Is 2019 the Year You Take the Leap?

Do you feel like you’re made for better things than your current job?  Deep down, are you yearning for greater meaning from your work?  Or do you have this dream of “someday, I’ll…”?

For many people, it’s about being strategic and intentional about continuous growth. Upgrade their skillset, mindset, expand their network, create meaningful advancement opportunities in their current organizations or industry. 

For the few of you, who’ve had this nagging, terrible feelings that you’re made for bigger things, have been suppressing that feeling for years, and are losing sleep over endless thoughts that go in circles with no clear decision, then this post is for you.

  • Is it time to join an exciting start-up with high risks and potentially huge rewards? 

  • Is it time to pursue your entrepreneur journey and dedicate to a mission you’re most passionate about?  

Jacinta Quah_Coach_leader in transition.jpg

There is no defined formula to derive the right answer. No crystal ball to predict the future. What worked for me, may not work for you.

However, I’ve found it valuable to learn from other people’s stories.  So I’m sharing my personal journey in how I came to the point of DECISION that I’M READY to finally take the leap – put a pause on my corporate career to be an entrepreneur.  

I hope this sharing is helpful to those of you who’re in the conundrum as I did years ago, to get unstuck and take your next best step forward.

When it all started

My ‘mid-life’ crisis started in my late 20’s.  I felt like I was in the wrong industry.  I was in Tech.  I believe that technology is supposed to simplify, enrich, enhance the quality of our lives.  However, we were selling solutions that seemed to get more complex with each upgrade. I was passionate about the applicable of tech, and the people side of the industry.  But at that time (for context, it was late 90’s), technical depth & skills were more celebrated than soft skills.  For years, I was conflicted.

Wasn’t sure what to do instead

I was particularly interested in personal wellness.  I was learning & experimenting with cleansing, juicing, raw vegan diet, yoga, meditation etc.  However, I was looking for more than personal wellness. I wanted to have a clear head and vibrant health, in order to make greater positive impact.  Being ridiculously fit was not my end goal in itself.  But I didn’t know how to connect my love for nutrition & wellness, with corporate priorities, so I stayed. 

I stayed, and I settled

Since then, I did 5 relocations, held many roles across various functions with 3 global tech companies.  The learning & growth - professional & personally, were priceless.  However, because I was not clear on what I really wanted, I had taken a role because it was the next shining object, and had also accepted roles that were much smaller than my capability and motivation.  Those lessons learnt revealed what I did NOT want as well as my values.  I learnt that I must be congruent, otherwise it’s a painful way to live.

Changing perspectives, shifting priorities

Through the years, one thing that remains constant is my unwavering belief that good enough is not enough.  I don’t want to like what I do, I want to love what I do.  I don’t want to do good work, I want to create great work.  I can’t settle.  I won’t anymore.  I want meaning, joy, epic, iconic!

 I was already past 40 and still wasn’t crystal clear on my “purpose”.  So I chose to:

(1)  Commit to my personal growth.  I regularly invest in my own learning outside of work. Like I invested in my own coaching training so that I could lead even better, on my own dime & time, before I even knew I would be launching my own coaching practice. 

(2)  Enjoy the journey of continuous self-discovery and evolution, rather than obsessed about finding how THE specific ultimate destination.

This was when things started to shift.  Not just because by that point I was a mom and that my focus more than about me, but that I actually started to become - happier!  Day by day, little by little, happier, more fulfilled.

Be pragmatic

I asked: “what if”.  I took an inventory of our family financials.  We knew that we could sustain our current lifestyle in the short-term if we go from dual-income to single-income family.  I asked myself what would be the worst case scenario.  Turned out, nothing I could not recover from.  Knowing that my decision to start my own business would not impact my family lifestyle (be it in the short term), was a major assurance I needed to give myself permission to even consider transitioning…

That magical moment of epiphany

One day, all the pieces fell in place.  I thought to myself, at work and at home, I preached so much about growth mindset, being the best version of one self, be resilient & courageous, what better way for me to teach my daughter these qualities than to role model it for her – in how I’d take this courageous step forward to pursue my definition of purposeful, iconic work?  When that thought came to me, it was clear what I really wanted.  I have so much to gain and nothing to lose.  I was finally READY to take the leap.

DECIDE

Getting to the DECISION is just the beginning, but it’s a huge milestone.  The Latin root of the word decide literally means to cut-off.  When you decide, you’re focused, you look forward.  You eliminate all the unnecessary distractions.  It’s no longer about if & when, it’s about HOW.

By deciding, I’ll also learnt that:

Your partner’s support will match up to your level of commitment.

My husband had slight hesitation in the support I was seeking when I first told him I wanted to leave my job and start my own business.  However, when I decided, I found his level of certainty and confidence matching my level of certainty & confidence!  Wow!  He was simply reflecting my hesitation earlier on!

Looking back,

It’s about the journey, not the destination.

It’s simple, but not easy.

It’s hard, but so worth it!