Image courtesy of Kletia Garies
I was nervous.
Foot-tapping, gut-wrenching, overheating NERVOUS.
I got a call to head to the office my boss was in.
Today was the day.
“I just don’t feel like this is what I want to do anymore. I want to do bigger things, more fulfilling things,” I said.
“Are you sure? I mean, have you thought this through all the way? You can’t come back from this, you know that right?” she replied.
The conversation had ended and I hadn’t given in. I wanted to quit and quit is what I did.
But I still didn’t feel great about my decision. There was something missing.
Then, I got a call from the CEO asking me to set up some time for us to talk. He didn’t say what about, but I had an idea.
A couple of days had passed and I still felt like I had the made the right decision. The only thing was, I didn’t know how to articulate this decision, especially to a seasoned CEO.
How do I know I want to quit? I just knew. How do you explain that?
“I’m not here to make you change your mind,” he said. ”I’m just curious, what is it you want to do that you can’t do here?”
“Well, I think it’s great here but I just want to move closer to family and I want to do my own thing. I want to be of service and help people find a better life,” I sheepishly answered.
He then went on to tell me one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in my life. One that confirmed my decision and gave me peace in knowing that this dream I had could work out.
The key to success is financial independence.
Then why am I quitting my cushy job for the unknown? Allow me to explain.
Here’s the message he delivered in a nutshell (paraphrasing of course):
“If you want to run your own company and help others out you have to be financially independent. There can be no dependence to anything such as making money or having mortgages and bills that need to be paid. Otherwise you can’t fully help others.”
“I agree with you. My dream is similar. One day my wife and I want to move back to my hometown and support the community. They’re in hard times right now, but in order to do that I have to stay here and continue building this company. I have to make enough money that I can be of value to my family and the town.”
“I haven’t reached that point yet. I think you have some great potential, but I see this career move as hindering your goal rather than fast-forwarding it like you see happening.”
I have nothing but respect for this man. He was and is one of the greatest leaders I’ve known. He was driven when he needed to be, compassionate when asked to be, and most of all he can run a successful business like it’s the easiest thing in the world.
But he made one mistake when trying to explain to me why I shouldn’t quit.
He tried talking me into staying by explaining what I needed to do as a manager. Not a manager in my job, but a manager of my life.
Managers follow processes. They have some free rein, but ultimately the overall message comes from the top.
When a manager sees a change that is needed, they can either run with it hoping their support/team follows through the way they see it. Or if the change is significant, they need to go through some red tape to get it approved.
His message was clear: you need to stay here, work hard, make more money, get rid of more debt, and build until you’re ready to chase this dream independently.
And although I agreed with his theory, being financially independent will better your chances at being successful, I disagreed with one major aspect of his advice.
I am not a manager of my life. You are not a manager of your life.
Be the entrepreneur of your life.
I didn’t know how to articulate my reasoning prior to my meeting. I knew I wanted a change, but I wasn’t sure how I would communicate that to someone and have them understand.
By the end of the conversation my answer was easy. I was doing what I was doing because I couldn’t NOT do it.
When you become an entrepreneur of your life the processes go out the window. You experiment and you make some decisions from your heart, from your gut.
You begin to see multiple avenues to achieving your dreams. Not just the one road you’re currently on. The opportunities to succeed become limitless because there are no constraints.
No red tape. No higher order. Just you on a passion-fueled journey.
What is it that you wish? What life do you see yourself living if you didn’t have to “follow” any processes? Write those dreams down.
Now brainstorm other ways of making it a reality. Brainstorm with yourself, with your significant other, a friend, anyone.
Think outside the box. Tap into experts. Research online or in the library.
There is more than one way to achieve the life you wish. Don’t let others convince you that there is a kind of seniority driven process you have to follow before you get there.
Don’t be a manager of your life – stuck in a box.
Be the entrepreneur of your life,