Are you, like me, an accidental business owner?
After 20 years in Corporate I knew it was time for a change when each morning I would hope for some terminal thing to befall me so I didn’t have to go to work. In this pit of despair I discovered personal transformational work with Debbie Ford that would change the trajectory of my life.
That’s how I ended up an accidental business owner over 15 years ago.
I was not the kid who had a newspaper route or a lemonade stand. I never had any dreams of owning a business. It just wasn’t my thing. I would rather splash in the pool or play with my cat. I figured I would work for someone else, make a bunch of money, buy a beach house and live happily ever after.
Except I didn’t fit in, hated every single day that I got up to go to work, and never saw how working for a big corporation and being told when to sit and when to go from my cubicle was the path to wealth or freedom.
I felt like I had been sold the myth so many of us built our youth around: If you work hard in school, get good grades, check all the required boxes, then you’ll be all set for success.
Except it is a lie.
Then on a sunny day in 2003 while on break from the aforementioned transformational training, it hit me. I had a zinger of a conversation with a fellow participant who explained that he owns a business so he can build his life however he wants to. Then I walked back after break, looked around the room of a hundred-ish people, and realized: the majority of these people do not have traditional corporate jobs.
Maybe there is another way.
It seems like a silly revelation; yet for me it was an epiphany.
While it took a few years for things to fall into place, a layoff in 2007 kicked me in the butt from “side hustle tinkering hobbyist business owner” to “full-time I need to pay the mortgage not just this month but every month” self-employed business owner.
And what a journey it has been.
I have always had an almost insatiable curiosity, thirst for learning, and desire to live fully.
Yet, like many new business owners, I walked a challenging path.
I fell prey to the empty promises of gurus with proprietary systems that promise you the world only to discover it is not as simple or cookie-cutter as that. I succumbed to the entrepreneurial martyrdom that is held up as the paradigm of success. I’ve known the euphoria of 5-figure+ income months and the angst of months so slow it required the dark art of floating money while playing credit cards off of one another. Because after all, if you think abundantly, everything else is just magically handled, right?
I thought if “success” is working yourself to exhaustion while forgoing your other interests and getting ulcers because the unpredictable income roller coaster is a beast: I don’t want this.
I had to sit uncomfortably in that in-between space to once again see and give myself permission to want and to have the active and adventure-filled lifestyle I yearn for. To know it is possible as a business owner with integrity that cares about her clients and a job well done.
I learned the magic secret is to trust myself and value what I bring to the world. There is no such thing as a treasure map when the very terrain you stand on as a business owner is constantly in flux. You must be the compass you seek.
This is why I passionately believe with every fiber of my being that there is no such thing as success unless it is authentic and on your own terms. (Check out the manifesto I wrote about this: An Open Letter to Entrepreneurs.)
I have asked myself endless amounts of times over the years:
- Do I really want this?
- Why do I want what I want?
The answers have been striking and shocking at times. But they inform everything I do. One of my favorite poets Mary Oliver asks the question “What are you going to do with your one wild and precious life?”
To me it is an invitation to think more deeply about how we spend our time and a rally cry to not only make money but also meaning from our professional choices. That means every day, right now, not some elusive “someday, later” because that doesn’t exist.
I have a rare gift of being strongly left-brained and right-brained. With a knack for seamlessly switching between the creative big-picture stuff and practical details I love nothing more than integrating all the “soft-stuff” and inner awareness with tangible, practical actions.
I act as a catalyst for getting things started and an anchor for getting stuff done.
So how did I get to the unique blend of what I offer? It’s a road that has included formal training such as:
- BS in Accounting with honors
- 20+ years in corporate America working in auditing, banking, finance, process improvement, information technology, web programming, marketing and sales support, among other things for big companies like Merck, Saint-Gobain Certainteed, PPL, and others.
- Certification as an Internet Webmaster Professional
- Personally trained by Debbie Ford and her staff for a year+ intensive coach training program.
- 200+ hours of coach training at Coach U.
- Studying with top mentors in this industry and participating in high-level masterminds with super-bright colleagues.
- Certified Dare to Lead™ Trained
The formal stuff is just one piece of the puzzle. That’s why my clients value the wide variety of informal training and life experiences I’ve had like:
- Navigating and “overcoming” disabling fear, panic & anxiety (I put that in quotes because it’s always a trigger away, but it doesn’t rule my life.)
- Studying and practicing mindfulness daily.
- Spiritual and other personal growth retreats of all flavors.
- Traveling all over and being an avid outdoorswoman.
- Studying with top coaches, therapists, and mentors (which means I walk my talk and do my own work).
- Publishing my book Open to Your Intuitive Intelligence: Reflections on Nature & Wisdom (2011) combining a lifetime of photography with inspiring text.
I have a boundless list of hobbies and interests, most notably cycling, kayaking, photography, cooking, gardening, wine and craft beers/spirits, music, theater, and more. I am grateful that I get to do so many of them with my wife of 30+ years Kim and we live with 3 crazy cats that give us permission to stay in their home as their humbled servants.
So many interests!
This is why I’ve had to learn how to have a profitable business that leaves me plenty of time for a cool life.
I can help you do that too.