How I transformed my fear, quit my job and started my own company
After almost 7 amazing years, I'm about to quit my job. A couple of months ago, I found out that I was paid 47% less money than my colleague with the same job. I don't have a new job lined up, instead I'm starting my own company. I'm excited, really excited. If you get me talking about what I want to do, I am so passionate.
But I'm also scared.
I keep trying to figure out what I'm scared of. Money. That I won't get enough business. That I won't make enough money. That I will let people down. That I will fail or feel like failure. I’m really afraid that people will think I’m presumptuous for thinking I could do this.
Rationally, I don't think that will happen. This is a thoughtful, informed decision. Everyone I've told says they are confident I can do this. I'm driven, focused, determined, and I'm really good at what I do.
But it's scary.
Like jumping off a cliff into a big unknown. I don’t jump off of cliffs. I don’t even like getting close to the edge.
For the past couple of years, since my challenges with miscarriages and infertility, I have this trick. When a situation feels really challenging, I try to mentally step outside of my body and what's happening, almost as if I'm figuring out how I will tell this story years from now. It helps me not get sucked into emotional drama.
For some reason, I haven't been able to use it with this. I think because my emotion is fear, and that's new for me. I'm cautious and calculated. I don't do things that make me scared, I do things I'm confident I will succeed at. I'm a perfectionist at heart and that means I don't even put myself in these situations.
Tonight, I was talking to my brother. He is a successful adventuresome risk taker. He started his own business in his early twenties. He has had lots of ups and downs and he finds a way to come out on top. When I told him I was scared, he said:
"Don't be scared, think of it as being retrospectively brave."
It took me a moment to process. "Retrospectively brave", what does that even mean? Then it started to come together. What will my future self say about this moment?
I will say:
I am being brave. I'm stepping up to the plate, leaning in at the table, and putting it all on the line. I'm bearing my career soul to the world.
No matter what happens next, I know that I will learn a lot about me and the world. I will grow and be challenged. And one day, I will look back and think "that was the bravest thing I had ever done until that point in my life."
So yes, I'm still a little scared, but I'm not going to let that fear stop me. Today, I'm more brave than scared. I'm ready to jump off the cliff into the unknown and figure out how I can bravely balance this new version of my life.