In 2019 I decided to quit my really stable job with the government and start my own business. It was scary but 100% worth it. Are you in need of a change?
As I sat on a British Airways flight down to London this morning, I read the Business Life magazine and within it there was an article that inspired me to write about the dilemma I faced last year. The article is “Five principles to apply when problems arise” by Ken Blanchard so if you are on a flight before the end of January you can read it. One of the quotes read:
“Working on challenges stretch you, the toughest dilemmas often provide the biggest opportunity for growth.”
Over the past 12 months, my professional life has been a whirlwind. It’s been one of the most challenging and scary years I’ve ever experienced. As I reflect, I realise how much I’ve grown compared to the Chelsea Jarvie that started January 2019.
I was working in a really stable job
This time last year I was leading three security teams all working to deliver the Scottish benefits system securely. It was a challenging role where I learnt a lot professionally but also about myself, things I liked, things I didn’t and how I worked best. I had been brought in to build a cyber security function from scratch which was an amazing opportunity. The timescales were tight so it was high pressure but I loved it.
I gave it my all, but as with all roles you can feel beaten down and start considering, what’s next? Exactly a year ago, I lost my Nana and my cat a few weeks previously and my raw sadness left me feeling completely broken. But I had no time to process just how awful I felt, benefits were due to be delivered, and teams needed led.
The loss of a loved one bursts the bubble you unintentionally find yourself in when things are going smoothly.
It bursts, your falling and you start questioning how you found yourself in that bubble in the first place. Was I even happy living in my bubble? It makes you reflect on your purpose. It was at this point I felt the niggle. I’d been furiously climbing the career ladder and hit most of my goals 7 years earlier than I’d anticipated. I thought I wanted to continue down this ferocious career path but doubt crept in. Am I valued? Am I making a difference? Is this still what I want? I wanted flexibility, variety, work life balance, freedom. Typical millennial some of you may think. But I wanted it, and why not? The 9-5 office life is dead so why was I bound to a desk 9-5 Monday to Friday?
What if I fail?
It took a few months of back and forth, should I leave this brilliant and secure job? What if I can’t pay my bills? What if I don’t get work? What if no one wants to take me on? What if I fail? I went through every “what if” imaginable and after a terrible work week, I flew off on my holiday feeling frustrated, fed up and in need of a change. I spent the first few days of my holiday reading Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming, and a couple of chapters in, my decision was made. I was taking the leap. I was going to hand in my notice the minute I got back, set up a company and try to build a business.
Michelle Obama had ditched her high flying career as a Lawyer and went through the same tough dilemma I was. She worried about bring able to get another job and pay her bills, but she went for it and so was I. After my decision was made, I mailed a few close contacts to tell them my plans and before I got home I had a contract in the bag!
The leap of faith paid off
I’ve had multiple amazing contracts now and I’m building up the brand of my company, Neon Circle. I’ve had an incredible first year of business and had exciting opportunities come along that I had never considered before. However, with 60% of new businesses failing within the first 3 years (The Telegraph) the odds are still against me, but I don’t care, I’m happy just now. I had my career planned out, but the plan has been well and truly scrapped. I’m going with the flow, saying yes to the opportunities that come along and loving the challenge.
If you feel like you need a change I challenge you to take the leap. Go for that promotion, start that business, sign up to that course, whatever it is you’ve been mulling over. And if you are thinking; “that’s all well and good but it’s not that easy” then you would be correct, it’s not easy, it takes courage and faith and it’s terrifying.
But remember fortune favours the brave and if you want it, you’ll make it work and you’ll have it. Focus your mind on getting what you want. We spend so much time at work make sure love it.
I wish you all the very best in your leap of faith!
If you want to follow me and my new business venture then check out my company website and company page on LinkedIn. You’ll find security news and updates on how I’m getting on building a business!
Want to learn more about how I got started in cyber security? Check out this post. 🙂
I’ll also be sharing my personal journey on my own social media, so follow me if your interested in hearing more!