Thinking about leaving the corporate world to work for yourself? The experience was not at all what I thought it would be. Read on for insight, support, and tips to ease the transition.
I LEFT MY SUCCESSFUL CORPORATE CAREER
Why? Because my intuition told me to.
It was incredibly out of character. I’d always taken the safe road and was the most risk-averse person I knew.
But the fear of taking a leap to work for myself had kept me in the corporate world too long. A place I felt I didn’t belong (which if you’re a creative empath, I’m sure you can relate to).
A corporate career is a good fit for a lot of people. And from the outside, I’d had a great career. I’d worked on some awesome teams, in beautiful city buildings, was paid well, and my progression was supported.
But my insides were always twisted and I was so busy people-pleasing that I was totally out of touch with my own needs and the person I truly was.
And there was also the unhealed trauma I’d held onto from early in my career: sexual harassment, competitive bullying, and once even a physical threat in an underground parking lot.
It Was Time To Go
Eventually, the whispers of my inner guidance had turned to shouts and undeniable signs from the universe were grabbing my attention every day. “IT’S TIME TO GO.”
It was time. I didn’t have a plan. But with the support and well wishes of my boss and colleagues, I left to start my new adventure.
And when I walked out the door, I expected to feel:
- and hopeful.
To my surprise, I discovered that doing the opposite of what I’d been programmed to do for most of my life was really tough and not so blissful … at least, at first.
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PLANNING TO TAKE THE LEAP & WORK FOR YOURSELF?
If my story resonates with you and your inner guidance system is telling you it’s time to leave your corporate career, I’d like to help by sharing the surprising stages of transformation I experienced.
Had I known what I was in for, it would’ve been a lot easier to move through.
I hope this insight helps you navigate your transition.
Here’s a rundown of the eight transformative stages I experienced, along with actions to help ease the transition.
I’ve also included some incredibly helpful books for additional support.
1: Craving Routine
I missed watching the sunrise out the train window, my morning tea break with my work bestie, the friendly “hellos” when I made my way to my desk, the practical jokes I played on my colleague, and the feeling of being productive.
As an empath, I had forever craved stillness, quiet, and alone time. But when I finally got it, there was an initial sense of isolation.
I felt like a teenager skipping class. With a guilty ache inside.
Wondering if I was lazy. Wondering if I’d left my success behind. Wondering if I made a huge mistake.
Keep up with a routine (i.e. morning journaling, walk, breakfast, then off to work plotting your next adventure). And sign up for a course (anything that will help you feel engaged and interested).
2: Loss of Sense of Self
Who am I without my role? My title? My colleagues?
I was never big on titles or promotions. They were nice to have but I didn’t identify with them. At least that’s what I thought.
But after I left, when I’d meet anyone new, I always felt the need to mention that I’d been a Senior Marketing Manager (made sure to get the “Senior” in there).
It surprised me.
When I told people that I’d left my job to figure out what I truly wanted, I felt judged. And it took time to realize that the only one judging me was me.
And beyond titles, there was my work persona: funny, friendly, helpful, problem-solver …
Was that my personality? Or was it a survival mechanism? Who was I without the work me?
During this stage keep in mind that sometimes you need to lose yourself to find yourself.
Enjoy the process of finding yourself. Get curious. Try new things. And free yourself from judgement.
3: Mild Depression
Another surprise. Where was the bliss I’d expected? And the drive and creativity?
After a few weeks, I felt blah and not all that motivated.
I spoke to my naturopath about it and she explained that when you move from a high-adrenaline, fast-paced lifestyle to the exact opposite your hormones need to adjust, which can cause mild depression in some cases.
For me, it only lasted 6-8 weeks and was never overpowering. And understanding the physical dynamics behind it helped.
If you find yourself in this stage, know that it’s part of the process and you will get through it. But always reach out to others for support if you need it. You don’t have to get through it alone.
Spend lots of time in nature, practice self-care and mindfulness, and do whatever you can to raise your vibration.
4: Getting Sucked Back In
As the weeks passed, the complete shift in finances moving out instead of in created a sense of time running out and an urgency to get myself on track. I’d saved enough money to keep me afloat for six months but I still felt the pressure.
