So, I’ve decided to take a sabbatical. I know, I know… one might say, “but you’re not a teacher” or “but you don’t work for Google”. Who on Earth takes a sabbatical from real life??? Well, this girl.
: a period of time during which someone does not work at his or her regular job and is able to rest, travel, do research, etc.
Something unexpected and unearthing happened to me this week. I’ve been striving for a plan on and off for the past three years to accomplish a goal and when I was ready to put pen to paper, I hesitated. The well trained business loan officer was prodding me about my business venture and I had an epiphany in his office; I realized that this business venture might possibly be something I don’t really want to do. And now, my world is turned upside down. I don’t actually know what to do next. Which for me, is rare. I feel like this is the first actual crossroads that I have faced in my adult life that could dramatically affect the trajectory on which my life is headed. If I go down one path over the other, I can foresee regret. Which is a big no-no for me.
Starting a business has been my driving force for the past year and a half. I moved out to Williston with a certain business idea in my back pocket but was never more sure about being my own boss until I had experienced the “corporate machine” with the first company I worked for in North Dakota. So I quit and decided to try and figure out a way to work for myself. But what inevitably follows with any decision I make is second guessing. Did I do the right thing? Can I really do it? What am I doing with my life? Maybe I should go back and “get a real job”. Which after negative self-talking myself into a frenzy, I decided to do.
It was almost at this point last year that the final nail was sealed in my corporate coffin when I went to work for another oil and gas company as an office manager. Within two weeks I had started experiencing some of the same human resource issues as before! Not on quite the same scale, but it was appalling to me how little a corporation cares about it’s people. I started to hear statements like, “well the employee doesn’t need to know that” and “make sure you pick up the phone, emails can be subpoenaed”. It was at this point, that I firmly resolved to never work for any other person other than myself, ever again.
But what could that look like? That is when I started on the path to starting a specific business venture I had researched before moving to the west. For the past year I have taken action steps to accomplish some pretty amazing feats;
First I had to put a rude awakening in my personal life as the relationship I was in, I decided, wasn’t working for me. We reconciled shortly after this, but this was the first time I was able to set boundaries in my life. By taking a step back and hitting the “re-set” button, I was able to let him know what I can and cannot live with and I was able to figure out that I needed to depend less on his ability to make me happy and rely more on my own ability to reach self-love and happiness. It was hard, but we’re able to thrive as a couple today. Not that there still aren’t challenges but this was my first real lesson in boundaries. Which was a hard pill to swallow.
Then I decided I needed to finish my Master’s degree before tackling a new business so I spent four long months on my capstone project, which was a huge emotional undertaking and a major stress in my life. But you know what? I did it. And I graduated this summer with my MSA.
Finally, I was told “no” by several people in regards to financially helping me with my business plan, including my banker. He told me, come up with $10,000 in collateral and then maybe we’ll talk. I had $3,000. So then I was looking for ways for someone else to help me come up with the money. I was going to sell the second car that I was holding onto as an investment worth about $2,000 and I was going to go into a partnership with someone for the remaining $5,000.
But on a plane ride home from Michigan in July something amazing happened, as it always does when you open up to strangers around you out in the world, I met a man my age and we had an in-depth, life-changing conversation in the hour long flight from Grand Rapids to Minneapolis. He suggested that I save the money myself. That I would be surprised how fast it added up if I budgeted and buckled down and stuck to it. He finally hit it home with the fact that it would be so much more rewarding if it was something I earned myself and I would be the only person attached to the business. Bless this man, he was right.
So for the two months after that I saved every single extra penny I had. I picked up an extra shift at my second job, added a third job and picked up shifts at the restaurant I used to work at, sold stuff I wasn’t using online and threw that money in there too. Within two short months I saved the $7,000 I needed. That’s without selling the car. I didn’t really realize it until now, but who my age has that kind of money in their savings account? Who has the earning potential to make that much money in such a short time? Not a lot of people, regardless at age.
I’m not really saying these things to toot my own horn or to rub it in anyone’s face. But I went to a woman’s seminar today and one of the things I took away from it was, take time to celebrate your accomplishments. And I NEVER do that. I downplay it, blow right by it, check off of my to-do list, and start planning to take down my next goal. Well guess what? I no longer have a “next goal”. I’m stuck at a crossroads.
So I have decided to take a sabbatical. From my life. I am going to take the next three months and I’m going to work on things in my life that I’ve been wanting to do. I have resigned from bar tending. This job was great money working two nights a week but believe it or not, it was a major stresser in my life and those 16 hours sucked a lot of life from my week. I’m going to finish my copywriting course, a grant writing course, I’m going to research marketing and advertising, and current trends in the industry, I’m going to volunteer, and I’ve even went as far as to enlist the help of a mentor/life coach.
She is proposing a 90 day program to coincide with the new year. This is going to be the framework for my sabbatical. I’m challenging myself these next three months to take a step back, to stop stressing so much about what should be, and just learn. Learn about myself, learn more about the business idea I’m struggling to accept, learn about other ideas that might make me happy. But I don’t want to just give up on this idea, or resign to taking another 9-5 job just because I’m not sure what to do with my life.
I’m going to take this opportunity to learn about me. I’m going to learn about putting myself first, also something I rarely do. I want to find out what my passions are, what truly drives me, and I’m going to try to find a way to make a living at it. I’m in a very blessed position in that I’ve found employment that pays the bills only working 4 nights a week. I will never have all this essentially funded free time in my life again. I’m going to take advantage of it. I want to figure out the answer to this question…
Image from GASAN Facebook page
I’m going to try to post updates and journals about how it’s going in my 90 day life planning program. Hopefully they will not bore you but even more I hope to share some tools you might be able to use in your own life about decision making, the life-work balance, business and personal development, and maybe even leadership too. As always, your words of encouragement and accountability are appreciated. Life is short, we need to seize the day while we can and it’s much easier with you guys by my side.