I did it.
Two years ago today I left my corporate job. I said good-bye to my staff, my bosses, and my colleagues, people with whom I had spent much of my previous 10 years. It was all sweet, no bitter. I couldn’t stop smiling.
When I walked out of the office for the last time, I felt like I was taking the biggest risk of my life. I was leaving behind a 6-figure salary plus decent bonuses, stock options, a stock purchase plan, 401k matching, good health benefits, and other perks that only come with working for a Fortune 500 company. I was leaving all of those things for a business I started that wasn’t making a penny and had no guarantee that it would.
But staying behind would mean I was living a lie. And I was done living lies. I was done pleasing other people. I was done telling others what they wanted to hear. I was sick and tired of faking that I cared about high-tech office products. Faking that a career in engineering middle management was something that I longed for. That working there until I was 65 would be fulfilling. I chuckle at the thought.
My soul had been calling out to me for my entire life, but it wasn’t until 2007 that I heard it. Once I heard the call, I followed it, like a child playing Marco Polo in a backyard swimming pool. My eyes shut, unable to see where I was headed, but a faint whisper kept pointing me in a new direction.
Two years after I heard the initial call, I was making a leap of huge proportions, embarking on a journey of faith by leaving my so-called secure job.
Two years later, today, I have absolutely, without a doubt, not a single, solitary regret. None. It is the damn best thing I have ever done for myself. Ever.
And, it was scary.
It was terrifying.
It was healing.
It was empowering.
It taught me what I’m capable of.
It showed me that I can be fearful and hopeful at the same time.
It showed me that people love me for who I really am, and if they don’t, then I don’t need them in my life.
It led me to find some of the most cherished people I have in my life today.
It taught me more about love.
I learned that security isn’t found in a large company, but in a deep faith in myself.
I learned that I have the ability to heal intense emotional pain from my past, moving beyond it and coming out on the other side better than ever.
I learned to overcome some of the things that scare me the most.
I learned that when I show up as myself, other people love it. And if they don’t love it, it’s not about me–that’s their own problem.
Some people have fallen out of my life. That’s okay. It’s part of the process. So many more people have moved into my life, and they are loving and generous and genuine and caring and compassionate, and they love me, warts and all, without wanting anything in return but me, just as I am in any given moment.
Starting a business is one of the most profound, smack-you-in-the-face, personal development opportunities that you can choose. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s not for those who don’t like to face their demons. Yes, you can start a business without facing your demons. But to start a soul-driven business, one that represents your purpose in life (and I couldn’t imagine starting one that wasn’t my purpose in life), you’re going to run head-on into some of the scariest shit you’ve ever faced. It’s going to bring up your whole life’s worth of pain like you’d never believe.
You will be challenged to believe in your worth.
You will be encouraged to dive deeper into your own darkness.
You will be summoned to the light.
You will be surrounded by a love that is beyond human measure.
You will be supported the entire way even if it feels like you are alone and failing.
Two years of this soul journey has showed me that I am not in charge. And if I want to be or think I can be, I am fooling myself.
My business has taken many turns in two years and now I’ve found my home. I am in love with what I do in a way I could have never believed possible.
I still have demons to face (don’t we all, forever?). The difference is that now I know this game. I know how it’s played. I know how to honor myself, appreciate the healing that has happened and that which has yet to come, and give space for whatever comes to pass, either in my business or personal life.
I offer tears of joy and appreciation as these words leave my fingers and join this blank page. Appreciation for my husband’s patience as I have gone through all of this. Joy for the life I chose to create. Gratefulness for my friends and clients and all of the people who send me emails of love reminding me why I do what I do.
The road ahead is uncertain. I do not have a steady corporate paycheck and fat bonuses from The Man, but I have something better. I have my life. It’s mine. I can do what I want with my day. When I feel lost, I can shout, “Marco?” Then I can follow my soul’s call when it whispers, “Polo!” Because the soul always responds if we’re open to listening.
I do not know where this journey of entrepreneurship will take me. Today, I don’t need to know. I know that if I’ve made it this far, and I can go so much further. I have love, talents, ideas, passion, and compassion to share with the world. That is my plan. The details, they’re not up to me. So I will wake up each day and follow the instructions I am given. I will shout, “Marco?” when I need to, and wait for the return call.
I am grateful beyond measure to have my life as my own. I claimed it, and I continue to claim it every day. You, too, can claim yours. You don’t need anyone’s permission. You don’t even need to quit your job. You do, however, need to stand up for yourself and take what’s yours. It’s yours, my dear. You deserve it. Take it by the reigns and let it lead you. Root yourself down, sit up tall, and trust. The world is a loving place if you believe it is. Even when it’s scary.
Claim what’s yours. Own it. Dive into the darkness, then seek out the light. You will be supported, with love, the whole time. Forever.