I almost worked in insurance.
The unknown is scary. When push comes to shove, it can be so nerve-racking to take risk that we play it safe, inadvertently sacrificing our own happiness. I almost chickened out and worked in insurance, which, if you know me, is probably not a fit.
Let me back up. At a crucial life junction six years ago, the fitness club I had been working at for five years got sold to a new owner, who subsequently went on to replace the staff members one by one. By the time my number came up, I knew I would have to reevaluate my whole life.
You see, there was a lot going on already. At that same time, my husband and I were splitting up, getting our house ready for sale, looking for new homes, and guiding our young child through the whole new plan. Throw a new career hunt on top of that, and that’s a lot of the top stressful things to deal with all at once!
Anyway, I stared down the barrel of my new life and had no idea what to make of it. Most of what I came to know as stable and permanent was dissolving; my marriage, my home, my job. I received a lot of advice, which I was grateful for in my overwhelmed state.
Around that time, a friend put me on to a very cool opportunity where she worked at an insurance company. I would be working alongside her and other inspiring and accomplished people. The pay was great. The environment was healthy. The incentives were good. The hours were normal. The work would be challenging. Also, very importantly, it would be guaranteed to pay the bills!!! I made it through the first interview and was grateful to be asked to a second. Then as I walked there, every part of me physically resisted, and I felt my high-heeled feet slow to a snail’s pace. ‘Is this really me?’ I heard myself ask. Right on cue, the answer came, ‘Hell no.’ (Aha moment…) I continued to the interview and followed through on my instincts. I explained my epiphany with gratitude, thanks, and apologies. My regrets were graciously received.
The advice continued, and there was one piece that stuck. ‘Do what you know.’ (Could it be that simple?)
I thought about this one. What did I know?
Well, I had a well-developed skill-set. I had been a personal fitness coach and group instructor for ten years by that time, with a well-defined specialization in seniors. I loved this work.
I also had the mindset for entrepreneurship. I had been working on a children’s product-based business for the better part of a year, making headway and loving the process.
Finally, as a singer, I had been familiar with putting myself out there, both performing, and promoting myself to get gigs. This too was what I ‘knew’.
My brilliant twin sister pointed out that working privately as a mobile trainer, I could make twice as much money for the same number of hours (as the gym had taken half of all training income). I hadn’t seen the opportunity under my nose until that moment. Her faith in me began to feed mine again.
It was definitely still risky. I was scared. It seemed as though nothing in my life was guaranteed anymore, and I was going to start my own business with no safety net!? (What if no-one called me?)
I both went with what I knew, and dove into the unknown. A win-win for a person who loves adventure I’d say.
I was tremendously lucky to get phone calls that very first week I launched my private fitness business. Clients were signing on for regular sessions. It felt as though there was magic at play.
Six years later, I haven’t looked back. I have made a happy life and home for my family. I’m filled with gratitude every day that wonderful clients always seem to find me, that they happen to be enthusiastic advertisers to their friends (being my only source of marketing for many years) and that I have the honour of contributing to their wellbeing.
If you are in the midst of a huge shift, consider using what you know.
Remember that you may have gifts on the way that are beyond what you can imagine right now.
Moving through the discomfort of the unknown can be extremely unsettling. It can also be a powerful process leading the way to extraordinary new possibilities.