Following your dreams can be a terrifying endeavor. Especially when it means quitting your day job and trading in your salary for a small business loan and no benefits. Yet, people do it all the time.
Why? Why would any sane person leave the cozy security of a career they worked so hard to create over the years? It could be because of their undying entrepreneurial spirit that has been lying dormant for too long. Maybe it’s because their love of a product or service is so strong that they feel called to do a shout out from the rooftops (or Instagram, Twitter, Facebook).
For me it was both of those things, plus the reality that my body could no longer handle the stress of working in the corporate world. That’s not to say there is anything wrong with those who are working diligently to move up, rung by rung, the proverbial corporate ladder. On the contrary, I admire you, but I also knew it was no longer right for me.
No amount of almond milk lattes or mini Snickers bars could get me through the long afternoons and nights. A few years ago, I decided it was time to shed my corporate identity along with my business suits and high heels. Along with my husband, we purchased Spirit of the Lake Yoga and Wellness Center in Excelsior and began our journey into the unknown.
It wasn’t a decision we took lightly. There is a lot that goes into starting or purchasing a business and building your own brand. There are so many questions, major bouts of uncertainty and questioning if you are doing the right thing.
The Spirit of the Lake Yoga and Wellness Center studio and its most regular occupant, owner Nicole Lovald.
As I look back at the transition from being a Kool-Aid drinking corporate junkie to a small business owner and entrepreneur, there are a few things I wish I would have known then that I learned the hard way.
If you are feeling a similar urge (need) to reinvent yourself and your career, the following are three pieces of advice that helped me follow my passion and ditch the known (read: safe) for the unknown (read: scary). I hope it helps and inspires you as well.
I know this sounds like a chapter straight out of a self-help book, but it’s true. If I had to guess what I would be doing in my career at the ripe age of, ahem, 41, I never would have thought it would be where I am now. However, if I look back at all of the jobs I’ve had through the years, I realize now that they led me directly to where I am today. I am where I’m supposed to be. By following my instincts over the years I learned what I needed to in order to manage all aspects of my business, and just as importantly I’ve gained the confidence that I made the right decision.
This is a big one. Don’t ever pretend that you know it all or don’t need anyone’s help. You never know when someone you meet or work with is going to be in a place to offer you much-needed assistance and support. You can save yourself from many mistakes and much heartache by reaching out and building a community of support early on. They will be your lifeline - invest in people and they will invest in you – literally and figuratively!
There is always more you could be doing, especially if you tend to dream big. If you are always moving from one thing to the next and never take a pause to realize the small successes you’ve had along the way, you’ll burn out. Sometimes we are so busy building our “empire” that we forget to realize how far we’ve come. Pause and be proud. Celebrate your wins - big and small. You’ve been thoughtful and brave. You deserve to feel good about that!
Following your passion takes courage. It’s is not for the faint of heart. Whether you continue to rock your high heels, Oxfords, or flip flops, follow your heart and you will find your very personal version of success … whatever that looks like for you.
Spirit of the Lake Yoga and Wellness Center in Excelsior
Lovald left corporate America to open Spirit of the Lake Yoga and Wellness Center in Excelsior. She's the author of a new book titled "Om Sweet Om: A Corporate Junkie's Search for Enlightenment," which is the inspiring story of how a stressed-out corporate junkie found her way to a yoga mat ... and back to herself.