2019 – WOW what a year! Motherhood, redundancy and entrepreneurship.

Professionally it probably has been one of the most challenging but rewarding years so far.

The year started with another four beautiful months at home with my baby boy before I slowly started to shift my mindset and prepared myself to return to work.

IT IS A VERY VULNERABLE FEELING TO RETURN TO WORK AFTER MATERNITY LEAVE AND AFTER BEING AWAY FOR TEN MONTHS, PLUS THERE IS THE GUILT OF PUTTING YOUR CHILD INTO DAY-CARE, AND THE WORRY ABOUT THE “PART-TIME WORK & FAMILY JUGGLE”. (ALL THE FEELS…)

For me, it turned out particularly challenging, as I was faced with a redundancy.

I tried to see it as an opportunity for a fresh start. After all, I had been in the same industry, with the same company for 9 years.

Still, I felt hurt and my ego was bruised. It was hard to let go of my work that was so familiar, the colleagues that I had formed strong relationships with and a place that I have so many amazing memories of.

AFTER 9 YEARS, IT FELT LIKE A SAD BREAKUP!

It was an emotional time accompanied by self-doubt and worry. How was I going to find a similar role on a part-time basis? What about the financial situation of my family? What is going to happen to my reputation? What are people going to think about me? Does this take away from my successful career and potential?

To be honest up until now, I have not publicly shared the story of my redundancy. I was scared of judgement. I did not dare to admit it. I avoided mentioning it and instead said things like “it was time for a change.”.

THE REALITY IS, THAT I NEEDED TIME TO PROCESS AND HEAL AND ACCEPT THAT THIS MOMENT IS PART OF MY STORY BUT DOES NOT DEFINE ME.

So, there I was, unemployed for the first time in my life. While I was looking for a new role (finding a part-time position in a leadership capacity felt impossible – but that’s another story for a different day), I allowed myself to explore my passion for leadership development and inspiring individuals to grow to their full leadership potential. I decided to use the time of unemployment to finally sign up for certifications in Emotional Intelligence and NLP Coaching – something I had dreamt of for years but never had the time to do.

I WAS ON A ROLLERCOASTER – A MIXTURE OF FEELING EXCITED ABOUT THE POSSIBILITIES AND WORRIED ABOUT WHAT WILL BE AND WHERE I’LL END UP.

I started to think: “Maybe I can turn my passion for leadership development into a side hustle. Maybe I can build something up on the side while working part-time in another role”. I slowly started to look at how to start a business, a website, an offer strategy…and without me even realising, I began to set up my business.

Yet, what I kept telling myself was that “This is just a thing on the side, while I’m looking for a job”, “This could never be a full-time thing”, “I can’t do that”, etc.

I had a lot of limiting beliefs and I definitely did not feel ready to let go of my corporate leadership career that I had worked so so hard for. I told myself that the smart thing to do was to continue on that path, stay in my comfort zone, stay safe. After all, a senior level management role was how I had defined my own success up until to that point.

A few weeks in (with a little help of a wise friend), I finally had the courage to admit to myself, that THIS was what I actually wanted. I wanted to work as Leadership Coach and Facilitator, I wanted to do it my way, and I wanted to follow my heart and my passion.

THERE IT WAS. I SAID IT OUT LOUD FOR THE FIRST TIME: “I DO NOT WANT TO FIND ANOTHER JOB; I WANT TO START MY OWN BUSINESS

And here I am, six months in leading my own business. There are ups and downs, it is hard work, but it is work that absolutely fulfils me.

I get challenged in so many new ways. When you start your own business you suddenly have to learn things, you never thought about before. Business management, bookkeeping, website design, graphic design, invoicing, marketing and sales, product design, client management, videography/ photography …the list goes on.

In the first six months, I already got to work with amazing individuals and teams; I met so many new friends and colleagues on this entrepreneurial journey. The support and encouragement I have received have been mind-blowing.

If you had asked me just eight months ago, if I would ever start my own business, the answer would have been a definite “No way!”. But that’s the beauty in life – it never follows a strict plan.

What I have realised over the past six months is that this is where I am meant to be, maybe for a few years, perhaps for a long time…who knows. Yes, I sometimes miss the corporate world and being part of a team, but I get to work with wonderful teams in my work and help emerging leaders find their unique leadership identity. I found purpose in my work and I get to make a difference and help individuals conquer their leadership challenges.

The beauty is, I get to create my own incredible portfolio career, and there is no limitation on what I can do or what I can create.

WRITING MY STORY DOWN IN THIS PUBLIC FORM FOR THE FIRST TIME, FEELS OVERWHELMING AND EXTREMELY VULNERABLE. BUT IT IS TIME TO FULLY OWN THIS STORY – MY STORY.

It also makes me realise that a lot is possible in life if we allow for it to happen. If we give ourselves permission to follow our instincts, put our mind to it, use our strengths most effectively, and if we look for the sometimes hidden opportunities in difficult times.

Challenging things happen in life; we don’t always have control over it.

BUT SOMETIMES, CHALLENGES, LIKE A REDUNDANCY, CAN BE THE LOVING KICK IN THE BUM YOU NEED TO JUMP, TAKE THE LEAP, LISTEN TO YOUR PASSION, GROW AND BECOME A BETTER VERSION OF YOURSELF.

I invite you to listen to your inner voice. What is it you want to change, to learn, to try? Bring up the courage to say it out loud. Try to forget what people might think. Suspend judgement about yourself and the worry about judgement from others. It is scary, but worth it!

I am so grateful for my husband, who is my rock and my biggest supporter in all of this. I’m thankful for my family, my friends, my incredible new mom friends, my new entrepreneur friends, my old colleagues who sent me messages of encouragement and my new clients who believe in me and the work I do. THANK YOU!

FINAL THOUGHTS

2019 – You challenged me in so many ways but you also allowed me to grow beyond what I thought was possible. Thank you! I am proud of how I managed the emotional rollercoaster and how far I’ve come. Motherhood redundancy and entrepreneurship – wow!

2020 – I can’t wait to meet you. Let’s do this!