I know what it feels like to have one foot in the traditional working world and the other in a creative entrepreneurial world and not feel like I fully belong in either.
When I was forced to give up teaching in a traditional high school classroom, it was my newfound love for blogging that gave me a second chance to completely start over, a gateway to a new life in which I got to decide the rules. It lead me to pursue marketing consulting for a tech startup, a path that I thought would fulfill my emerging values of freedom and flexibility while still honoring my desire to help others, my writing skills, and interest in social media and email marketing.
Initially, my new career path provided immense relief and new purpose and excitement. I was thriving in my role, traveling around the country giving presentations about social media marketing and teaching small business owners how to craft effective email campaigns. But it didn’t take long for things not to feel quite right. I knew that this wasn’t ultimately where I needed to be and I had quickly outgrown the entry-level work.
You see, after I left education–an extremely traditional industry–and started to experience start-up culture firsthand while simultaneously witnessing everyday people making a creative living online, my whole world opened up. It was like I was seeing all of these new possibilities and paths for the first time. I became fascinated with companies challenging the status quo and redefining what work could look like. I even interviewed with a dream company, known for its values-based, transparent work culture, and made it through the third round. And I was starting to take blogging even more seriously, rebranding, building a community, and imagining how I could take my creative projects to the next level.
But before I could make a career change myself, I was part of a big company-wide layoff, so I was back on the job search.
The problem was, I didn’t recognize myself in any of the job descriptions I kept coming across during my desperate attempts to find a new job, nor did I have a solid creative idea that I could make a living on, not to mention I didn’t really resonate with the idea of being a “girl boss” and having to “hustle” and “slay.” No matter which way I turned, I didn’t really recognize a true place for me.
I eventually got another job in marketing at another tech startup. This time, it was a position with a significant amount of responsibility and even more flexibility than ever before. But, again, it didn’t take long for me to realize that this wasn’t right, either. Sure, I could do this work and do it well, and even feel a level of passion about it. But I couldn’t ignore the signs that I was meant for something...well...more.
At the same time, my relationship with blogging was starting to change.
While I absolutely loved the creativity, community, and business aspects of my brand, I felt stuck in overconsumption, jaded by the marketing industry that I was a part of. It felt silly to be blogging about blogging. I was craving more heart, more connection, more stuff that actually mattered. I still wanted to blog—it had been such an important part of my life that changed my trajectory forever—but I didn’t really know how to proceed.
So, at a loss in both my career and creative work, I decided I needed to try something different. I hired a coach. It was, hands down, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Finally, I had someone who could help me let go of my limiting beliefs, figure out that freedom, flexibility, and creativity are what help me to thrive, understand why my relationship with blogging had changed, embrace the idea that I could, in fact, run a successful business my way, and most importantly, discover the thread throughout all of my experiences in my career and life: coaching. It’s the perfect blend of my teaching background, my interest in personal growth, my desire to empower others, and my marketing and leadership skills.
Today, I am a Certified Professional Coach and an Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner, trained through the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), an accredited program through the International Coach Federation. And man does it feel right.