I am all about trying anything once (mostly) and if you don’t like it don’t do it again. Well I did it again!! About 6 years ago I left a world of corporate behind, when my children were 4 and 2 to start by own business, I went back when they were 5 and 7 and now I am doing the whole thing again! But this time it is completely different! I wanted to write this blog to share, why its different and to say, its your f*cking journey and whatever your right for now is, it’s YOUR right for now.
There are so many differences between the first time I left the corporate world and this time.
This time round I have done a lot of foundational work, self development or whatever you want to call it. Imagine if you were starting a project to build a house. You wouldn’t go to all the bits you can see without making sure all the bits you can’t see are in order. I definitely didn’t do this the first time around, I didn’t even know it was a thing. I was flying high in the corporate world, I knew how to work hard, I was commercial, I was strategic in the way I thought and could put pretty much anything into action. Surely, I could just do the same thing, but for myself and make it work. I wanted to be a hands on mum, but also have the income through my business and have the best of both worlds, how hard can it be??
Looking back I did have two pretty successful businesses from the first time, they could have been so much more than they were and the reason they weren’t is that I put ALL my energy into the business and my family, and absolutely zero into me.
I was riddled with fear, I was burnt out, I had guilt overdrive, I was desperate to prove myself, like you do for an overdue promotion in a corporate world. I kept letting myself down, I kept seeing the proof that I wasn’t good enough and I certainly had very little self belief. I certainly wasn’t giving the best of me to my husband and children. My anxiety was something that was there all the time. I just thought it was part of me, of having a business, a young family and it would all be ok when the business was a success. I write these words now and they make me really sad, but mainly bloody annoyed at myself that I didn’t understand what I understand now!
I wasn’t doing anything particularly well apart from working really bloody hard at everything! I will remember the day it changed forever! I was being the hero and carrying massive bags of water up several flights of stairs to an event I was presenting at. Asking for help was also a big no no, a sign of weakness I would tell myself. I had a few weird pains weeks previous, but I haven’t got time to be ill, never mind a doctors appointment. What a knob you may be thinking, but these words played out in my mind. It was minutes before I was about to present and I was doubled over in the most pain I have ever felt in my life. A lovely friend stepped in take me to hospital after I had said, take me home and I will have a couple of paracetamol. Yes, I still continued the, I don’t matter banter. She very politely told me to shut the F up and I was going to hospital. Long story short, I had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy that bled for so long I had to have a major operation, several blood transfusions and the surgeon told me another hour later and I would have LOST MY LIFE!! Physically I healed but emotionally I was broken. I had no choice but to slow the hell down and look at life from a whole new lens. I had some pretty hardcore counselling which was amazing, and accepted a lot of love and help to steer me back to my new normal.
I made the decision to return to employment and ended up back in a corporate world. It was my right for now! I wanted safety, security, to be with a group of people who I could work in a team with. I set some boundaries around flexibility to ensure my mum job came first. It was nice. I liked the job, the people, the confidence it was building back up, the salary at the end of the month, paid holidays. It was actually ok.
As time went on my entrepreneurial itch started again! I tried to ignore it, I was fine where I was. I really don’t want all that stress and anxiety back in my life. But what if I could create something that was so much more than the corporate job. The corporate job that had limits, that didn’t have passion or purpose. Backwards and forwards I would go. From safe and secure to passion and purpose. The only way to do it would be to build a side hustle until it became big enough to replace the corporate job, was the chatter going around in my head. But then a voice would remind me, I would go back to being exhausted and anxious and that’s not going to work for anyone. Seriously it was like a game of tennis for months!! I didn’t even have an idea. It would take one massive push to chuck me back into having my own business again.
It was at the start of lockdown when I (and the rest of the world) was feeling a little overwhelmed and old feelings of anxiety started creeping back in. I was over reacting, crying for no reason, shouting at the kids and feeling lost.
Then it came, the push, a few months into the COVID19 lockdown, my whole department was made redundant. I know right, be careful what you ask for. But this wasn’t my time to start a business, I clung onto my secure life and was redeployed. It was a cut in pay and it really wasn’t my skill set, but the team were fabulous and it was fun. I felt like one of the lucky ones in this crazy time of uncertainly.
I was already practicing daily mediation, journaling anything that promoted calm and peace. I let things go, that weren’t worth sweating over, like homeschooling and letting my youngest go to the park in his Pj’s rather than battle with him to get dressed. I also tried to limit my time on social media as it was full of so much rubbish, but it was there that I stumbled across the Wim Hof method. I was fascinated and intrigued. It was like nothing I had ever come across before. I felt it was so extreme that I had to give it a go. I couldn’t stop reading about this extraordinary guy who climbed Everest in his shorts and held countless world records for sitting in ice baths! I was drawn to the science behind it and how he had trained his body to cope with the cold extremities. Water had always been a love of mine, from county swimming, to scuba diving, to having a water birth with my first child. I’m a Cancerian in case your wondering.
My mindset started to change, my life became lighter and more connected. My creativity, through morning routines of breath-work and cold, was coming to life. My thoughts were clearer, my passion for life started to run through my veins and I felt stronger each day.
I still didn’t know what my business was going to be, but I knew I had some work do do around my fears, the belief and trust I had in my own capabilities and what the hell I wanted out of life. Was I ok with just ok? It all started to change, to open up, like a flower petal by petal, I couldn’t be rushed and each step was important to take before the next one was possible. I wanted more for me, for my family, for my kids to see that settling for ok is not always the best thing.
I felt alive and happy, but was I ready to step out and have my own business? Still a lot of fear around am I too old, I didn’t make it last time, will I be able to make some money to support my family, what if it goes tits up??? Then I realised that I was more fearful of not going for it than actually doing it. Now it was all about timing. I thought about what I was passionate about what skills I had, what I wanted my days and weeks to look like. A ton of work around my whys, my vision, my inner beliefs. It all pointed me in the direction of healing, nature and empowering others with the skills I had come to master and understand. After a few tweaks and reworks of thoughts, The Ice Warrior came to life and is now in full swing. Through the Wim Hof method and my own practices I coach and teach others how to access their inner warrior and not just settle for OK! It is a million miles away from the last time I left to set up my own business and the biggest difference is, I invest as much time into me and my own health and mindset as I do to building a business. I am not looking at it as a rushed project, but more of a masterpiece in the making that will take time, adjustment and reworks along the way. It’s exciting and fun!