From Corporate to Coach — Building My Future by Aligning with Purpose
The Privilege to Choose a Values-Based Business
My instructor in spin class says that if it can’t be fixed or improved in the next 45-minutes while I’m in the room with her, I have to let it go. That’s my cue to surrender to my head and listen to my body.
It’s powerful. When I am focused and present in that way, I breathe deeper, set better intentions, burn more calories, ride faster, achieve more miles, generate more power, push myself more, and have more breakthroughs.
Then why is it so hard to take inspired action — to be focused and present in that way — in my business?
I think in part it’s that starting a company, building a business feels so big, so ambiguous. The thing about the employee to entrepreneur transition is that with so much on my plate and an endlessly long to-do list, it’s easy to get lost in the experimentation of all of it. Maybe if I just do this or try this or learn this, or read or research one more thing, it will be the difference maker. ROI is a toughy in year one when you are spending more than you make.
I’ve written before about practicing publicly and the efficiency that comes from allowing others to see your work, from developing output, putting it out there, risking being seen, and processing feedback. It’s easy in theory, but oh so challenging when it comes to actually doing it.
What am I scared of?
Am I ready?
Is now the right time?
Do I need more credentials?
Will they get it?
Will they get me?
What if it doesn’t happen for me?
What if I can’t make it work?
What if I fail?
Everyone will know that I’ve failed.
As an employee, you’re insulated from personal accountability in some ways. As an owner, you’re on your own.
I’m on my own now. On my own. If I fail, everyone will know it.
By the way, this technique of asking yourself why it matters over and over again until you get to the truth works for many situations. You’ll know when you’ve found it.
Putting myself out there is terrifying, vulnerable, and of course, absolutely necessary.
Otherwise, this is as good as it gets. I won’t grow. I won’t move forward. What I know is all I’ll understand. Who I know will be the entirety of my network. I’ll miss everything else that’s possible.
And worst of all, I’ll miss living up to my potential. Now to add insult to injury, that may happen anyway, for any number of reasons, but please don’t let me miss out on achieving my potential because I’m scared.
I’m getting much better at this. Take flow for example. I essentially use the same trigger my spinning instructor uses “I only have 45–60–90 minutes to write/coach/edit/call/learn this thing so I need to be 100% focused and make it happen right now” and it usually works.
I also have to build in a support structure that facilitates it — like scheduling my entire week in advance, work time, workout time, mom time, logistics, planning time, coaching time — backing into deadlines, making it work for my husband and family, and keeping my goals top of mind.
That’s why I scheduled my launch party for the weekend before Labor Day, Friday, August 24, before I was truly ready. Scheduling it made it official. Sending out invites meant there was no chickening out. After the first half of the year came and went, it was time to do something definitive, to host a launch, demonstrate my commitment, declare my intentions.
I wanted to own it, embracing my ideas, my progress, my potential, my readiness, and I wanted to enroll others in my vision too, to have faith in their contribution and open the door to collaboration. Finally, I wanted to celebrate and show appreciation for my current clients.
There’s a psychology to new beginnings and September feels like a fresh start. Maybe it’s the back-to-school effect from years and years of academia. The changing seasons, the end of summer, the seriousness and cooler temperatures of fall signify the pending year-end.
I like to evaluate where I am relative to where I thought I’d be, kick it up a notch, find my second wind, and attack the rest of the year with a renewed focus that builds significant momentum meant to survive the holiday frenzy. It makes January and February so much more endurable and frontloads the calendar for next year.
So how did my LUXI launch turn out? It exceeded my expectations. It was really meaningful for many reasons, some orchestrated, some organic. One thing that I never saw coming (and in retrospect would have wished for it had I known) was the magic between the women in the room.
My keynote, the branding elements, the guest list, the venue, the food, the wine, the playlist, all of it was staunchly in my wheelhouse and deliberately congruent with the brand — restorative, passionate, uplifting. LUXI is for the women that were in the room. It’s a tribute and yet, it’s not aspirational in a way that says they aren’t already enough. It’s more real than that, just like them.
And interestingly, even though it was for them, I was so focused on the brand that I (almost) forgot to allow room for something magic to happen. Thankfully, the women present were undeniable and brought the magic with them. I’d like to believe I unconsciously created space for that because it was amazing. Ah-maz-ing!
The other key takeaway? That I’m doing this for the right reasons. I suspected I was and by that I mean I hoped I was. Shifting gears is no joke and despite the investment it requires, everyone has their own reasons for jumping into entrepreneurship. I wanted to be doing it for the impact I could make, the gifts I had to give, in service to women and families. Not to prove something. Not to choose something that was 180-degrees away from what I used to do. That’s hard to admit.
I’m comfortable leading, and I enjoyed the success, power, and ease of being an executive. Corporate America has really defined boundaries (and resources) that dictated how I invested my time, what roles I had to play, and how much time and energy I had left for my family. When I loved it, I almost felt entitled to it. When I didn’t, it was suffocating. Exiting Corporate America meant letting go of all of that, good and bad. And, to take it a step further, after 13 years at one company, the lines between self and company were pretty blurry.
