Without risk, there is no reward. So cliché, so true.
It has been a while since I wrote anything – The contemplation of life, love, lessons and everything in between has forced a digital silence that even I cannot break. A writer’s block I could not shake. A finger break even the most experienced of writers deserve.
A few months ago I made a decision. A decision to give up a career, a future, a reputation that I have spent years working towards… only to regress, get back to the start, go back to basics. A risk I chose to take in order to reap future rewards that I could not yet predict.
The truth is, I am good at what I do. I was good at what I did. I loved my job, the job at the crux of it anyway. I loved being a team leader and leading a team of people with the same goals, dreams and ideals that I had for myself. I loved being part of something bigger and above all, I loved being recognised for what I was doing. It was good to hear people tell me and others just how good I was at what I did and get globally awarded for what I did. My peers, my managers, my leaders… they all recognised my achievements and saw in me potential that at times I did not even see for myself.
I wouldn’t say that I got caught up in the hype, in fact most of the time my reputation was not on my mind – I worked hard, I wanted to achieve the goals that we had set out for ourselves, for our business and was doing anything I could to ensure we got to where we needed to be. Sadly, in the process I went through quite a traumatic personal experience which changed my view on things. I worked long, strange hours in a shift scenario which included working on weekends and a lot of time away from the people I needed most, my family. I gave everything of myself and my time to help someone else achieve their goals and at the end of the day, it was to my own detriment… I believe I suffered an undiagnosed nervous breakdown and after much consideration, I decided the only person who could change my situation was me. I needed to get out of the toxic environment that was holding me down with its negativity and collapse that threatened my sanity.
It definitely was not easy. A lot of back and forward went on within me… Do I stay, do I go? Those who know me will know that I am loyal, to the end. I did not want to resign but was going to do so without additional work for the sheer purpose of regenerating the batteries. I needed a break. I needed a change and I needed to put myself first for the first time in a long time. And so, I did it. I resigned. I gave up everything I had worked for, I gave up my what I thought was my future and I gave up my position on the corporate ladder because I knew in my heart it was what was right.
A few days later I was lucky enough to find another position at my present company, it was scary knowing the risk involved and moving to a commission based salary but I am more than happy that I did.
The last month of work was the toughest, the days grew closer to me leaving and I felt like a traitor. Like I had given up everything and was making the biggest mistake of my life but I knew when I walked out that door on the last day, I had made the right choice. I had done the right thing. I was on the right path.
When I started at the new company, I did not know what to expect but I did know that it would not be easy. I felt like a junior again, like I needed to be re taught despite my skills and the knowledge I have acquired in the same position over the years. I was no longer a leader and had to learn to humbly step down from the task I had become accustomed to. I became the new dog in a land of old tricks and the very idea was daunting. I felt useless. I was a nobody. I was no longer the great team leader / consultant that had won all the awards she did and in fact, I was also broke having taken quite a salary cut based on the commission structure.
The truth is, this risk was not just a risk financially. It was a wake-up call, a reality check and a reminder why I do what I do and why I love what I do. Back to basics, back to quality versus quantity and back to a value system that I longed for in my career. You see, where I was had become like a battery chicken farm… hundreds of unwilling chickens despite their calibre all being kept in the smallest of cages all expected to perform and be the very best chicken dinner. Where I am now? It is a free range chicken farm, a heathy environment with a definite goal and vision in place. The change had not only forced me to see the value in myself and what I have to offer but also in what the future has to offer for me.
I am still a nobody… 3 months is not enough time to prove oneself. It is not enough time to show people what I can do and will do for them and also what I will do for myself. It has not been long enough for me to start reaping the financial rewards and yet the light is now at the end of the tunnel and I am on the up and up. I am motivated and I will show what I am made of, but more importantly I remember that I got into this industry because I want to assist people. Contrary to popular belief, I manage relationships and develop these with my clients – This has made me successful, not my ability to use systems or google.
And the rewards? I have time with my family. My husband, my children – They saw me through the worst and now I am able to give them something back… a far less stressed me! Yes, my husband still cooks every night but at least I am home in time to have dinner with him, it is the little things that matter. Yes, there is still worry and stress, mainly the financial kind, but who doesn’t live with that anyway? You see, I may have been doing well before but I was not happy. Now? I am happy and the potential to do well is there, I am working towards it every minute of every day at the office and I am happy to do so!