Yup, I really did quit my day job to pursue my dream full time. I will spend my days helping companies eliminate destructive, energy-sucking leadership practices and instead grow confident, competent and creative leaders at every level.
I’ve been engrossed in a 45-day transition to ensure my team doesn’t miss a beat. The true sign of leadership is what happens when the leader walks away. Although the “walking away” part is heartbreaking, the running toward is exhilarating. I will miss my magical team.
Early Reactions as I Announced I Was Leaving to Pursue My Dream
As news spread through my teams at work and with the external strategic companies with whom I partner, nearly everyone has had a similar reaction curve.
- Shock – Are you kidding, no one walks away from a great gig like that. What about those long-term incentives you’re leaving on the table?
- Sadness – I’m blessed to have built deep connections with so many people whom I care about deeply. We will really miss one another and the outcomes of our collaboration.
- Stirring – Wow, look at your eyes when you talk about this. You really are following your calling. I know this your true passion. Good for you.
- Support – How can I best help you?
Thank you to all who have been on this curve with me through the last few weeks.
Building Momentum: The Path to Go Pursue My Dream
I’d like to say that the last few years of writing and speaking were all a deliberate strategic building towards this moment.
But the truth is, I felt the pull and stayed open to possibilities. The exhilaration of the momentum became too hard to resist. I began waking up early and rushing to the computer to see what my email would bring. I felt alive and full of meaning with the growing connections of kindred spirits and leaders needing support.
The long hours and travel to do my leadership role well and the time needed to serve the Let’s Grow Leaders pursuits became too much to sustain. I had to choose. It was time to do what I felt most called to do. And so I offer some of the behind-the-scenes momentum that helped turn the dream into reality.
1. Building A Financial Foundation
When I was in my late twenties with a small baby and a big mortgage, my husband lost his job. My salary could not cover the mortgage payment, let alone the other expenses, and our entire savings had gone to the down payment. We ate a lot of noodles. That early experience taught me to never let my lifestyle outgrow my savings. I vowed to save enough that my bags could be “packed,” and not be overly dependent on any company.
2. Building Genuine Relationships
The most exhilarating part of this journey has been the amazing kindred spirits I’ve met along the way. I have strong leadership values which sometimes leave me swimming upstream. It’s been awesome to connect with other schools of like-minded fish fighting the same battle.
3. Building On The Basics
For the last 3 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with some amazing human beings in other companies as I’ve led our Strategic Partnership Channel.
For the first time, more of my time was spent thinking about other companies and the leaders inside them, than at my own company, and it was FUN! With an incubator of over 25 call centers and 10,000 human beings,
I can now absolutely prove that the centers that are led with fear and pressure can’t sustain results, and some have collapsed. But when leaders empower their people, built great cultures, and lead with transparency, the results all trend upward, the scorecards become balanced, and employees care about their work.
Great frontline leaders and the systems to support them is the foundation of real success. I’m humbled to have been a part of some amazing turnarounds. I feel called to share these gifts more broadly.
4. Building Bridges
Read any book on graceful exits and they’ll tell you not to “burn bridges.”
What this experience has taught me that the real secret is to build and care for strong bridges throughout your career. Help as many people as you can. Treat everyone you meet with deep respect. Care about the whole person and their scene. Support your successor. I’ve been amazed at how people are surfacing from every stage in my career with offers of help and support.
“Let me introduce you to…”
“I can help you build your business plan…”
“My wife and I would be delighted to take a vacation and come sell books at the back of your conference.”
Cheerleaders are everywhere with open arms.
5. Building Confidence
– It’s never going to feel like exactly the right time. If I wanted to have been talked out of this, there were plenty offering to do that. The “have you thought about” and “what if” questions could easily have scared me back to security. I finally realized that the real risk would be to not offer the world what I now feel I must give.
We must be willing to be shaken up, to submit ourselves to the dark blossomings of chaos, in order to reap the blessings of growth.~ -Gregg Levoy, Callings
Amen. Thank you to my wonderful Let’s Grow Leaders community who have been a large part of this journey so far. Game on. Stay tuned for more updates on what’s next in the coming weeks. Namaste.