And the loneliness, loss of sense of self, and depressive outlook triggered my ego to hop back into its previous leadership role:
“It’s okay. You had an aberration. Didn’t listen to my warnings. Tisk, tisk. But it’s okay. I’ll help you get your old life back. Just leave it to me.”
*Me nodding slowly with wide eyes*
I even went as far as to ask my previous manager to keep me posted on new opportunities. Later, I recognized it wasn’t my true self asking, but my ego. I’d moved into the passenger seat and let fear drive. But by recognizing this, I took back my power.
Almost as tough as finding the courage to take the leap to work for yourself, is keeping up the courage to stay on course.
Read all the motivational entrepreneur books you can get your hands on (I recommend Everything Is Figureoutable and She Means Business). And join Facebook Groups and meet-ups with other female entrepreneurs. The key is to continue to trust that all will work out. Don’t let fear drive.
5: Past Wounds Surfacing
(Hang in there — I swear this post has a happy ending.)
Once I was no longer distracted by twenty projects, rushing to work on time, rushing home, and then doing it all over again each day, my mind and body finally had a chance to alert me to the uncomfortable emotions, events, and traumas I’d been storing away for years.
This time of healing is sometimes referred to as a dark night of the soul. But it’s not as ominous as it sounds. It’s really an incredible period of insight and clearing.
Having the time and space to heal past wounds is a gift. And the impact of going inwards, digging up the muck, and clearing it away had the most liberating and soul-shifting effect.
It’s like getting a mind, body, and soul energy upgrade.
It’s super uncomfortable doing the emotional healing work, but it’s necessary and worth it.
Clearing out what no longer serves you is the quickest way to allow a new, brighter version of you to emerge and in turn, and brighter and better life.
EFT/Tapping and lots of it!
6: Creative Breakthroughs & Opportunities
It’s amazing how once I emotionally cleaned-up shop …
Intuitive ideas began to flow.
Goals and dreams began to form.
And the future looked brighter.
During this stage, your energetic frequency raises, and those high-vibe signals you radiate make you a vibrational match to amazing opportunities.
And you’ll notice lots of synchronicities popping up (e.g. you want to create a line of dog sweaters featuring positive quotes and your new neighbour owns a pet store. Score!). You realize that the universe is truly guiding you in the right direction.
7: Healthy Confidence and Self-Worth
At this point, I knew myself so much better. My eagerness to please others had now switched to eagerness to please myself.
I could see how fortunate I was for taking the leap. I could see how much it had taught me. And I knew I was moving in the right direction.
As you receive more and more clarity about who you are and what you want, your new career direction unfolds — revealing ideas and opportunities you hadn’t previously considered. Leave room for this change and expansion as your career transformation aligns with your personal transformation.
Following this new, clear direction builds your confidence, your self-worth, your drive, and your excitement about life.
Thank yourself for having the courage to take the leap and move through all of the growth and transformation that came along with it.
8: A Better, Brighter Life
And finally … it all worked out.
That bliss, that calm, that creativity, that freedom I was seeking came to me in the form of a freelance business, where I actually worked with the company I’d amicably left. But this time: I set the hours and was paid for every minute I worked, I worked at home (away from office politics), I turned down projects if there was too much on my plate, and I focused on the work I enjoyed the most.
And then I took another leap by following my intuition and creating this online space for awakened women. And it’s been the most exciting and creative time in my entire career.
Once you follow your intuition and take a career leap, courageous action becomes second nature.
Practice daily gratitude, continue to trust your intuition, and allow the universe to wow you.
TAKE THE LEAP. IT’S WORTH IT
If your inner guidance is telling you the corporate world isn’t right for you, listen to it. Life is far too short to show up every day as only a fraction of your authentic self.
To work for yourself, whether it be freelancing or starting your own business is a viable option. It’s not always the most comfortable route, but neither is staying somewhere you know you aren’t meant to be.
So take the leap.
Be fully present and loving with yourself through each stage.
As Marie Forleo says, “Everything Is Figureoutable.”
Know that your truest self is already on the other side waiting for you.
And the universe will never let you fall.
I highly recommend these books to help support you on your journey to finding yourself and your next career move.
Are you planning on leaving the corporate world? Or have you taken the leap? I’d love to hear about your personal career journey in the comments below.