June marks the two-year anniversary of going “all in” for me. While Professional Courage, LLC has been in existence for almost 10 years, most of that time it sat in a box on the shelf. In a safe box that I foolishly believed protected me from dreaded failure and disappointment.

In 2015, I decided to pull the box down, dust it off, and unleash its contents. I quit my corporate job and the stability that went with it. Suddenly, I found myself sitting at the kitchen table wondering how in the world I would survive one day – let alone years – as an entrepreneur.

 

I am happy to report that I not only survived, but found a way to thrive. I pushed myself to new limits and accomplished more than I thought possible over the last 24 months, reaching stretch goals I once classified as flippant dreams.

What is perhaps most interesting was what I learned along the way: The very same core principles I had been teaching my clients on how to approach career management became the key to my success in business.

CLARITY

I conduct 4-5 resume consultations each week. Every session, I begin by asking the same question: What is your target? Whether navigating a career path or your way to the grocery store, one must have an end point in mind in order to make it down the road.

Professionals (and business owners) must be have a clear understanding of their value proposition and, more importantly, be able to articulate that value to a target audience.  This clarity in messaging begins to attract brand ambassadors and set the stage for future connections.

CONSISTENCY

Time and again, I hear the frustration in a client’s voice: dissatisfaction with their job, overwhelmed by a lack of work/life balance, patience wearing thin as they wait for that fated call from a recruiter. In this digital age, our minds have been trained to instant gratification. I, for one, want results yesterday.

Yet, the tortoise teaches us that slow and steady wins the race. You must be willing to go the extra mile, embrace the learning hiding behind failure, and never, ever stop pursuing your goals.

I have served over 200 professionals, reaching nearly 3,000 followers, since June 2015. Impressive numbers given my decision to start a business in an industry I had never worked in before. However, allow me to let you in on a little secret: In my first six months in business, 87% of my proposals FAILED. That’s right. I have heard the word “no” far greater than “yes” along this journey. My triumph is in counting the number of times I made the ask.

COURAGE

Best-selling author, Tim Ferris, recently gave a TED talk on why you should define your fears instead of your goals. “Fear setting”, as Ferris terms it, allows you to separate what you can control and what you cannot.

I work with a fair number of aspiring entrepreneurs. Nine times out of ten, I am asked how I did it – “How did you take the leap and decide to quit your job?” The answer, although filled with a roller coaster of emotions, is actually quite simple: The fear of staying the same became greater than the fear of change.

Your career path, like life, is full of unknowns. Workers are unable to predict if corporate objectives will be met, performance raises will be given, jobs are secure. Business owners cannot guarentee a sales pipeline. The known is in the choices we make. We are able to control our decisions, our reaction to an unsure future, our response to the fear.

I decided to live courageously, and it has made all the difference.