Pursuing Professional Passions
I have always believed deeply that if you don’t have a passion for what you do, you shouldn’t do it. Sometimes life gets in the way of living by that belief. And sometimes, you hit a point where you can’t imagine anything other than pushing through life’s obstacles and live your passion. This is the story of my crucible moment that helped me get there.
I had been working for a very fast-growing software development company (from 8 –> 200 people) for four and a half years, and was serving as VP of the Project Management/Business Analysis department. For most of that time, I truly loved my job and threw every ounce of my being into it wholeheartedly. But the company was going through a tremendous amount of changes. Though it absolutely was still a great company, it had been at least a year since it felt like the right fit for me and since I had truly loved my job.
I continued to stay in the position for the year that I no longer loved my job for a number of reasons… Life and family obligations, attachment to certain luxury comforts, perceived lack of time to plan for changes, and I wanted to do some deep internal work so that I would not leave my position and end up feeling exactly the same way in the next role I took on.
My crucible moment that triggered the drastic life change I so desired came at a two-day all-company event where I had to give a 20-minute speech to the company. I had just spent the prior weekend with my mother, who at 67 years old had Parkinsonian Dementia so bad that she couldn’t put together a coherent sentence all weekend.
As I stood in front of the company giving my speech, I had the following thoughts:
“This is a terrific organization – look at how far we’ve come.”
“And… I think I’ve done all I can do here.”
“This is no longer a fit for me.”
“I don’t think I’ll get sick like my mother… but nobody thinks they will. If I only had ten healthy years left, is this how I would want to spend it?”
The answer to that last thought was absolutely NO. And I made my decision, in that moment while giving my speech, to take the leap and move on.
What I loved most in my career (even more than leading gigantic software projects) was finding amazing people to join our team through some very unique and proven methods, really comprehensively onboarding them, helping them to grow, and leading them for retention. I had received a lot of compliments, and had experimented and learned a tremendous amount over the years, with a focus on continuous improvement.
I had held an idea for a very unique business that really leveraged all of my passions, skills, and experience/lessons learned, but had planned to wait twenty years or so to create that business – after I had paid off student loans, saved more for retirement, built a bigger network, etc.
But I knew everything about this business would light me on fire, and that I would be able to help a tremendous number of people doing it. So while giving my speech to the company, I made the decision to create that organization now rather than wait twenty years to do it.
Seven days later, I gave two months notice and quit my job to bring this idea (Scalability Solutions LLC) to life.
I believe in this organization deeply. Once again, I have a passion for what I do. Through my business of transforming the way people build and lead their teams, I am actively fulfilling what I believe is my purpose: to create a world where people are happy, fulfilled, and empowered at work. Being a business owner challenges me in all the ways that are hardest for me, which I consider a gift. This is the best, and the most terrifying, decision I’ve ever made. And there has not been one minute that I’ve regretted it.
September 15, 2015
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