Sonal, weren’t you afraid to leave without a job to go to? Isn’t it lonely to work on your own?
Do you miss corporate life?
I often get asked about what life is like since I left my job last summer to start my own business as a Professional Coach and Facilitator.
I had worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 14 years and had built a great career and reputation. I was good at what I did, I enjoyed it and I had a great salary.
Sounds perfect, right? Well…
As much as I loved the people and the opportunities I had, I couldn’t quiet the voice in my head that whispered, “Something is missing”. I didn’t know what it was or how I was going to find it but I felt strongly that if I stayed where I was, I never would. So, I decided to leave without the foggiest idea as to where I was going. A lot has happened over the last year that has led me to where I am today…and I will tell you that story another time.
What I do want to share today are some of the most common questions I get asked and my reflections…so far.
1. Weren’t you afraid to leave without a job to go to?
Yes, and I did it anyway.
I had always been a planner, conservative and fairly risk-averse. If someone had told me a year and a half ago that I would jump ship with no concrete plan, I would have asked, “Have you met me?”
But as time went on, the voice in my head was getting louder. It was telling me to stop worrying about the “how” I was going to realize my dreams and trust that each step I made would lead me to the next step.
I had some savings and a line of credit so I knew I would be ok for a short time. I had transferable skills so I also knew I could get another job if it came to it.
All I had to do was take the first step.
Wherever you are in your life right now, what could be a first next step for you?
2. Isn’t it lonely working on your own?
Yes, it can be.
I miss the social environment of the office and most of the people I worked with.
It made me realize how important connection is to me. In fact, it is one of my biggest values. It’s why I continue to nurture relationships with my former colleagues. It’s why I will stop working and meet a friend in the middle of the day for a tea or a walk. It’s why I see my family regularly, even when it feels like I’m too busy to do so.
Because no amount of money or success can top quality time with people I love.
Relationships make my life worth living.
What makes your life worth living?
3. Do you miss miss corporate life.
Let me be more specific. I don’t miss wasting time at meetings that don’t accomplish anything. I don’t miss office politics. I don’t miss worrying about whether I’m saying or doing the right things to impress the right people to get the next promotion. I don’t miss seeking validation from others to know I’m doing a great job.
There are times when I do miss the structure and predictability.
It takes a fair bit of discipline to stick to your own goals, milestones, and strategies when nobody is holding you accountable but yourself.
So I hired my own coach.
How do you hold yourself accountable to the things you commit to in your life?
4. What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
There is always a choice. Always. Even if is not apparent to you yet.
How many times did I convince myself that I was doing something because I had no choice?
Nobody will die if you don’t send that e-mail tonight. Seriously. It can wait until tomorrow. And if it can’t, it’s probably a symptom of something else.
It’s ok if that presentation is not perfect. Nobody will remember it in a week from now, a month from now or a year from now.
I heard a manager once say that he didn’t want employees who just worked from 9 am – 5 pm. Think about that for a moment. Just 8 hours. What does it tell us about our beliefs around productivity and work?
The (unintended) impact on me was that I needed to be a workaholic to get ahead and that prioritizing work over time with family, friends, or myself was valued.
What if working just 8 hours a day gave time for rejuvenation, creativity and space for new ideas to be generated?
Everything is a perspective. Everything is a choice.
What do you do in your life that you don’t want to do (anymore)?
5. What do you love most about your decision?
I love that I get to choose the people with whom I want to work. Let me say that again. I get to choose the people with whom I want to work!
I love having a flexible schedule. I’m just as busy, but I don’t feel it because I’m spending time on the things and people that are important to me.
I love that I’ve challenged myself to start a business where I get to be a part of developing people and witnessing them transform. I’m working on my website and dreaming of my ideal clients. I’m exploring the mix of 1:1 coaching, group coaching, workshops and speaking engagements. It’s so exciting and although there is some fear, there is also pure joy. I get to make it all up!
I love that I go to my yoga and music classes, regularly. And that I don’t feel guilty taking a class in the middle of the day.
I love that I spend more time on my personal development. I am reading books by great authors like Brené Brown, Michael Singer, Debbie Ford, and Gay Hendricks that have been on my reading list for years.
What’s something that’s been on your list for years?
6. Do you have any regrets?
I’m so grateful for everything I learned from working in the corporate world. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Being an entrepreneur may not be for everyone. I was really curious to see if it was for me.
I made the right choice. At least for now. And that´s what counts.
What are you curious about?