'How will you know if it's the right decision if you never make it?'
It’s easy to sit still. It’s easy to stay comfortable. To be content. It’s also easy to dream. To dream about the future, about how we want our lives to look. But to follow those dreams? To change the direction of our life? That’s the opposite of easy. It’s terrifying. It encourages self-doubt, questioning of who you are and the people around you. But it’s necessary. Because at the end of the day who wants to take their last breath wondering ‘what if’?
When I had the idea for my first book I had no idea where it was going to take me. I just knew that I needed ‘something’. I have two young children, one who didn’t like or understand sleep for the first three years of his life. I had a demanding part time corporate job. I had a husband who travelled frequently. And I felt like I was going around in circles just muddling my way through each day. Every night once the kids were in bed I would sit down and feel bored. That’s the best way to describe it. I was bored. I was attempting to write a novel – writing has been something I’ve done in some form since I was young. I love to write but I just didn’t have time to invest into writing a novel. How I wanted to write though. Write anything. I wrote poems, quotes, short stories. It kept me going until it didn’t. Until I needed something more. This is when The Enchanting ABC was born. It was born from a desire to find beautiful books for my daughter and if I’m totally honest, it was born out of boredom. I needed something to do that wasn’t for someone else.
Once I had my idea it was full steam ahead (organising artists, publishers, printers) and within 8 months the book was finished and officially released. As soon as the book was released everything changed again. I was no longer bored – my life was the busiest and most stressful it had ever been. It was amazing to have created something that was immediately loved by so many people but it took a toll on me trying to do everything. I began living this surreal life of working, coming home, getting through the chaos that is dinner/bath/bed with the kids and then packing books once they were down for the night and doing it all over again the next day. The two years I spent straddling both worlds of working part-time and running a business were by far my hardest. They were the most rewarding in many ways but also the hardest. And I’ve had some bloody hard years (haven’t we all!).
I wouldn’t say I’d ever been ‘passionate’ about my day job but for a long time I really enjoyed it. But as happens, things change, people change and it become a place that I didn’t enjoy being anymore. And the more my business grew, the less time I wanted to put into my part time job. I didn’t have a desire to move up any further as much as I was being encouraged to and just wanted to do the minimum my job required. I know anyone who is reading this and is doing both will know the feeling! I felt like I was failing at my job, failing as a Mum as I was never around and failing the business as I couldn’t invest proper time into something that deep down I knew could be amazing.
When did this all change? When I invested in myself. I hired business coaches (Business School for Mums - highly recommend!), I invested into improving the business and into new products. Everything became more stressful and more chaotic but I finally felt like it was all for something. I had a plan that although I wasn’t spending much time with my son at the moment I would be able to in the future. There was a point to the crazy that my life had become. And then the time came when I just couldn’t do it any longer. I knew I had become a different person – a stressed, unhappy person. When one of my oldest friends told me she’d never seen me so stressed, it just confirmed what I already knew – my job had to go. I quit corporate and began to run my business full time.
Was this easy? No. Was I scared? Yes. I didn’t realise that this could be what it is until I invested in myself and my business. I look back now and wonder how on earth I got through those two years. The reason I am where I am now is because the corporate life was not one I wanted to live for the rest of my life. I have always wanted to write. It’s my passion, my dream. And if you have a dream that is big enough, that you want enough then DO IT. Don’t let any obstacles derail you. Don’t let other people’s ideas or views derail you. I didn’t realise how unfulfilled I was until I have found what fills me. I LOVE my children, my husband, our life together. But I am not just a Mother. I am not just a Wife. I deserve to find what fulfils me as much as anyone else does. Your passion may not have anything to do with business – it may be moving up in your current career, it may be volunteering, it may be studying. Whatever it is find a way to do it. We can all take the easy road. We can all be content. But is that all you want in life? I could have quite easily just kept working in my corporate job and not made a business out of the books. But what is the point of that? When you find your passion, fight for it. If you don’t know what it is – fight to find it.
Life is for living. It’s for pursuing passion. It’s for love. It’s for so many things. But most of all it’s for you. Live your life on your terms and don’t let anyone tell you that your dreams aren’t worthwhile. And if you have those people in your life, discard them. You are important. Your dreams are important. If I can follow mine, I promise you, you can follow yours.
~ I recoded a podcast recently with my business coaches Business School for Mums if you'd like to listen and hear more about my transition from day job to the small business world ~