This is Part 3 of a 3-Part Story. Three separate events, hundreds of lessons learned, which led to a transformation. Read Part 1 | Read Part 2
I believe that everyone struggles with change, including people who say they love change. After all, I am one of those people. I thrive with new experiences and routines that make me nervous and uncomfortable. Yet, I still fear change. I don’t want to confuse the excitement of potential change with an act of quitting.
I've had some mental breakthroughs this year, which led to changes, big and small. This post is about a pretty big one: The decision to leave my 20-year career in the tech industry to pursue entrepreneurship in the health and fitness industry.
This decision was not a spontaneous one. It is the result of a plan that was put in motion five years ago. It has been deeply debated and meditated, and during the past five years my fear, doubt, and indecision morphed into answers. Coming to a crystal clear conclusion, and wondering how I got here, brought about something that I am now calling the Courage Creed, and it states this:
Move toward your authentic passion
Know yourself (“Atmanam Viddhi”)
Be purpose-driven instead of goal-driven
Know the difference between myth and fact
Have an action plan
Accept the unknown
Move toward your authentic passion. What do you love, unabashedly and authentically? When you partake in your authentic passion, you are filled with hope, motivation, inspiration, and empowerment. Whatever this passion is, take actions and engage with people who move you closer to it.
My tech job provided problem-solving challenges, which I enjoyed, but my desire to succeed was not fueled by passion - I just wanted to climb the ladder. Without authentic passion, this quest became depressing and demoralizing. But, my interest in nutrition, my excitement about racing, my studies of training data, and my connection with my athletes all invigorate me, and all of these things involve my passions for playing outside, healthy living, and fearlessly pushing boundaries.
Atmanam Viddhi (aka Know Yourself). I heard this Hindi phrase seven years ago and it has never left me. It means “Know Thyself.” I think this phrase is about understanding your superpowers and consciously harnessing them in your life. If you don’t know what you are good at, try out new hobbies, take on new projects, or ask a trusted friend. Everyone has a superpower!
In my tech job, as well as in coaching and in building personal relationships, I feel grounded in what I do by being an active listener, empathizing with many perspectives, problem-solving, and project managing. These are my personal superpowers, which I will rely heavily on as I transition my career to coaching and entrepreneurship.
Be purpose-driven instead of goal-driven. I love goals, but if the journey toward achieving them makes you miserable, then they are not serving a purpose. Both the journey and the end game should fill you with a sense of purpose.
I made a goal several years ago to leave my tech job “in five years.” I created a countdown timer and watched the numbers get smaller. At first, this tactic was motivating, but it eventually became discouraging because I started to believe that I can’t leave until the timer turns to zero or else I will be a failure. But, “five years” was an arbitrary number that did not represent a specific achievement, benefit, or purpose. The journey has to fulfill a purpose. Health and fitness serves a simple purpose for me - quite simply, I believe they make the world a better place.
Know the difference between myth and fact. If fear is holding you back from your passion, you are likely obsessing over myths instead of facts. Remove the emotion and get real. We are held back every day by things that are simply not true. It is crazy to know that sometimes, the only thing that holds us back is the space between our ears. Here are a couple of my personal myths and fact-checks:
MYTH #1: I won’t make enough money in health and fitness to support my life.
FACT: My definition of “enough money” was my tech job salary, however, my actual financial needs are less than what my tech salary provided.
MYTH #2: I don’t have enough credentials in health and fitness to be successful.
FACT: The credential that I believed I was lacking was a formal degree in a related field. While credentials will kickstart a learning curve, we decide our path of success by where we invest in consistent and deliberate practice over an extended period of time, which I have been doing with the art and science of coaching and healthy living every day during the last ten years.
Have a plan and take the first step. It is fine if the end game is fuzzy, but if you can visualize a short-term destination, take action. The perfect path will never be solidified, so don’t be paralyzed by its non-existence. Also, doing nothing can sometimes be scarier than making the change you fear.
I knew what life would be like if I didn’t quit my job. I would be unhappy and in search of fulfillment in my career, I would continue to grow more resentful, knowing that I was not stretching my potential. My hope is that I will have a thriving business in five years. I don’t know exactly what that looks like, but I do know that I have taken continuous (albeit, small) action toward that during every week of the last five years.
Accept the unknown. Finally, trust yourself, and take the leap of faith. There is a 100% chance of not succeeding if you don’t try. If you don’t think you can live with this, then HTFU and move forward with courage, confidence, and conviction.
I believe we are all on a journey to find our passion. We work hard or we wander aimlessly. We sacrifice. We encounter heartbreak, delight, depression, pure joy, and confusion. I see four potential journeys: (1) Some people never find their passion. (2) Some people’s passion stares them in the face every day, but they are too distracted to see it. (3) Some people find their passion, but ignore it because they are fearful or they do not feel worthy, and (4) Some people find their passion and embrace it. Since I’ve been down the first three paths, I’m going to venture down the fourth and can’t wait to see what awaits me!
THANK YOU for reading this blog series. My hope is that you feel inspired in your own life. You are a part of my journey and I am honored to have you with me.