more meaningful methods to measure my success, like: - Do I have quality time with those I love? - Do I feel good about the person I have become? - Do I have the ability to accomplish my goals and live my mission? I encourage you to learn from my struggle and skip to the fun part of developing your own questions to measure your success. We may not have the fancy corner office or the big title any more, but it doesn’t matter because those anchors of the corporate world no longer drag me down or have any bearing on my perceived success. I still work hard, sure, but I do so on my terms. I make good money, and it’s getting closer to great money every day. But most importantly, I am an available mom to my two young daughters and a loving wife to my husband—and that is priceless.
If you are contemplating stepping out on your own, contact one of our mentors at Mom’s Making Six Figures so we can share our experiences and help you begin your journey toward true success.
Jennifer, thanks for showing the world the power of a determined woman. It takes courage to step out of the confort zone… for the unknown.
And it is so Worth it❤️ You are a great example of success and joy. Thanks for sharing and inspiring
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Jennifer – I’m so happy for you that you have discovered that the metrics for which success is gauged is a metrics that each of us discovers on our own, not one that corporate America decides for us. I have a similar story to yours, but we took different paths after we unchained ourselves from the corporate chains. I’m so fortunate to be on this journey with you.