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The early days of September are especially meaningful to me.*
It’s not just the waning days of summer giving way to cool, crisp fall mornings or celebrating my wedding anniversary (27 years on the 10th!). The extra-long holiday weekend is also a time when I reflect on my losses.
Yep, that’s right; my losses, professionally speaking.
Ten years ago, I left my last W-2 job to strike out on my own and never looked back.
As matter-of-fact as that feels to say now, back then, it was a strange mix of relief, terror, excitement, and anxiety.
Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that the toxic working environment became too much to bear. In the months leading up to my departure, I became increasingly stressed, super negative, and dreaded the thought of running into certain board members despite loving my team and being immensely proud of our accomplishments.
Now that a decade has passed from that fateful decision, and I compare what I lost to what I found, I can see that I made an excellent choice — one that was far overdue.
What I lost:
A steady paycheck
A team of employees to manage and lead
My President & CEO title
Doing something I was good at but didn’t feed my creative soul
Stress, anxiety, and a micromanaging boss
What I found:
Far greater earning potential
Freedom and autonomy, which I’ve come to learn are key values for me
More time to spend with my favorite people and on things that matter most to me
A new title: entrepreneur
My own company
Personal and professional alignment
The highest and best use of my talents
Amazing client partners who value me and my expertise
My “why,” a la Simon Sinek: “Inspiring transformation”
My power trifecta: Clarity, consistency, and discipline (highly recommend you adopt as your own)
Needless to say, I’d take those professional losses any day in exchange for what I ultimately found: happiness and fulfillment. Because really, it’s not a loss if you gain something in return.
That’s not to say it’s easy. Transitions of any sort are tough.
Even living your dream professional life comes with its share of unexpected and unwanted losses. Clients leave, deals go sideways, and “partners” turn out to be anything but. (All situations I’ve dealt with recently, as have most of my clients.)
Unfortunately, none of us are immune, but focusing your energy on the one thing you can control can better help you deal with them.
In my latest Forbes article, I share five ways perspective can help you turn a professional loss into a career gain.
P.S. When I’m not writing this newsletter or reflecting on significant professional losses and gains, I’m a social media ghostwriter. (Yep, that’s a thing). I help founders, entrepreneurs, and CXOs craft their stories to communicate and connect better by magnifying their reach and impact. (Think personal branding and thought leadership.) Learn more here.
P.P.P.S. One more thing: You have great taste in newsletters—thanks for subscribing! And if you like it, I’m betting your friends might, too. The best way to grow a newsletter is through kind folks like you sharing with your favorite people. Or better yet, invite them to join our Illuminate Me tribe by subscribing!
*Another early September milestone for me: celebrating another year as a Forbes Leadership contributor! This month marks three years that I’ve consistently written five articles per month. If long ago you’d told me I’d have a regular Forbes column and be entering my fourth year of doing so, I’d probably laugh it off as impossible. But I guess we can add that self-limited belief to my list of “losses.” Check out all my Forbes articles and follow me here.