Going independent has been the hardest decision of my life. It was not as difficult to switch my career from legal to branding and communications. It was also not as difficult to give up a plump offer in another city.
But the ‘act’ of becoming independent is what I’m talking about. Whether it’s speaker, writer, dancer, consultant etc. is insignificant.
I knew that I greatly welcomed entrepreneurs, hired talented professionals with entrepreneurial mindset in my team at the last creative agency I led, and consumed enough material to understand what it takes to become an independent professional. Yet, when my own inner voice told me that I needed to give myself a fair chance as an independent writer and speaker, I would go into a tizzy!
I discovered how uncomfortable, and at times even fearful I was, of leaving a system of certainty. A system that guarantees to a large degree how my time, money, identity, and engagement are structured for more than 12 hours a day. A system that confirms to my own perception of a professional career. A system that is wired in my mind as a protective layer and a ‘normalcy’ of life.
Hence, even though I have always followed my inner calling, always gone with my flow, yet, this time, the ‘what and why’ of going independent seemed to require herculean self-confidence and self-belief. I was consumed with questions, doubts, and thoughts on how strong I was, what did I wish to achieve, what did I really lack, would the temporary financial hit damage my self-worth, was I being over ambitious, was I thankless for what I already have, and worst of all, did I deserve it, were I ready?
And it was this very herculean discomfort that drove me to take the plunge! And so after months of uncluttering and unwinding my own mental cobwebs, I did.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m in no way propagating that there’s glory in going independent. Being salaried is as glorious. Either can be fantastic and either can be disasters. The point is to be aware, and then choose what your definition of glory is, and what your definition of disaster is. What it is today. What it is ‘now,’ in the current moment of your life. Not what was and not what will be, because we evolve with time and experiences. And that’s a good thing!
In these last few months of self-introspection, I have also understood that the resistance is in your head alone. What anyone else thinks or says will affect you only when your inner conviction is weak. In any case, what anyone else believes is pretty much a reflection of their life, their baggage, their perceptions, and their experiences. Not yours. Successful or unsuccessful, happy or unhappy. Decide what these loaded words mean to you, and not what they mean to the world.
As for me, my professional life as an independent writer and speaker may turn out to be a path for life. It may very well turn out to be a path only for a year or two before I take up a position with another organization.
I’m not bothered about the end. I’m not apprehensive what will happen if I don’t achieve my entrepreneurial goals and timelines for this year and next. Because, in my eyes, I’m a winner already!
I have conquered my fear of functioning outside a stable system. I have defeated my inner demons that made me my own imposter. I’m extremely grateful to share my journey with a lovable family, rock solid friends and mentors, and inspirational leaders such as Women’s Web itself.
Today, I have broken my mental barrier of what I can possibly be.
This article was published at Women’s Web.