“Can’t we just quit our jobs and work out for a living?”
I woke up to this text a few years ago from one of my girlfriends I had met through CrossFit. She was kidding of course. Or was she???
She was 24, I was 42. Surely this was a more realistic goal for her than it would be for me. I had close to 20 years in the credit card banking industry. I was married with 2 kids. Sure, I had some coaching certifications under my belt, but what was I going to do? Quit my 6-figure salaried 9-5 and become a fulltime CrossFit coach? It would never work out for me. I could never make enough money to keep our household going and I would have to work endless hours to even come close to that. All just a silly fantasy. Every time I shook off the thought, my excuses were as follows:
I make too much money in Corporate America
I have to send 2 kids to college
What about my pension?
As I reflect back on this, all these excuses while logical and pragmatic, focus around finances. Why was I so crippled by the almighty dollar? I think we all are. It’s our culture. I get that we all NEED money. But how much money do we really need? Luckily, my family and I have never struggled financially and yet we’ve never had to stop and think about finances which also may not be a good thing. Do I really need 10 pairs of Lululemon leggings? Do we have to go out to dinner 5 nights per week? My kids are only going to be home for another 5 years before they are up and out. How much time do I want to spend slaving away at a desk job I hate, missing sporting events, infecting my family with my job-grief, and lacking any energy or organization to have even 1 family dinner per week? What kind of role model was I being for my kids?
Was I willing to struggle a bit to be able to do something I love AND have precious time for my family? I realized how selfish I was by answering this question time and time again with a resounding NO. Not anymore. I’ve decided that my happiness and how it affects my family is way more important than a paycheck and a stylish pair of exercise pants.
I have become an ultimate scholar of my dream. I get a hold of anything and everything I can read and learn about the business, the sport, the culture. I continue to network and get my name out there whenever I can as a trainer. I haven’t burned bridges and the limited coaching that I do now MUST be extraordinary. I sign up for seminars and certification courses. I scour social media for all the latest updates on athletes in the field, expert coaches, local businesses. I’ve done a lot of work building my brand – even before my business has begun.
The plan was to keep things simple and has the potential to work for anyone. Work out the finances so that you know exactly what you need to be bringing in to “keep the lights on”. Have candid conversations with everyone in the family. This is going to affect everyone. My kids have been super supportive, know how much I love training others, and understand that every time they want to order stuff on Amazon, the answer will no longer always be a blind “yes”. An easy compromise for a happy, ever-present Mom.
I have a plan B that goes into effect even while Plan A is developing. I have taken on a few part time gigs to get me through the leaner “building’ months that I know are in my future. I also have a plan C that will go into effect if the dream just doesn’t work. And I have to be OK with that. I won’t, however, put Plan C into effect before I’ve given your dream a real chance. I’m expecting mistakes, downturns, low points. They will occur and can only make me better and more successful than I could ever imagine.
All those quotes that people post on social media are absolutely true. “Do what you love and you won’t work a day in your life.” “Stop doing what you hate”. I would often see these and think, well this doesn’t apply to me. I’m too old. That could never work. I’m too _______. You name it.
So here I am. 3 weeks away from leaving Corporate America, to going out on my own and trying to make ends meet while loving every minute of the work it will take to get there. I don’t consider myself brave or courageous, which is something I’ve heard a lot over the last couple of weeks. At this point, I feel like I’ve just had enough of being unhappy and unfulfilled. I’m taking care of me and as a result, everyone else will get taken care of. Funny how that works. I won’t miss another [insert kids’ sport here] game. I won’t dread another Monday morning. And best of all, I’ll have no regrets wondering, “What if”.