This guest post was written by Alene Gabriel; the Founder of Blue Sky Coaching.
She and I started talking thanks to the Being Boss Facebook Page! I’m absolutely obsessed with the Being Boss Podcast and the community surrounding it, so it’s no surprise that something wonderful came of it.
Hope you enjoy her post on how she took the leap into becoming self-employed!
“One of the things that appealed most to me about Taryn’s blog is literally the name of it – Soul Cookies. #1, who doesn’t love cookies?! #2, I adore the imagery of feeding your soul with figurative cookies – which is exactly what coaching (aka what I’ve discovered I am on this earth to do) is all about. And #3, starting a business is a heck of a lot like baking cookies. No really. It is.
Once upon a time, I was an only child who loved to sit on the fringe of my parents’ dinner parties, watching the adults interact – the furtive glances, the facial expressions, the thickness of the air when someone said something off kilter. I love stories, I loved listening and I loved being the one my friends came to when they had something on their minds. You’d think I would have known early on that I was destined to be a coach. Like having a parent who is a cookie magician, you’d think it would be obvious that I’d be baking (soul) cookies. Alas, the path is not always so straightforward.
Post-college, I took a deep dive into the corporate life. What started as a job (which I desperately needed!) turned out to be a career that felt really good. I was good at it, I moved up the ladder, I got promotions, raises, recognition, bigger and better offices, benefits, planned and went on great vacations, bought a house, worked out, ate healthfully…I was on track. I had the ingredients, I was mixing the batter like a pro.
And yet, sometimes I would look around, coddled in my couch any given evening and think…is this all there is?
At one point, I looked at my job and realized there was a part of my job that I LOVED – I lived for it: coaching and developing others. I thrived on it. I volunteered for it. But the rest of my job – you know, the other 75% of it – I could take or leave. And one day I thought –why don’t I take that 25% and blow it up to be my 100%?
It was like I finally looked at the cookie recipe I was baking and realized something just wasn’t right. It had never previously occurred to me to just alter the recipe!
WHAT?! I can CHANGE the recipe?? Sign me up and count me in!
It was so liberating. Make no mistake though, this was no overnight decision and it didn’t come lightly. But I was ready to stop settling for cookies I mostly liked and ready to experiment and make cookies I LOVED.
Sure, there are questions that come up. Can I REALLY just change a recipe and it’ll turn out? Will I like them? Will they look good? Will other people like them?
Starting a business brings the same scary questions, just a little less cookie-centric. But once I got really clear that this was what I was meant to do, that I would do just about anything to have this life, there was no going back.
I found a coaching program to further develop and hone my skills, I socked away some money, and I left my corporate job. Gulp. Yeah, that happened. And it comes with ups and downs. If there is one thing I learned in the corporate world (and I learned MANY things), it was that there is no greener grass anywhere. There are pros and cons to everything – you just have to pick the set of pros and cons you are willing to accept.
There was huge excitement in signing new clients, working with them and seeing their development and growth unfold. There was a struggle in FINDING those clients, days when I wondered if it would work.
I’m still mixing batter and baking batches of cookies. I don’t know how they will all come out. But I do know that if it’s not quite right, I’ll adjust as I go. But I know I’m on the way to making that magical batch of cookies that will tickle my taste buds and feed my soul. And THAT is the really sweet reward.”