“Twenty years from now you’ll be more disappointed
by what you did not do than what you did do.”
— Mark Twain
There’s this thing I call the timeline of life. You might know it. The part of the timeline dedicated to our career goes something like this: grow up, graduate high school, go to college, earn a degree (that will get you a good job), get said good job (aka get a good corporate job that pays you good money), move to wherever the good corporate job is (aka the big city), work the job (whether it makes you happy or not), climb the ladder, become successful, retire.
The timeline seems to work for some, but it’s likely that you or someone you know has traveled this timeline only to find it empty and lackluster. These are the people who do all the right things yet somehow things still don’t feel right. Even then, some people work for years to make the timeline fit instead of simply jumping off and moving on. This is my story.
I could give you a laundry list of really good reasons why I stayed in my corporate job for so long — and it’s actually a pretty amazing story, but what’s really important to share with you is how I finally knew it was time to leave.
For me, my decision to leave my 9-5 was based less on one moment and more on a series of events and yearnings that got me closer and closer until I just knew the time was right. I won’t go into the whole long story, but here’s a quick run-down of milestones that prepared me to take the leap: Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Don, Mark Twain, a trip to Colorado, a story of regret and encouragement, lots of really good people, personal curiosity, a three-year Rocky Mountain high, more really great people, a lot of faith in a great God, and family and friends who love and believe in me. Oh, and lots and lots of making choices, taking chances and believing in myself along the way too.
Then, there was that one final moment when I knew without a doubt… THE TIME IS NOW.
Leaving lunch one day, a friend and I had this conversation:
Friend: I pray to God every time layoffs happen that He will make it crystal clear if this is the right time for me to leave.
Me (chuckling matter-of-factly and turning back to my friend): If I prayed that prayer to God right now, He’d come down personally, laugh in my face and say, “Shannon, I don’t know how I can make it any more clear.”
That was the one crystal clear moment that brought all the other moments together, when I knew I had my answer. It was then that I realized I was more afraid to stay than I was to leave. I had more to lose by staying and everything to gain by leaving. I didn’t want to regret what I hadn’t done. It was time for me to go.
The next day I raised my hand for a severance package from the company I’ve been with for over 20 years, and by mid-2009, the big idea for Girls Get Real began to unfold.
Here are a few things I’ve learned as a result of leaving the 9-5 world and starting my own business:
- A hobby is not a business; businesses make money.
- Passion alone does not create a business.
- The first thing you need to turn your hobby or passion into a business is a purpose statement.
- Expect going out on your own to be anything but what you expected it to be.
- Don’t wait until you’re ready. You’ll never really be ready.
- If you don’t know what to do, just do something. Action begets action.
- Being an entrepreneur will stretch you beyond your wildest imagination — be prepared to feel some level of discomfort and/or fear at every turn. And then be prepared to turn anyway.
- It is impossible for a business and perfection to co-exist. One has to die for the other to live.
- Don’t waste time trying to figure it all out. Just leap. You will walk away either with success or with knowledge about what not to do next time.
Has it been scary? Hell yes. Is my business going to succeed? The odds-makers say no. But I’m still hopeful. Have I ever regretted my decision? NOT FOR A MINUTE. Do I wish I’d had someone push me off the ledge sooner? So much!
I have no idea what is in store for Girls Get Real or for me as an entrepreneur. What I do know is everyday I get more courageous, more clear and more passionate about creating great success through the mission of Girls Get Real.
So this is me saying to you, “If you really want it, JUMP!” Take a chance. If you don’t, odds are you’ll never been completely satisfied until you do.
About Shannon Short: Shannon is a coach, consultant, speaker and self-proclaimed promoter and protector of fun and freedom. As the Trailblazing Real Girl at Girls Get Real, Shannon connects with college-age women to help them see all of the possibilities life has to offer and to create lives of fun, freedom and fulfillment — in college and beyond. She leads interactive group programs and offers private coaching to individual clients on living more consciously and intentionally to create a life that is everything they ever imagined, only hotter, hipper and happier. Shannon is currently collaborating with a major university in the Southeast to create a unique, first-of-its-kind program for first year students that will be introduced this Fall.
Girls Get Real http://www.girlsgetreal.com
Mark Twain http://www.girlsgetreal.com/mind-body-soul/mark-twain-a-wise-friend-no-regrets/
Rocky Mountain high http://www.girlsgetreal.com/mind-body-soul/get-high-to-find-your-true-purpose/
Mission of Girls Get Real http://www.girlsgetreal.com/about-ggr/