Today marks one year since I made the decision to become the CEO of my life… be a free agent… really, just to work for myself. Cheers!
The truth is, I have to come clean about something. Most people in my life know this, but I’ve never admitted it on this blog until today. I didn’t just wakeup and quit my job last year.
I was fired.
It was completely unexpected — as those types of things usually are — and I remember initially being in complete shock when it happened. As I was packing up the trunk of my Jeep with all of the stuff from my office, I remember things starting to sink in.
It was about to be Christmas… Would I be able to find a job soon? How would I pay my bills? As I drove home, I thought about getting back to bartending or retail or any part-time job…
But, by the time I got home, I knew none of those would be the right answer. Even though I never expected to be fired, I had been toying with the idea of working for myself for about six months, but still hadn’t gotten around to organizing my thoughts or figuring out health insurance or taxes.
I quickly decided that there would likely never be an ideal time to jump out on my own, and I would never really know how or if it would work until I tried.
I never admitted to being fired on this blog for several reasons: 1. I needed the severance package from my job to survive until I got on my feet with clients and I was scared if I mentioned ANYTHING about them, they would come after me, legally.
2. I was worried people would judge me — not only readers, but my blog students and potential clients, too. I didn’t want anyone to think that me being fired was a reflection of my work ethic, because that was certainly NO part of it.
3. I didn’t want anyone to see my decision to step out on my own as “less-brave” because I was halfway forced to make a change.
…All of these reasons sound a bit silly now, because my situation is completely different, but I can certainly recall feeling all of these ways. I know there is still very much a stigma around being fired, even though a majority of the states in our country are at-will states, and you can be fired for literally no reason at all.
In fact, this was not the first time I’ve been fired, and I’m not embarrassed about it, and can honestly say I have been let go from jobs for some really dumb reasons over the years.
I am choosing to share all of this now, not only because I’m much more comfortable talking about it, but also because whenever I do share it, I hear similar stories from other people. It ain’t easy out there, and I want anyone reading this to know that.
I could easily sit here and say that actually, getting fired one year ago was the best thing that’s happened to me — but let’s not credit my former employer THAT much. I’m crediting myself with the choice I made to stick it out on my own, and that’s the end of that story.
A Year as CEO of My Life
Because I decided to do client work so close to the holidays, I knew no one would be looking to hire at that time. Luckily, the money from my severance package would be enough to carry me into the new year, so I used the few weeks to update my website (i.e. this blog), set up a home office, print business cards, and figure out how many hours I’d need to work to cover my bills.
Before sitting down to write this, I took a look through my journal from the past year. All of the things I was scared about — not getting enough work, not making enough money to cover my bills, let alone travel, not having health insurance — NONE of those things happened.
In fact, I’ve had more work this year than I ever have. I thought things would be so slow in December that I’d just take the month off, but I am happily working more than I have all year. I also was more financially fruitful than ever, and was not only able to travel to London, Paris, New York and San Francisco, but paid off more debt than I have in 10 years.
For me, all of this is proof that when you take a leap of faith and lean in to the signs from the Universe, you’ll be rewarded tenfold.
I’ve learned so much about the importance of having faith in yourself and your craft. You have something NO one else has, and that is the talent you must share with this world.
That may not mean quitting your job or moving to a new country (or maybe it does), but it does mean that you have the power to transform your life with even just one choice.
Maybe it’s walking away from a toxic relationship, starting that blog you’ve dreamt about or getting on your first international flight.
I’ve learned that life is too short many, many times. I’ve felt pressure to live a life that I’d be proud of if it were taken from me at any second. And after taking this last step — after truly taking control of every aspect of my life — I can honestly say that this is what it’s all about.
What’s that thing that’s holding you back? Mine was my job.
And no, things are not perfect. I’ve had friends tell me they’re envious of me, and I am quick to remind them that I still work my ass off, and I often do not have the luxury of an entirely free weekend or PTO.
Over the course of this year, I saw many job possibilities fall through the cracks and had many potential client calls that ended up nowhere, but I chose to focus on the positive outcomes.
As a result, I’ve worked with some amazing, passionate people this year and I’m beyond thankful they trusted me enough to hire me for their needs. There’s a huge difference from working with people who are excited about what they do vs. those that are treading in toxicity.
There are pros and cons to everything in life — as long as the list of pros are much bigger than the cons.
I can easily say yes, the pros are aplenty. What a year it has been! I hope my story can spark something positive inside you, because we all deserve to live a life of happiness and fulfillment.
Cheers to another year as the CEO of my life!
The Bitter Lemon employees (me and Blanche) will be celebrating with a holiday party this weekend, and all of us are getting raises. I’ll report back with details next week.