What do you do when your career is at a crossroads? When the work you’ve done for so long, is no longer fulfilling?
This is my story and I cannot wait to share it with you in this post. I hope you will also find some common elements that you can apply to your own life and career.
I graduated with a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2002, and up until 5 years ago, had been practicing in that field.
My role was to help provide therapy for cardiac patients and their families. I was on the transplant team, my evaluation of families would play a role in whether or not they received a heart.
As you can imagine, the circumstances they found themselves in were very difficult and traumatic at times. While I loved working with children and families, the day-to-day of working in this environment began to take a toll.
That was really tough for our family. He had to go through chemo and of course the side effects that can incur on someone.
I had a few friends at the time that were food bloggers, and they encouraged me to start sharing photos of our home on social media platforms like Instagram. So, I began to have fun moving things around our home and sharing them on my Instagram account.
I learned quickly that if you added certain hashtags to your photos, those who were interested in home décor too would see them and like them and/or comment on the photo I shared. And, over time I found that there was an entire community that existed of home décor/lifestyle brand content creators.
Soon, I had small shops that would send me an item in exchange for me styling it in our home and sharing it on my page. Over time I started making connections with brands that wanted to trade products for me to share on my platforms.
But my career was as an LMFT. I had envisioned that I’d be doing this for the rest of my career life! But, I saw something over here that was had ignited a passion in me.
So we had to start asking ourselves the question, of how and could I make a living doing this! My family needed me to work and help support our family.
A few more weeks passed, and after several more conversations, prayer, and continuing to grow my marketing platform, I knew that I was supposed to step away from my counseling job and pursue full time this new career path of a marketing platform and lifestyle brand.
We knew this was risky according to most people haha! It wasn’t a lateral move, but one where we’d be taking a step back. But until I stopped working at children’s I was narrowing my bandwidth to grow, so it was the next step.
This wasn’t the first time my husband and I stepped out to take a risk. We did the same for him, 6 years earlier at that time.
I am here to say that some of the best of opportunities almost always require a level of risk.
Whether it’s a new job or a change of position.
My husband and I have done this now 3 times (we are currently in the next entrepreneur development stage for him). We’ve said If you are going to bet on something, bet on yourself.
One of the things I have loved about my career choice is that I get to spend a lot of time encouraging other women. Helping them grow their own businesses.
See some people fall into the Paradox of knowledge sharing trap: The idea is that you would keep your business practices secret. You never let people know how you succeed.
Obviously, there are propriety things you wouldn’t share, but you’d be surprised how sharing best practices with others grows goodwill and doesn’t affect your bottom line.
It’s been not only rewarding financially but relationally.
We have a great community as women where we share tips, contact information, and other things that we’ve learned lately. If I tell other women how I built my Pinterest to 10 million followers, I will still have my followers.
Cheering on people as they are going … as women, we need to be doing more of this.
Beware of the “Myth of the expert”-What do I mean by this? That you have to have a degree in the field you are looking to change into or be an expert at it from the beginning.
While I share faith-based and family resources within my brand, I had no formal training in marketing, journalism, or overall just business.
I had no idea best practices for marketing, how to Instagram, Pinterest, blog. I had a dream and wanted to build this brand. I could’ve let that hold me back, but I learned that it was a myth that in order for me to change paths, I could teach myself, and learn from others who were already doing it.
Specifically, I found people in my space and became students of them. I applied the big picture principles of what they were doing and still do that today. Maybe you think you don’t have the right degree or are too old, but I am here to tell you that in today’s society there is nothing that is holding you back from trying something new or different.
I met with a young woman yesterday who this is her story too-she said she is enrolled at YouTube University, haha, but she is learning all about establishing her brand from free wisdom and guidance on other content creators on YouTube.
It’s going to take you five times longer than you think it will, and it’s 5x harder than you think it is. We are sort of naturally impatient when arriving in our careers. We want it today. Most times it takes longer than you think.
It took a long time for me to feel like I was growing an audience that would be large enough and engaged enough for brands to want to partner with me. I had to keep going though.
You have to be willing to grind it out. When it’s time to go to work, you have to go to work.
As much as my schedule can vary day to day, there are still practices that I implement for consistency.
How do you apply these to you? It’s hard to want to pay your dues. To build the kind of reputation to get ahead.
This leads nicely though into boundaries and burnout…Set Boundaries to avoid burnout:
First off you have to rest. Resting is not equivalent to laziness or doing nothing. That means you may not binge watch 30 episodes of Netflix but instead just one of two episodes.
Annie Downs talks about Sabbath: If you work with your hands during the week, resting would involve brain work. On the other hand, if you work with your brain during the week, work with your hands on the weekend.
You won’t be able to work as hard as you should if you are not resting.
Working out of our home (both my husband and me), we have to set certain limits on our work or we could work around the clock. I typically take off when my son gets home, and they may work again later that night, but typically will make up for any time needed early the next morning.
We allow ourselves date nights frequently.
I attend a Bible study with a group of women regularly; Which energizes me because I love being with people.
We attend church every Sunday that we are in town.
I have to set boundaries with my phone b/c that is my work. So I try not to be on it if I am not doing something for work (which is already a lot of time).
Taking ownership of your career means you are taking care of yourself.
The benefits are it empowers you to be a better spouse, friend, co-worker. We want to Spend our lives well. We don’t want to waste these blessings, we want to make the most of it.
I encourage you to be intentional with every aspect of your life; your health, your work, your rest.
If you are interested in begging your journey as a blogger, check out these resources below. Make sure to tell them I referred you!
For creating a website, I highly recommend Gillian. You can learn more here, and contact her via email here: email@example.com.