“You are so much more alive,” my friend said when we met for coffee last Friday. “Walking away from the corporate world was the best thing you’ve ever done.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Our conversation fell near the one-year mark of my grueling decision to walk away from my corporate job and its 401(k) and benefits package to pursue the entrepreneurial lifestyle. More importantly, I left to pursue the dreams God has placed in my heart, at the center of which lies relationships.
Granted, decisions like these should not be made lightly. I had spent three years building my business and network and nearly as much time seeking input from those with far more business savvy than me, but, ultimately, I made the decision to make the leap.
And leap I did, despite the fear of the unknown.
In just a year’s time, I’ve experienced significant gains in both my professional and my personal life.
Building My Coaching Business and My Life
The freedom I feel is exhilarating, primarily because, for the first time in years, my professional and personal life is more rich and meaningful than it’s been in decades.
Here are just a few of the gifts the coaching lifestyle has brought my way:
The Coaching Lifestyle Has Been Good for My Health
As someone who lives with autoimmune diseases, I struggle with chronic pain and fatigue on a daily basis. Prior to leaving the corporate world, the frustration of a two-hour commute and the unreasonable demands and workload placed on me by an organization where profit matters more than people, exacerbated my pain and fatigue.
Freed from the tyranny of others’ demands on my life, I’m now able to focus on my health. I take Pilates lessons three times a week and I walk daily for 60-90 minutes. Not only have my physical health improved, but my emotional and mental outlook have improved as well.
I work when I want to and rest when I need it.
It doesn’t get better than that.
The Coaching Lifestyle Has Enabled Me to Foster Meaningful Relationships
When your 9-5 job demands all your time and energy, there’s precious little left for relationships. Although friendships are important to me, I could count on one hand the number of hours I devoted to fostering relationships when I was working in the corporate world.
My friendship base has expanded to include local writers, entrepreneurs, and creatives because I now have the time and energy I need to invest in fostering relationships. Not a week goes by that I don’t meet with two or three friends for lunch of coffee
My husband and I are feeling the winds of renewal in our marriage as well. Now that I’m working from home, we’re talking — and dreaming — more. We even brought a puppy into our home, and take pleasure in sharing the responsibilities of nurturing and training our dog. And with a puppy in the house, there’s no shortage of laughter.
The Coaching Lifestyle Has Evoked Professional Growth
Professionally, I thrive on challenge and change, so a portfolio career—several part-time jobs rather than one full-time job—is ideal for me. Over the past year, I’ve incorporated more writing, consulting, and spiritual direction into my business model. I find that I’m thriving with the challenge of keeping all of the proverbial balls in the air.
And that’s not all. I find that the skills each of these niches requires spill over into my coaching. The many individuals I come into contact daily within each of my niches challenges me to connect in different ways with my coaching clients.
My spiritual direction clients love to examine life below the surface; and as a result, I find that I invite my coaching clients to go deeper as well. My writing clients and colleagues inspire me and give me a creative edge that comes into play when I need to “dance in the moment” with a client or launch a brainstorming exercise.
Each niche informs the other, enlarging not only my world but the world of my clients.
This barely touches the tip of all that I’ve received and experienced this past year.
Yes, my income is slightly less than when I worked in the corporate world. And there are days when my reliance on my husband’s benefits package without having one of my own makes me nervous. What if something unexpected should happen? And what about the long hours home alone? What if my social network breaks down, and I feel the pain of isolation? After all, I live in the Washington, DC metro area, which is a highly transient area.
What if indeed! The future isn’t guaranteed to any of us.
Besides, wealth comes in many forms. And the simple truth is that I’m far richer today than I’ve every been. Coaching has not only given me a business, it’s given me back my life.