I Went From High School Drop Out To CEO And Entrepreneur
14-years-old. A high school dropout. Desperate need of change.
No, this isn’t the plot for the next box office movie. This was my life, better yet, this is my life. I often find people around me will assume I’ve always had my life in order or feel like I can’t relate to their challenges in life.
Because why would I?
I came from a single mom, living in a middle-class neighborhood. Both my parents were well-educated and had good careers. In spite of all that, at 14, I dropped out of high school and at 15-years-old I left home. I was completely content with accomplishing nothing with my life. I became a slave to drugs at a young age and experienced several “rock bottoms” that lead me to become desperate for a life-altering change. And I had them. Several of them. Some were my choices, others were made for me.
Getting through this painful experience at such a young age was challenging. I needed guidance, support and wisdom. Wisdom, however, is created through experience and developed with age. By 15 years old, shit, I had a lot of experiences, but without that aging and maturity piece, I lacked the wisdom of knowing when to take proper and appropriate risks (like all teens). Leaving home at the young age of 15 was not an appropriate risk.
However, there came a point where I was able to take a significant risk – realizing I needed help and being willing to accept it. This story, as you can image, is so much more in-depth and rich with details than I could possibly offer in this blog post (am guessing I will need to write another book!) After missing so much school, graduating on time seemed like an impossible task. I had to dig deep and ask myself what I wanted the rest of my life to look like. I was scared, but by putting one foot in front of the other, I found the courage to begin again. Leaving behind the past and starting over. Starting a new school to complete my sophomore, junior and senior years – they all seemed to blend together due to constant schooling throughout winters and summers just to keep catch up – get enough credits to graduate on time. This troubled young girl was no longer content with not accomplishing anything with her life; she wanted a life of fulfillment. And I walked across the stage with my class, graduating on time – head held high. Most of my classmates didn’t know the full extent of my story. In fact, there are those who have known me for years that don’t know this part of my life. (picture: Freshman year/1985)
Fast forward. That once high-school dropout, 20 years later, became a CEO for a large nonprofit organization. I was accomplished, a college graduate, found my calling in “giving back”, financially successful – happy. I truly loved my job for quite some time, however, at some point my mental health hit a wall – beyond that of stress and burnout, but compassion fatigue. At such a young age with such incredible responsibility, I wasn’t sleeping well or was sleeping too much, worked too much, had terrible eating habits – had no understanding of self-care. My once regular meditation practice, disappeared.
Working in the nonprofit field, I was constantly serving other people, saying yes when I should have said no. I repeatedly told myself, “You need to do more.” Work more. Love better. Serve society. At the end of my days I was e.x.h.a.u.s.t.e.d. I had lost all sense of myself or how to get myself back.
It was time. I was itching for it. I needed to – I HAD to shift into a different calling. I was about to take another monumental risk. It had been coming and although it took a few years to come up with a plan, and get the training, and practicing some radical self-care – I did it. Took the risk.
Fast-forward many years later, quitting my very successful career to start my own coaching and consulting business was a risk that changed my life. I was finally a certified life coach. What I mean by that is, I had been a life coach for years. I led, trained, counseled and mentored throughout my entire professional career; for me, life coaching was clearly my next step. The one that tugged at me for years. The next path that was meant for me. Throughout this process I learned how important self-care was and how life-changing it was to establish and maintain healthy boundaries. Taking the risk to leave my 20+ year career to become an entrepreneur and open my full-time business of life coaching and consulting is probably one of my biggest appropriate risks. It was scary, but working with my own life coach helped to guide and direct me and hold me accountable. She wasn’t going to let my fear talk me out of it!
By this point in my life I had done many courageous things. And choosing to leave my field after so many years, where I had been successful and established was one of the more risky things I had ever done. However, I had too. I felt like I was dying inside. Dying to follow that tug from my soul that new it was time to spread my wings. I felt like I was suffocating and knew I HAD TO take the risk. The appropriate risk – a mindful risk. A planned risk. I sought out advice from those who transitioned from the corporate world into doing their own thing. Created a plan, worked with a mentor and along with listening to my trusted inner voice, set out to build my own business.
The reward has been beyond what I could imagine.
Don’t get me wrong. I work. A LOT. But at the end of the day, I am not depleted or filled with anxiety. I am tired, but fulfilled. THIS is the reward. That I had the courage, to take the risks to reap this beautiful life and have all of the incredible rewards that have come along with it. Fulfillment, connection, community, purpose, vision, passion. I get to have it all. And so do you.
Does any of this story resonate with you? And no, I don’t mean the dropping out of high school part. I’m not even talking about hitting rock bottom either. Or even leaving your career. I am talking about finding the courage, to take the risks to get the reward. Or on the flip side, being paralyzed with so much fear, that you don’t make the move towards your dreams and goals. Where have you experienced that in your life?
Maybe it’s a move you need to make. Going back to school to finish your degree. That book you want to write. The side-gig you want to start. The yoga class you want to take. The relationship you need to leave. Maybe it’s creating a brand-new, healthy you. It all starts with courage. And…
You don’t need to hit rock bottom to make a change.
Imagine. Overcoming fears and obstacles that have held you back.
You’re on an elevator, you don’t have to wait to get to the very last floor before trying to get back up. We can get off at any floor. How much lower are you willing to go before working on getting back up?
The most rewarding part of life-coaching is empowering and inspiring others to by helping them use their experiences and wisdom to begin to create their best life. I’m more than excited to introduce my Courage, Risks and Rewards Online Coaching Course with you. In this course, together we will discover how finding the courage to leap to take appropriate risks can result in rewards unimaginable. This program is an easy way to start uncovering and overcoming fears – and finding the courage to move forward. Big changes don’t happen overnight. But they start somewhere.
Registration for this personal development training course begins today! Hit your personal development goals by clicking – here.
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