Do you ever feel like you’re caught up in the rat race? That since you graduated from college you have moved from one corporate job to another with no fulfillment and no real experience gained toward an end, all while fighting to simply live your life? You know, the kind of job where you have to ask the boss if you can take a weekend off for your honeymoon, or your child’s second birthday. You “work, work, work, work” (to the tune of Rihanna) and feel so little passion to get up every day and come into the office, or get on a plane, or leave your family for hours on end … and for what?
I dare you to deviate for just a second with me. Let your mind wander out of the norm and into the possibilities of the unknown. Let me take you on a quick journey with a woman named Carla, who I had the pleasure of living with for a few short months. Let her story inspire you as it has inspired me. Perhaps you won’t need to run on that hamster wheel for much longer, and you can start feeling like your own person once you stop…
I met Carla when she moved into our perky, little townhouse in South Park in Charlotte, North Carolina. A true southern belle through and through, she showed up with perfect makeup, pearls in her ears, and the sweetest disposition. Carla had just moved from Nashville, Tennessee where she had worked for four years chasing the entertainment industry dream while bartending to make ends meet. Before that she had been a 6th grade english teacher, a bank teller, and had moved to Charlotte to work as a wine sales agent for a local distributor. From there, she has worked as a property management leasing agent and rounded out her corporate experience at a mortgage company. Truly, her professional experience was all over the place. It was obvious she had the passion for working, but not passion for the work she was doing.
How many of us have been in Carla’s shoes? How many of us have bounced from job to job, every year or two, not to fulfill our heart’s desire, but to simply fill our bank account? What effect does this have on our lives outside of work? She felt like “Goldilocks searching for the perfect porridge.” After reflection on her post-graduate employment, Carla was taken with a particular quote that initiated her thinking outside of the box. “We are taught to pursue jobs, not opportunities.” She began to ask herself some retrospective questions about her past employment, and decided that it was time to do something different. Time to seek opportunity. Time to leave the traditional working woman’s merry-go-round of employment for an adventure, one full of possibilities, and one that only she could shape through her efforts and passion.
It was obvious she had the passion for working, but not passion for the work she was doing.
Around this time in her life, an opportunity presented itself to Carla in the form of an entrepreneurial network marketing business with an emerging skin care line. Once she got over the initial, and very typical, assumptions and thoughts about a direct sales business, her mind seemed to be unleashed, and she dove right in, heart first. As cliché as it may sound, the possibilities seemed endless, and to Carla, they were. As if pellets from a shotgun shell, once that trigger was pulled, the seeds of growth scattered in infinite directions, from promotion techniques—through social media, newsletters, and blogs—to networking and campaigning, and she felt alive again, ripe with passion for her work. She even said to me that somehow it seemed different to work 80 hours a week for yourself when you find your passion, versus 40 hours a week for someone else with no passion.
Over the past several years Carla has watched her business take off and grow, a dream come true for any entrepreneur. But Carla, as a natural leader, has taken her passion to the next level. Now while I could literally feel her blushing through the phone as I kindly asked her to talk about her achievements, she simply and gracefully stated the facts. Carla started with her one-woman show and it began to grow, and she now has a team of about 150 consultants that she supports, motivates, encourages, and helps manage as they grow their own little businesses. Because of her growth and obvious leadership skills, she was recognized and asked to speak at a corporate convention with about 500 attendees. So many women responded to Carla’s message at this convention, that the company recently asked her to speak on a conference call with, get this, 40,000 listeners! I told her to pat herself on the back at this point, and couldn’t help but think about the woman I had met all those years ago, full of vigor, yet her passions stifled as she would get up to hustle wine to local businesses. If only they could see her now. I beamed with pride for my sweet friend.
Carla has been quite the motivator, using social media as a tool to share inspirational quotes or lessons she has learned in the business, not to mention the messages she gives at the speaking engagements she continues to be invited to. Many women began to share her messages, posts, and quotes online, so much so that Carla began to ask herself, “What if women could hold all of these inspirations in hand?” Last January, the idea of writing a book was presented to her and she knew it was the perfect way to tie the bow around her ideas behind “daring to deviate” and creating your own path. Each quick post she made that resonated with women enough that they shared it throughout the endless world of social media, then became a page in her short, but highly inspirational book Dare to Deviate. The goal is to equip women with a few acclamations and proclamations that will inspire them to take their own path. To remind them that they don’t need to be confined to the corporate world. That they can be their own boss, and take off two weeks for that honeymoon. That they can take that trip to Disney for their child’s second birthday. That their destiny truly can be of their own making.
So what can we take away from all of this?
1. Don’t limit yourself. Life doesn’t have to be about the nine-to-five corporate marathon, but it will take gusto and a lot of grit to break out on your own and to take that initial leap of faith.
2. You’ll have to give it all you’ve got. Carla certainly did not make light of her decision to leave the corporate world, and worked her tuckus off to get ahead in her business, like most entrepreneurs who are successful will tell you is a must.
3. Give credit where it is due. One thing that Carla kept mentioning to me is that not only did she work hard, but her husband was an irreplaceable support to her through this process, along with the women that she has met who continue to inspire her as she takes it to the next level.
4. Think outside of the box. Maybe direct sales is not how you plan to break away, but there are many opportunities out there that will allow you to be the designer and creator of your own life and career.
I challenge you to think like Carla, especially if you are fed up with not living your life the way you want to because you feel chained to a desk or lost within a big corporation. Maybe you want to read Carla’s book, available on Amazon, because every day, hundreds and thousands of women are “daring to deviate” and finding that they, too, can find success and live a life at the same time.
Lastly, remember how strong we are! We can do anything we set our minds to and if you want to find a better balance between work and play, sometimes you have to search a little bit to find the answer, which takes strength and patience. Good luck ladies, and never be afraid to break out of the mold with a little grit, in order to find a little grace.
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