I am on my way back from Costa Rica and feeling extremely grateful for the experience of enjoying the sand, getting a little beaten up learning to surf, visiting with friends, and relaxing in all of the beautiful nature. As the Costa Ricans say, “Pura Vida!” This is a saying that translates to mean pure life, but is more of a philosophical statement encouraging people to be grateful for what they have.
Given my checkered work history it feels miraculous to be enjoying the life I am. I come from a very simple background. I grew up mostly with a single mom. My dad left when I was two. I did have a step-dad for a few years, but he died of Hodgkin’s disease. I started working at twelve sweeping up hair in a barbershop and then graduated to becoming a busgirl at a world famous restaurant the Sooke Harbor House at the age of fourteen. One of the owners of the restaurant was French so I got the idea of going to college in France. When this didn’t work out, after spending a year there, I went to college on the East Coast of Canada planning on becoming a doctor. Instead, I ended up with a Geography degree and went on to get my Master’s in Cultural Geography.
Rather than sticking with this and going on to get my PhD and working in academia, I left for London to find my father. I had a job lined up working in a Guatemalan textile museum. When I found out I was allergic to the preservative used in the textiles, I found myself out of a job and a home because that was part of my pay. I needed a job quickly so my then boyfriend, now husband, Angus connected me with a modeling agency. Even though I was twenty-four they took me on, and I surprised myself by having a successful modeling career that lasted until we had our first daughter. However, the savings from that did not last forever and Angus’s career went through a major slump as the digital revolution took over photography. So I found myself once again in need of a job.
This time I got an administrative assistant job at the university I was studying at to become a therapist. This meant I had to put my therapy degree on hold. I eventually did go back to school, get my degree and become a licensed therapist, but the route was not a straight line. Finally, after graduating with my counseling psychology degree, I got a full-time job in behavioral health working with families. Within a few years, the company experienced financial challenges and lost its entire leadership team. Rather than close the doors on the families we were serving the founder, another clinician and myself stepped forward as the new leadership team and took on the task of righting the ship. This was an incredible learning opportunity for me. I loved supervising and developing clinicians and enjoyed the role I played in creating a financially and operationally viable company. It was definitely a jump in the deep end and learn to swim experience. I found it exhilarating!
However, I started to get requests from people to work with me outside of the company, so I negotiated a three quarter time position and developed my own practice while working there. I also became trained as a coach. My practice took on a life of its own, and I found myself feeling stretched balancing work, parenting, and quality of life. It was at this point that I started yearning to become a Solopreneur. I wanted to leave my day job and go out on my own full-time.
The leap looked daunting to me. I had no idea how I would make the transition so I just kept up with what I was doing. However, I found myself judging my progress toward becoming an entrepreneur and feeling like I should be further along than I was. What I see now, is there was no way for me to know how close I was to leaving my job until I did. I would make up numbers in my head saying when I had x amount saved then I would leave. My coach at the time laughed and said it sounded like I was buying myself out of indentured servitude. The truth was I was scared. I was the main earner in our family, and I did’t want to let us all down. I judged myself for being afraid and for not following what felt right. I experienced tremendous ambivalence. I even resigned from my position, but allowed myself to be talked back into staying.
My eagerness to leave my job and my frustration with myself for not acting on my inclination was creating internal pressure and stress. My coach suggested that I forget about leaving my job and trust that I would know when the timing was right. This might seem like commonsense, but it was revolutionary for me at the time. I saw how I was not able to enjoy the present because I was trying to figure out a strategy of how to leave. My departure kept getting pushed further and further into the future as the numbers that represented financial security got bigger in my head. Of course, that is one of the first lessons of being an entrepreneur, recognizing that safety and security are an internal experience and have nothing to do with the numbers in your bank account.
It turns out my coach was exactly right! I let go of putting any pressure on myself to leave and focused on enjoying my life and work exactly as they were. I relaxed. This freed up bandwidth for me to focus on my professional development. Then eighteen months later there was a moment in a conversation when I knew this is it. This is the time! Within a few hours I had conversations with the members of the leadership team and had negotiated my departure from the company in a way that felt good to everyone. It would even benefit the company because we were about to enter negotiations for the sale of the company. It was win-win, and it had nothing to do with how much money I had saved up. It was just the right time.
I have come a long way from being a bus girl in a small village on the West Coast of Canada, and I certainly could not have planned this journey or predicted I would have the life I do now. I share this to encourage and inspire you to follow your inner calling whatever that is. Open up to your dreams!
If you are in the process of considering a leap, or if it is even a twinkle in your eye, trust your inspiration to guide you. Let yourself run with and explore your ideas. See if you can ignore you inner critic and breathe life into the possibilities you can imagine. This will help them to grow strong and robust. Nurture them by taking action without having to know where they will lead you. Simply take the next step that occurs to you. It might be to take a training, write a blog, or share with a friend. It could be an even smaller step. The size of the step or what the step is doesn’t matter. What is important is that you honor the calling inside of you, that you listen to what wants to be expressed through you into the world and do that.
The timing of your creation is not on you, but you can take action and engage with what lights you up. You can lean into your calling without it being dramatic and disrupting your life. You can do what feels right. Each step takes you closer to your goal, and it is in the doing that you learn. You can’t figure it out ahead of time. Just like I couldn’t figure out when to leave my job. Wherever you are at, whatever your circumstances are, notice your inspiration, listen to it and act on it. Your inspiration is your wisdom talking to you. Follow that. It will not let you down. You have everything you need inside of you to create and live a life you love. Listen to your heart and use that as your compass.
Whatever your dream is — start now. Don’t wait. Your wisdom will grow as you take action. Your inspiration will blossom as you honor it. Give yourself room and permission to explore what you really want. It is okay to ignore the voices of fear and limitation that can disguise themselves as rationality and commonsense.
We all have those voices, but you don’t need to let them run your life. Instead, open to the full magnificence of who you are and be willing to share that. Be willing to share it even if you feel wobbly like a new born foal. This is the way of all beginnings — stepping into the unknown.
Allow yourself to see your infinite potential and what is possible for you. Be willing to not give attention to the thoughts that say you can’t have what you want. Instead, ask what is the next step you can take to create the life YOU want to live. Let your inspiration guide you and simply start. Allow yourself be pulled by what the universe wants to express through you. Go with the current and step into the fullest vision you have for yourself. That is the best gift you can give yourself, your loved ones, and the world. And, if your inspiration is guiding you in the direction of becoming a Solopreneur, check out the program Barb Patterson and I are offering in the New Year — The Solopreneur Leap.
Rohini Ross is passionate about helping people wake up to their true nature. She is a psychotherapist, a transformative coach, and author of Marriage (The Soul-Centered Series Book 1). She has an international coaching practice helping individuals, couples, and professionals embrace all of who they are so they can experience greater levels of wellbeing, resiliency, and success. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, watch her Vlogs with her husband, Angus Ross, and subscribe to her weekly blog on her website, rohiniross.com. She has an upcoming program The Solopreneur Leap co-facilitated with Barb Patterson starting January 15th, 2018.