1997. That was the year I began my career as a Registered Dietitian. Not sure how nearly two decades have passed but I sure have learned a lot about myself and this world in those years. I was the typical excited college grad just looking for a job. I was willing to go wherever I found that first job. I ended up in Lafayette. I had only been there traveling through on the way to Chicago. I quickly found an apartment and was excited to start. $11.63/hour. I didn’t realize at the time how challenging that would be to live on, especially without any courses on budgeting. I was 23 and thought I knew everything.
The funny thing is it didn’t take long before I realized this 8-5 thing just wasn’t “my thing”. I was salaried but you were expected to stay the whole day regardless of the patient load. I like to stay busy. On days when the load was light, I would have preferred to leave early. I worked in an office in the basement. I saw the sunshine when visiting with patients, but much of the time was in the dungeon. I daydreamed about what type of job I could work outside. The problem with that dream is I’m not a big fan of extreme heat or cold. So I kept working. I only intended to stay 2 years, get some experience, then move to Indy. Well I met some great friends and stayed 9 years. I recall a week about 3-4 years into my career where I felt like I was reliving the same day over and over, day after day. The same daily grind. The alarm would go off and I would think to myself, didn’t I just do this?
Fast forward 18 years. I finally discovered there is life outside of the “norm”. I knew all those years ago I was meant for something better. I honestly wondered all the time if other people felt the same as I did but never really had the courage to ask others. It seemed like maybe it was just me. They seemed ok with coming to work and doing the same job, day after day. Living by other people’s schedules, rules, and plans. Every time a new “rule” was put into place it just felt like the box was shrinking and I was trying to climb out.
I started listening to and reading The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster by Darren Hardy last week. He says that only about 10% of people are entrepreneurs, leaving the other 90% in the normal category. Well I knew I was probably in the minority, but I am glad to know there are others who understand the need to be different. I will say that the road to success is not easy for entrepreneurs, but like a friend told me, “once you’ve been your own boss you will never want to go back”. So much truth.
As I was listening to the audio in the car, Darren was talking about how we define success. Success in my eyes as a new college graduate would have been to be a Registered Dietitian who climbed the ladder and lived comfortably. I never found that position that held that potential and I quickly learned that just wasn’t my dream job. Now that I’m in my 40’s and married with children, what defines success for me is having a career that allows me to have flexibility. I define the time of day I work best. I attend any event that involves my children that I desire. I can help in their classroom. I am feeding my kids breakfast, picking out their clothes per their request, and I’m home when the bus pulls up. I’m helping with homework and projects. I’m tucking them in at night. I want my children to remember a mom whose priority was being there for them. What I realize now though is success is defined differently for each and every one of us. And we should respect that.
Is my job easy? Yes and no. I LOVE what I’m doing and it’s a true extension of my career, but in a far more wonderful way. Is it challenging to build a business to be successful? Absolutely. But what I believe is I was meant for this. This IS my dream job. I love helping others live better lives. I love fitness and nutrition. I love that I can help someone else who has those same feelings burning deep inside that there is a better way, a better life. Where their success can be defined however they wish.
This picture shows a much happier person than I ever felt in my 18 years in an office. This is my friend Becky Munger. She is also my success partner. We signed up as coaches the same week. We talk all the time and are so much alike it can be scary. I am so blessed and thankful we connected. As an entrepreneur, you need a great friend who can lift you up. It is definitely a roller coaster ride. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. When you are excited to get up super early on a Saturday to attend a meeting or make it to a workout to train with the best, you realize you have found your passion. I found my Why. I found something I love and my hope is each of you do too.