It was great to catch up with a former colleague over coffee today and laugh out loud about the old days. Days that hold fond memories, but days that are light-years away from where I am now. You see I’ve been through a transformation. It’s a relatively recent thing. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s happened during the last few weeks. And I’m not talking about a new hairdo.
If you’ve got a minute, I’ll explain, because it may help you if you’re facing a period of change.
The story of metamorphosis from corporate executive to business owner is not uncommon. It’s like buying a red car, once you’ve got one you see them everywhere. The minute I jacked it all in to start up my own business in 2010, far from being unique, I quickly realised I was one of an increasing army of women who had done the same. And I make no bones about it, we’re a force to be reckoned with.
So I did all the things you’re supposed to do: joined networking groups, got a website, had business cards printed, honed my elevator pitch for use at said networking groups, ditched the corporate suits for softer, more stylish clothes and really got my teeth into being a successful business woman. But something was missing. I now realise the road to becoming an entrepreneur is not all about networking and straplines. For the transformation to be complete there has to be an inward shift.
And that’s what’s happened. I’ve had the inward shift. I’m no longer saying to people: “I’m a life coach and writer but I used to be a corporate executive.” Now the introduction is, “I’m Mary Keeley. I’m a life coach and writer.” I’m no longer a former corporate die-hard playing at being in business, I’m a fully-fledged business woman with a big smile and a spring in her step.
I’m not entirely sure when this transformation happened, or exactly why. Was there a trigger? Did I pass some mysterious test set by unknown business gurus? Or is there simply a rite of passage that one has to go through to emerge on the other side complete with ‘business woman’ stripes?
All I do know is that I’ve prised my fingers away, one by one, from the corporate comfort blanket and I’m flying the entrepreneurial flag. And it feels great.
I’ve passed through a portal into a new world that feels as comfortable as the old corporate world once felt. I could giggle when I say to people, “I’m a life coach and writer,” because I’ve been liberated from that no-man’s land of transition and loss of identity.
Because that’s the crux of the inward shift. I’m no longer caught between two worlds, not fully knowing in which I belong – or indeed – in which I want to be. The transformation is complete. But it took a while and a good dose of self-belief to get here. I’ve a way to go before I get my first billion in the bank, but in the meantime, there’s a sense of rightness about my life that’s grown from the inside as well as the outside.
The moral of the story? When you lose your ‘badge’ it can be bewildering. There’s a grieving process to go through, even if you’re happy with the change. As all that’s familiar drops away and you tiptoe into uncharted waters it’s a time to be bold, be brave and ignore those pesky demons urging you to stay put or go back.
Despite their vociferous tones, pesky demons are generally total wimps and will always try to hold you back in case you hurt yourself. Of course if they’re shouting “don’t cross the road, there’s a juggernaut coming,” it’s best to listen, but if they’re saying, “don’t say you’re a business woman, people will laugh at you,” just ignore them and say it loud and clear!
If it’s time for you to bust out of your rut and start creating a life you love, why not have a 30-minute life coaching taster session with me, Mary Keeley? My gift to you to help you get cracking!
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org to book a slot or find out more at: marykeeley.com