Life never moves in a straight line.
You know how it is. You’re just living your life, putting one foot in front of the other. Then you cross paths with something or someone new. Just like that you’re off in a totally different, completely unexpected direction.
I LOVE that!
It’s funny, in hindsight it’s easy to spot the decisions, the moments, the interactions that changed our trajectory – yet we rarely see the significance of them at the time.
It was only 5 years ago that I was packing my bags for an exciting backpacking trip to India. I was 42 years old and after more than 20 years living the Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 life, I felt stuck. I knew I was ready for a change, but a change to what exactly?
Like you would, I decided to take a little adventure vacation with some girlfriends to India while I waited for some life changing opportunity to present itself.
A few days before leaving, I was going over my to-do list with the new man in my life. One of the items on the list was film for my 35mm camera. Yup! That’s right…film. We had a little ‘discussion’ about how I could possibly go for 5 weeks to an amazing place and see amazing things with this old camera.
“No worries” I say, “… I’ll make sure I take 5 or 6 rolls of film. That should be tons!”
So while I was out buying my film, this new man in my life surprised me with a digital camera – the very first piece of modern technology I had ever owned.
That gift, aside from being one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received, opened my mind to how technology might fit in my life. I took very small steps.
First I mastered the camera, then a cell phone, next a laptop. From there I moved to some night courses, lots of webinars and more hours than I can count finding my way around the Internet.
A completely new world had opened up for me… all because of that little camera.
In the words of Alanis Morrissette (cue the music): ♫ “Isn’t it Ironic..?”♪
Fast forward to 2013, only 5 years later, I no longer have that camera (it bit the dust on a Cuban beach), but what I do have is more than 1200 pictures from my trip to India, the same thoughtful man, and my own website design business.
I stepped outside my Comfort Zone… and locked the door behind me.
Transitioning from lifelong corporate employee with a bi-weekly pay cheque, paid vacation and group benefits to a self-employed business owner with none of the above, has its challenges; but anything worthwhile always does.
Along the way there were words of wisdom and sources of support that have made this beautiful new life possible. Perhaps they can do the same for you:
1| “What’s the worst that can happen? They can’t stand you and tell you to get out of their office! THAT’s not going to happen – so go do it.”
Dad’s words to an adolescent me. For as long as I can remember this runs through my head whenever I take on something that scares me.
Recently I was asked to do a lunch and learn (my very first…gulp!). I took a deep breath and thought – ‘What’s the worst that can happen? It might be a total flop. The worst Lunch and Learn in the history of Lunch and Learns. So, what odds?’
I can’t explain why, but this works for me every time. Give it a try.
2| Everything you ever want to learn about anything can be found online.
Trust me on this one.
Aside from a couple of night courses in web design, I credit the internet with everything I know about WordPress, Joomla, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, etc. I have spent thousands of hours in technology forums and on blogs, websites, webinars and online courses that are website, social media and business related.
From Day 1, I have been amazed at the quality information people are willing to share, about everything – for FREE!
Whether you’re a business owner or a hobbyist I encourage you to:
- Find quality websites with relevant content that are updated regularly. Visit them often.
- Subscribe to blogs & newsletters offering useful tips & advice.
- Participate in online forums related to your industry or interest and comment on blogs you find interesting.
3| Don’t go it alone – seek out support.
I am fortunate to be a part of a group whose members are business owners just like me. Each member has her own fears & insecurities, her own point of view and her own unique story. Yet the challenges we face are very similar.
In March 2012, I was invited by NLOWE to join a Mastermind Group. Initially I struggled with the idea that perhaps I shouldn’t be there – my business was still so new, what value could I possibly bring? These are all business people and I didn’t have a formal business plan or much of a plan at all for that matter. Was I ready to talk about my business to strangers?
I needn’t have worried.
This group of wonderful women provides support when needed and advice when asked. Appreciating that each of us has something worthwhile to bring to the table, despite the size or nature of our business, is the key to our group’s success.
4| Be open to EVERY new opportunity that comes your way.
Who knows where, or when, your next life changing encounter may turn up! In my experience it’ll be when you least expect it.
Ignore the fear, put your doubts aside, hold your breath and just JUMP!
What’s the worst that can happen? 🙂
Visit Kathleen’s website at http://kcdcreativeservices.com to learn about available services, view samples of her work and see what her clients have to say.