For me, it was losing my job, my identity and my livelihood the summer of 2018. I immediately promised myself to create a “new future”. I had to: as a divorced, middle-aged mother of two I knew no one would rescue me: not corporate America and not a man. Honestly, I wouldn’t want that!
Life is 10 % of what happens to you and 90% how you react to it! -Charles R. Swindoll
Still, sudden change is difficult, and the resulting fear can be paralyzing. So, how does one begin again? For me, it was reaching out! I will explain in the paragraphs ahead. I am no expert. Just a determined woman making it up as she goes! Months into my new journey, I have perspective and insight that may be useful to anyone experiencing an unwanted change.
Within hours of learning my beloved job of 21 years was ending in a month, I contacted a woman I admired. Something similar happened to her and she ultimately created a thriving business! She provided much needed reassurance that I would be OK and that I had the power to be a trailblazer just like her.
A friend who runs his own law firm was the one who advised me to reach out to that mentor. He also recommended I mourn the past and celebrate the future!
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow” -Helen Keller
A few days later, I met with a girlfriend who is an entrepreneur. She saw my pending job loss as not a failure but a huge opportunity that should be pursued with every bit of energy possible. Positive perspective I needed given how scared I was!! Sure, I had a good cry with family and my closest girlfriend but quickly realized the excitement of forging on my own! My daughters saw my employment contract not being renewed as a blessing, saying “Mom, Now is your time!”
Staying optimistic is essential to taking the first step to a new life! And, if you can’t find the silver lining in your situation, lean on true friends who can point that out to you! Always, surround yourself with those who are positive!
When feeling lost, look to those who have figured it out. I met with 15 business owners over the first couple of months post-employment to learn how they started and more importantly for me, if they thought I had what it took to be an entrepreneur. Given my “non-compete” restricting my ability to seek jobs in television broadcasting, I knew I had to start something of my own or step outside of my sphere of expertise. (I have applied for many job openings outside of news but have yet to receive a viable nibble of interest.) So, I must continue to build my future.
“Many…people…did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up!”-Thomas Jefferson
One brand designer recommended I start by writing down all my skills. Although, I felt I had none, somehow, I managed to scratch out a list of about 10 or so.
The head of a major advertising firm advised me to list the services I could provide on a white board. I modified that approach a bit and slapped 13 sticky notes with job titles written in red sharpie on the mirror of my home office armoire.
Then, a Harvard-trained business owner shared with me the importance of being a part of a business support group and connected me with some networking groups.
Through those meetings, I received direction and encouragement. The common theme was no matter how successful one seems to others, there are always struggles! I intend to write about their advice in depth in the future. I took notes during each meeting and when I get discouraged, I read them over again. Their inspiring words break the immobilizing fear that can take ahold whenever stepping outside of my comfort zone.
”Once you stop learning you start dying!” Those profound words from Albert Einstein have always resonated with me. That statement motivates me even more as I shape my new future.
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young!” -Henry Ford
Henry Ford’s great quote also motors what has become my mantra #MyReinvention.
I knew I wanted to return to school but attending law school or getting my masters did not seem feasible. So, I enrolled in classes to learn how to trade stocks and options and real estate. Both skill sets are part of my grand design for the future, but in the meantime, expanding my brain gives me a sense of purpose. Next on my list: ballroom dancing classes!
Learning can provide a sense of control when life seems out of control.
Tell everybody you meet what you are doing, whether it is looking for a job or looking for new clients. I have attended speed networking functions, joined business groups and spread the news on social media. One must create her own opportunities!
Here’s how that worked for me in one case. Through contacts I made at a networking meeting, I became a speaker at SA Start Up week. A business owner approached me after I made it through my first-ever power point presentation! Now, I will present at her conference in Austin in April. Look for how that business owner went from Physician to Entrepreneur in a future blog.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.” -African Proverb
Putting yourself out there, no matter how uncomfortable, will lead to connections!
My first client helped create an LLC (Limited Liability Company) for Leslie Bohl Media. He has set up many businesses on his own. So, I accepted his generosity! It was a fraction of the $1500 quote from an attorney. I also have found great free resources in and around San Antonio. For one, Bexar County has a what I call a small business lab. or the Bexar County Small Business & Entrepreneurship And, UTSA-Small Business Development Center offers many free workshops on starting a business including how to file for a sales tax permit with the state among other things.
Counting your blessings can put things in perspective. Every night and each morning, I think of at least three things for which I am grateful. And, once I fully put my situation in God’s hands, I felt a calmness. Oh, there are still many sleepless nights, but when I remember through Him, I have the power to create a better life I breathe in and out feeling bolstered that I will figure it out no matter what. To me, that is what Faith is all about!
“I can do all thing through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13