I’m working with a client who has brought all that up for me again because as I coach him, I’m seeing the same struggle in him. He has recently walked away from a high-profile role at a favorite pro sports team to pursue something that’s been calling to him. His turmoil is familiar. Even though it’s what he wanted, it’s challenging to disassociate from the status and affinity that paved his way, to disentangle from the perks of being an executive, to let go of what he used to know and from what many others perceive as a dream job. Both of us seek to define ourselves on our own terms and we’re both finding our way.
I can’t say that I won’t ever be as entwined again, but I will commit to making every effort to separate church and state. I’m ready to kill it in my career, but with a very healthy emotional distance. Unattachment. I want to thrive as a woman, as a mom, as a person, my identity fully intact, and also have this really cool company that I’m building, each with its own discreet potential. Additive not definitive. I got a little mixed up on that before.
So about my company…I continue to revise my website. It’s the 2.0 version if you’d like to offer up feedback. It’s still not exactly what I want to say. Why am I having such a hard time articulating what I do and how I do it? I don’t think it’s lack of clarity, I think it’s because I’m fulfilling a very BIG need that is currently not available in the marketplace and there’s no one to emulate, no playbook to borrow from, no role model to model, and I am still finding my voice, learning what resonates
I coach women to be happy now — first, to get clarity and do the work that it will take — and then to leverage that fulfillment and positive energy to make strides in their career, to make a difference in their community, to raise incredible children, and in short be game-changers in every sense of the word, to realize their true potential, and live bigger and more beautifully than they dreamed.
It’s maybe not a walk in the park, but it’s not an uphill battle either. It’s a refreshing journey that is soul-satisfying and thrilling because as they move powerfully through the world in the zone, full of gratitude, on purpose, they are inspired by the synchronistic support of the universe and the joy of knowing they are maximizing life and showing their kids what it is to be happy and love life. It’s their legacy and one of the most valuable gifts that they have to give. That’s pretty badass.
I have a coach, my clients, a mentor, a social strategist, my writing, and my readers to guide me. And I’ve had some big wins recently, some that have confirmed that I’m on the right path, some that have filled me with joy and widened my perspective on what’s possible, some that boosted my confidence and made me feel appreciated. Some things are much harder than I thought, no doubt about it, but I would have never guessed I’d be this far along so early in my journey. I’m excited. I’m anticipating a bright future. I’m hustling (with heart), but at my own pace, 100% focused on being a mom first.
1. Does it move the brand forward?
2. Does it positively impact my clients and potential clients?
3. Is it right for my family?
4. Does it benefit the world?
Those aren’t conflicts to be sorted out or contradictions to manage, they are alignment with purpose. I’m building a values-based business that celebrates motherhood and to do that authentically, I must walk the walk of being fully committed to my family and let everything else flow from that priority, through love.
Every time I get impatient, I remind myself that I’m in it for the long haul, that my children’s childhoods are at stake. Is there any greater why?
Another Medium writer wrote about her impatience after building her blog (for 4 months — eyeroll/totally relatable) and I replied with this…
“4 months in entrepreneur-land is like 4 years in corporate-land in terms of learning and like 4 minutes in terms of brand-building. I try not to be too attached to timing.”
“The rule of thumb I keep hearing from “those who have gone first” is year one = figuring out what you want to do, how you want to do it, and setting it in motion, refining as you experiment; year two = movement, momentum, finding your new network and clients, some big wins; year three = finding the fulfillment (and $$$) you set out to achieve when you left.”
It’s a process and I trust I’ll get there. This isn’t about winning because I’m not racing.
Earlier in my career, I raced. 3 promotions in 8 years in a notoriously sticky climate. I was on a mission and I’m proud of my record, but I got my ass kicked too. Bygones. All that to say, racing was an experience I wouldn’t trade, but I am not racing anymore.
CEO, Coach, Social Media Manager, Marketing Manager, Sales Rep, Writer, Speaker, I wear all the hats. I’m about range. And savoring. Some of my To-Do lists crush me and some empower me. I know for example that anything website related will take my full focus, because I’m likely to get lost in a rabbit-hole of fonts, color schemes, and copywriting, so I must balance it with coaching calls to feel like I made progress. I postpone accounting for any reason I can find and I’d choose writing, coaching, and learning above eating.
Self-awareness is key and so is gratitude. In all of it, I try to remind myself that this is what I wanted, this is what I want, that it’s a choice and how freaking glorious it is to have the privilege to choose. I’m building my future and achieving it will require behavior different than what I’ve demonstrated in the past, some of which is way outside of my comfort zone and not yet in my toolbox. I trust myself to rise to the occasion.
“Do it like you want to do it. Proactivity brings passion to everything you touch, to everything you do. Bring your full attention your full presence, the Godlike quality that each of us has within, to every task in your day.”
Certainly not easy, but once you move in the way you feel called, it becomes immensely easier.
The takeaway? Go for it. The universe is fully supportive of what you want, but it is up to you to go for it.