Leaving corporate life was the first step to the now. It was a big change and deserved its time in the sun. Support flowed like bourbon on my birthday. Folks, despite not fully understanding the larger picture, congratulated me for taking action. The words "brave" and "crazy" were thrown around with my name (I believe this kind of "crazy" as a good thing). With this moment over three years ago, it is time for the next step. Freelance, here I come.
As of September 15th, I am a full-time writer. Ben and I decided 2017 was going to be the year I claim this title. Month after month following this decision, timing didn't feel right. It was either timing or me being scared shitless. If I am being honest, it was split 80/20; scared shitless with the win. Upon returning from Alaska, as memorable of a trip as they come, in mid-July, I had more clarity and guts. New experiences have a way of pushing stagnant ideas into action. August came around, and I revealed to my manager at Free People it was time for me to leave.
I remember that day vividly. It was equal parts difficult and liberating. When accepting this part-time job, which led to full-time managing, I saw it as a job; something to pay the bills as I pursued what I really wanted to do. I did not anticipate the impact it would have on my pursuit. I did not anticipate the family I would gain. I worked alongside strong, self-governing women with even stronger ambitions. Within our little Free People family, there was an opera singer, a business owner, a lifestyle photographer, a yoga instructor, dedicated mothers, full-time students, and talented artists of various mediums. We celebrated weddings, milestones, and welcomed new life together. We tackled the tough moments too, the times when life doesn't go as desired: sickness, infertility, death, the election.
These women had a profound impact on my decision to leave. This sounds like a negative sentence, but it is the opposite. There were numerous times I sought their feedback on pieces of writing and new creative ideas. Tears were shed to them when I felt uncertainty and anxiety in my decisions. And, of course, I embraced them (or rather they embraced me) when a win occurred, no matter how small it was. These women gave me the push and motivation I needed during the time I needed it. The three-and-a-half-year detour with my Free People family proved to not be a detour at all, but the most necessary path to freelancing.
So here I am. The deed is done. I am flying solo. Almost a month in and it hasn't entirely hit me. The fear is alive and well. Someone recently told me, "If you are scared, then you are doing something right." Dozens of other entrepreneurs have communicated a version of this quote to me over the last two months. Each one with its own nuance leaving a different impact then the time before it. All these entrepreneurs deal with fear. They wrestle with doubts and hesitation. I am discovering those who can coexist with their fear, even listen to it, go on to create great things. It is a power source; one which can be used for good or evil. There is much to learn about fear and using it as a charge. Until I can direct my fear effectively, I am a sponge soaking in others mastery around me.
The conclusion of the book The Alchemist bookended the beginning of my freelance career. There were many takeaways from this book, but the quote above opened a whole new outlook to me. From the support of my Free People family to the advice and conversations from fellow creatives to countless other omens, the world around me is conspiring. It is proof I am on the write (*right*) path.