Tuesday, January 30, 2018

5 Lessons Learned Going Part-Time at Corporate to Pursue my Passions

A month ago I made the decision to go part-time at my corporate marketing job in order to make more room to pursue my fitness business, blog and freelance writing goals. I was (am) a little terrified about cutting my regular paycheck in half but somewhere deep inside it felt like the right thing to do. I was in a rut. A four year rut. I have been feeling creatively stifled and it was about time I did something about it. Something. Anything. Shake things up, baby.

This was a relatively safe move because we worked hard to pay off debt and we keep our expenses low. I know that even if I don't make one extra dollar on my side hustles that I would still be able to pay my bills without stress. That part was important to me because this whole process taught me that I am risk averse. Yes, I wanted to pursue my passions more seriously, no I didn't want to go broke or introduce money stress into my life to do it. This choice seemed the perfect balance of risk.

Some people thought I was crazy. Why would I leave money on the table from my corporate job? My answer was that I make enough money, I wanted more freedom and I was willing to pay for it. I could keep spending my precious energy or I could downgrade my lifestyle, which honestly doesn't mean much more than cutting down on my Lorna Jane and Amazon prime habit. It seemed like a reasonable trade off.

It's only been a month and I am stretching and growing already. I am already learning some lessons and am discovering some interesting things about myself.


I HAD TO GIVE UP THE GOOD TO MAKE ROOM FOR THE GREAT


The honest truth is that I didn't quit half my job because I had clients lined up around the block and I needed more time to serve them. I quit half my job to make space on my calendar and more importantly, in my head. You know what happened? I picked up a new personal training client and new nutrition coaching client that first month. I made room for it. I didn't have the mental capacity for another client while working full time, writing two blogs, being a wife, working out and keeping my house spotless at all times (just kidding about that last one).

I like the idea of giving up the good to make room for the great. A well paying corporate job is good, no doubt about that. If I really want to make room for the things I want out of life, I have to be willing to give up good and comfortable to pursue the great.


I HAD TO GET COMFORTABLE WITH BEING UNCOMFORTABLE


Four weeks in and I am loving the freedom, however, there is a lot of uncertainty on those non-corporate days when I am free to pursue whatever I want. There is pressure to make sure I am spending my time wisely, because if I sit on the computer and stare at Facebook all day, then I'm not doing anything to move myself forward and quite literally losing money. It's one thing to not make money despite your best efforts, it's a whole 'nother thing to waste the chance to try.

I started working at a local running store on Mondays. It gives me the great opportunity to meet local runners in my community while helping them in a real way. It also may open up contact and networking opportunities with running industry manufacturers. I spend my time doing something that I truly enjoy, while still having the freedom to blog or work on my own business on those days between customers.

While working at a running shoe store is not a difficult job, it is full of uncertainty. People come in or call with questions that I don't know the answers to all the time. People have an expectation that the person working at the store is a running shoe expert, and while I learn more and more everyday, I just simply do not know the history and technical details of every running shoe ever made (like the owner of this store does).



It's a lesson in not letting negative thoughts or ideas take over. I am not perfect, but I'm good enough. The uncertainty of my fitness business, the future of my blogs and freelance writing is the scary unknown. I just have to learn to get real cozy comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.

I strive to learn and improve every day, but when something new brings up those "not good enough" feelings of uncertainty I have to remind myself that learning or doing anything new and making newbie mistakes only stretches me to become a better person. The more uncomfortable I feel, the more opportunity there is for me to grow.

I'M LEARNING AN ABUNDANT MINDSET


When you cut your regular paycheck in half it's really easy to start to calculate what you don't have, what you can't afford or what you have to give up. It's true that in the beginning while I get things off the ground I won't have as much disposable income as I've grown accustomed. At first, I worried that I might not be able to afford my annual BlogFest and personal trainer conference trip or to sign up for as many races. I made a conscious decision to put those thoughts out of my head. I didn't go part-time so I could give up the experiences that light my soul on fire, that would be counter intuitive. I want to get more out of life and going to conferences, races and concerts is a big part of living my life to the fullest. 



Sure, it is responsible to cut out unnecessary spending and live a more conservative lifestyle given my reduced income, but I'll strive to cut the things that aren't providing value to my life. I don't need more stuff (not even more leggings-gasp-even though I think I do.) I always need more connections, more experiences and more travel. I won't let a scarcity mindset get between me and the abundant full life of my dreams. 


I LEARNED STRESS IS RELATIVE


I am at my corporate job three days a week now and I quickly learned that stress is relative. When my identity became more than my marketing job, the stress of that job instantly became less important. I am not saying the job itself is less important to me. I am so grateful my company allows me this privilege to work part-time. I realize it is a gift. I will always strive to do the best job possible, but suddenly and instantly I lost the stress surrounding the things I could not control. It's a strange feeling for a worry-wart like me.

I work hard to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible, but when things go wrong that are out of my control I am now able to work to correct the problem to the best of my ability without any of the stress attached to it. "It is what it is" has become my new motto. My head space doesn't have the room anymore to worry or stress about work-related issues outside of my control mainly because it became apparently clear that it is pointless.

Now if this lesson can carry over to the rest of the things I stress about in my life that are out of my control, that would be great.

I FOUND COMFORT IN THE CHAOS OF FAMILIARITY


Hubby worried that only going to the marketing office three days a week would make it worse for me, like returning back to work from a long weekend, every weekend. You know how you feel when you've been off work for a vacation and you dread the return to reality?

So far I have had the opposite experience. I have four long full days every single week to pursue my passions, stretch my knowledge, try new things, learn new things, meet new people and take new risks. Frankly, it can be mentally exhausting. In returning to the office I have found great comfort in the chaos of familiarity.

I've been working with my company for nearly a decade. It's not a hard job, but it is a fast-paced, often demanding, detailed-oriented job. After a long weekend of stretching and growing, I slip back comfortably into the chaos I know. It helps a lot with the self-doubt that tries to creep in when I do all these new things.

I could imagine that if someone quit their full-time job to pursue their personal goals that the feelings of uncertainty could quickly become overwhelming. I get a three-day-a-week reminder that I am a smart, capable human-being who can do challenging things well. It's quite a privilege to have the opportunity to earn a paycheck by serving my company while also have to time to pursue my own dreams.


I want to thank you for reading. It is hard work to maintain two blogs consistently and I've often wondered if it was maybe time to give up Running with Ollie to focus solely on Lea Genders Fitness strength & running blog.

This blog has been my baby since 2009 and even though Ollie doesn't run much anymore, I realized I am not ready to let it go because I will always need a personal blog as a creative outlet. Lea Genders Fitness strength & running blog has more article-based blog posts to help people with their running, strength training and nutrition. This blog is my heart and my personal outlet.

The ideas in this post have been swirling around in my head for a couple of weeks now and while I thank you for reading, I write it for me. It helps me process how I am feeling. It's a big part of how I untangle the thoughts wrapped in knots in my head. I want to document my journey here. I'm afraid if I don't write it down, in a year from now when all of this feels easy, I'll forget all about the lessons I learned to get there.


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Keep Running,

Lea

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