How to Build a Bridge

Photo by  Jake Melara  on  Unsplash

Photo by Jake Melara on Unsplash

Something's happening that I've never experienced before. Since I've committed to my daily writing and publishing practice (only a few short days ago), it's not writer's block that I'm experiencing when I wake up at 4:30 am and sit down at my computer. Instead it's a real excitement: "Wait, I should write about this today. No, I want everyone to know about that one. Oh, but what if I finish and share this over here?"

I have to keep reminding myself to relax. If I want to, I can continue to write and publish every day, every day that I have something to say. And even on the ones where I think I don't. In my journaling practice, those turn out to be the most interesting days. The ones where I sit down, pen in hand, blank page in front of me and start with this line: "I have no idea what to write about today." Then, I launch into the things I'm grateful for in that moment. The initial list usually includes: cup of coffee, warm house, favorite pen, two amazing boys still asleep in their beds. Then, something happens that I don't understand, and before I know it I'm three pages into the morning sorting through some major life questions.

Don't worry, I'm not planning to sort through any major life questions with you this morning on this post. But, we can if you want to...

Here's one I've been thinking about lately. Do you love your job? Are you excited about the people that you work with day in and day out? How many meetings this week have you attended that were not the best use of your time (or anyone else's)? I hope that you are more patient that I was, back then.

Back in 2010, on a random day in April, I quit my job. Straight up I-don't-want-to-work-here-anymore quit. It was hands down the most irresponsible and impulsive move I've ever made. Why? Because I didn't have a plan backup plan. At the time, I was working in Raleigh for a small company. Even though I'd only been there six months, I'd stayed way too long in a situation that didn't match my lifestyle. I was on the road to the west coast almost weekly with two small kids. As a single parent, I had called in too many favors from family and friends to pick up this son from school and take this one to baseball practice.

And I was missing out on the things about my life that mattered most to me. 

Flash forward to a few years later. I had secured several great contracting opportunities through my existing network to do instructional design work. I was also coaching a handful of clients through their life or work transitions. Life was good and felt balanced for the first time in a while. And one day I got a call from a recruiter about a full-time opportunity at one of the best places to work in my area. It was a great opportunity in leadership development that I'd be crazy not to explore. And so I began the interview process and advanced through it smoothly. I accepted the position, showed up on my first day, worked my first week - with a pit in the bottom of my stomach the entire time.

The next Monday morning, I did one of the most responsible things I've done in my entire life. I turned in my resignation after just one week on the job.

It wasn't going to work out. I had become "unofficable." I loved working for myself and setting my own schedule. I loved waking up before anyone else in the world (or so it seemed) and getting all my projects done so I could be creative the rest of the day. I loved popping into my kids' school at lunch time and shopping for shoes at 2 pm. I'm not just being dramatic when I say that being in that office waiting until the mass exodus happened at 5 pm felt like prison.

That Monday morning was the day I TRULY committed to myself and my business. I decided that other people's ideas of stability and job security didn't light me up. Having many clients and multiple revenue streams turns me on. Knowing that every day will present a new and different challenge gets me right out of bed in the morning.

Reading this you may wonder if I move from client to client in my work, but the reality is that my current mix of revenue streams includes part-time employment with two different organizations that I love working for. I've been consulting with the Organizational Effectiveness department of a Fortune 25 company for over five years. My coaching clients come to me by referral and some have been with me for more than four years. 

I want to do my work my way. And more than anything else, I want the freedom to align how I make money with who I am. I had to build a bridge to get here, it didn't happen overnight. And it took some scrappiness and grit, a willingness to make some unpopular decisions, but here I am.

The other day my sister texted me: "Jeannie, I love your new website and your brand. And the posts you're writing." I responded back to her, "Thanks, Amy! I'm really having a lot of fun with my business right now."

It wasn't until after I hit send that I really acknowledged the significance of my response. I took a deep breath, sat back in my chair and thought, "Okay. Let's keep doing that!"

Public Service Announcement: You don't have to be a dramatic quitter like me. Learn from my experiences. If you feel like the work you're doing right now isn't a great match to who you are and how you want to experience life, start building your bridge.

Here are three ways to get started (no dramatic quitting required):

  • Find the intersection of your talent + purpose and launch a service-based revenue stream while you're still working your full-time job.  
  • Create a subscription service or information product that is a great match to the impact you'd like to have on the world.
  • Design and launch your signature learning program to share your wisdom, create transformation, and generate revenue (also while still working your full-time job or running your business).

Here are some past posts and free resource to inspire and activate you right away:

When I launched my consulting and coaching practice back in April 2010, 2% of my revenue came from coaching, the rest from contracting as an instructional designer. I set a goal to double my coaching revenue every year, no matter what it took. Within three years, I could have made all my revenue from coaching, but I decided I loved my corporate collaborations too much to leave them behind. My point is this: if you never start building your bridge, you'll never get to the other side. 

When I ask myself: How did I get here? The answer is simple: one step at a time.

Are you ready to take one step? Email me and we'll hop on the phone for 20 minutes to identify your next step. Not tomorrow, today :)

Hey! One last thing... Are you interested in a revenue retreat? It's like a writing retreat, but instead of writing your short story, best-selling novel, or award winning poetry - you'll create a way to make some money and change some lives. Does that sound even a little fun to you? If so, I'd love to get your ideas about it! I'm thinking of hosting one next year and your feedback would be so helpful :) Click here to answer a few short questions.