As we begin 2013 and with goal setting the main topic of discussion, I recall the famous line by Tony Robbins, “If you want to take the island, burn the freakin boats.” Setting goals are important and provides you with focus, but what happens when things get tough? Making changes are not always easy, and in fact making sustainable change is probably one of the most difficult things to accomplish in life. It’s all about making a choice – a decision to not go look back. This caused me to reflect on how this applies to my situation and I really wanted to share it. It is a little bit of a story, so please stay bare with me.
It was two years ago this month that I lost my job in the financial services industry after the financial crisis hit and thousands of employees were cut lose by my company so they could survive. I was one of many sacrificial lambs of the financial crisis, meanwhile, leading up to January 2009, management continued to tell us that everything was fine and that we should try to keep clients from jumping out of the market. Months later after losing my job I watched a Frontline documentary that told the back story on the financial crisis which included specific information about the firm I had worked for, their participation in what happened, and that the company was literally hours away from having to go bankrupt if they had not made a deal to merge with one of the biggest banks in the world! It was bad enough that I lost my job and that my clients were suddenly without that financial advisor, but to find out that we were all deceived as we continued to work our butts off was the most upsetting (I’m using clean and friendly language here!) I vowed to go into business for myself and never ever put my destiny in the hands of a corporation again.
I founded my first business called Divorce Financial Strategy and began working as a Divorce Financial Planner, helping women going through divorce get a fair and equitable settlement to their divorce with the least amount of money spent on attorney fees and minimizing the stress on her and her family. My work was very fulfilling and made a huge difference in the lives of the clients I served, but unfortunately, there wasn’t enough sustainable revenue to meet my expenses. So after realizing I was running out of money and didn’t know where my next client was coming from, I accepted a position with an insurance company in 2011. As with most jobs, sometimes what they promise you upfront to get you to sign up isn’t always what you end up actually getting once you are hired. Four months later I realized I had made a mistake and I resigned. I was then pursued by another insurance company and since I was still in the same financial struggle, I accepted the position and told myself I had to make this work! Six months later I resigned for the second time in 2011 when I realized that I wasn’t willing to do the things the company wanted me to do in order to make their sales quotas. Feeling like a complete failure I kind of went into a depressive state. Luckily I had met my boyfriend and moved in together in 2011 so I was able to take a step back and reflect on what my next move was going to be.
In the beginning of 2012, I was feeling unsure of which way I wanted to go next so I accepting an offer from a friend of mine, Georgina Sweeney, to participate in a coaching call with her. During the call she helped me to see where my true strengths and skills were, and to my shock, it wasn’t in financial services at all. Being the great coach that she is, Georgina mixed a little tough love along with some great insights about me that I wasn’t able to see. She pointed out that in addition to my financial background, I also had over 18 years of experience and training in marketing and selling and that this was an area that most women business owners, entrepreneurs and service professionals really struggle with and need help with! It was after this call that I made the decision to walk away from the financial services industry for good and put my future back in my own hands. My biggest moment of “burning the boats” came during July 2012 when I let my insurance licenses lapse! Now I am not able to apply to any more insurance companies. The next “burn the boats” moment will come this year in March 2013 when I will let all of my securities licenses that I’ve had since 1995 lapse for good! While there is still some fear about doing that and not having it there as a fall back plan, I know that it is this kind of commitment that will lead to my future success and ultimate happiness!
The morale of the story is that you have to make the kind of commitment that comes from “burning the boats” in order to live your true purpose in life, and that you need a good mentor/coach in order to help you succeed on your entrepreneurial path.