Two Years of Dream Chasing: By The Numbers
Two years ago today I boarded a plane, holding my sons hand and took off to join my husband in our new hometown of Tampa, Florida. Our dream chasing journey was reality.
We left everything we knew, loved and a life we had built all for a vision that we held in our heart and minds, without 100% certainty that it would work out ok.
This act of dream chasing takes place all the time. People leave behind people, places and things every day in the pursuit of dreams, a new life, or a job- whatever it may be. As you read this you may think it’s a revolutionary act or simply that it’s not a huge deal.
Boarding the plane and chasing a dream wasn’t just about moving to escape the snow. It was all about saying ‘yes’ to a passion, idea and a different way of life. For me, it was a revolutionary act in saying ‘yes’ to myself rather than what I ‘should’ do based on what other people thought or how they lived their life.
By boarding that plane I was saying yes to myself. Saying yes to ourselves is a revolutionary act that I believe we need to do every single day.
Last year I wrote about our first year of dream chasing and if you would like to catch up on that, you can read it here.
For this year’s reflective post, I thought I would take on the numbers, thoughts, fears and realities of changing my career and focus over the past two years.
When I quit my job in Buffalo, I didn’t have a job to come to in Tampa. (Much to my Dad’s chagrin. “Don’t ever quit a job without another one lined up.” he taught me.) I had built a career that I was extremely proud and had worked my ass off for, yet I was burned out and my heart yearned for a different life, path and mode of creativity. When we left the plan was for me to get us settled in as a family, to launch my own website and business and if that was a slow start, I would head back to the nonprofit world.
That plan was flipped on its head almost immediately.
Two years later my career, and life, look completely different than we have planned. Here’s some numbers to frame the journey a bit:
- $83,000– My yearly salary that I was making when I quit my job. (And I was underpaid which I blame myself for not negotiating better when I started the job. Take note, ladies.)
- $8,000– The amount of money I brought in to our family’s income in 2014, our first year of living in Florida. 2015 isn’t done yet. I’m still not to what I used to make, but 2015 was more than 2014. And I made it all on my own.
- $30,000-Estimated amount of money that we haven’t spent on after-school daycare and summer camps for Logan because I now work virtually at home.
- 6– The number of individuals, clients or teams that I have worked with in 2015. All amazing people. All my work from home. These roles vary from social media management, blog post and website content writing, online customer service, virtual assistance and 1-on-1 coaching. I have been able to work on teams through online launches, author book launches, sponsorship follow up, strategic business planning, writing, social media strategy and execution, online community management, and a dream catalyst coach.
- One half– This is how far I got in filling out an online application for Starbucks in 2014.
- 7– The number of online courses that I have done, or are in the process of completing, in the past 2 years. I believe that online courses are the better option than an MBA. Here is a list of the courses I completed or are in the process of completing :
- Screw U– THE BEST place to learn all things online business with the most amazing group of supportive, growth minded people on the internet. And now some are my REAL friends as well. This online course, community and the creators of Screw U have changed my life. I have immense love for Jill and Josh and all my fellow Scroupies.
- Internet Business Mastery Academy 101– This course was what I dove into when we first moved here. I learned so much and launch Sassy Inspiration after going through the course.
- Marie Forleo’s B-School– I went through this course and worked on Marie’s team during the launch and am returning to the launch team in 2016. This is THE course for tried and true marketing techniques in today’s business world. Marie is the real deal and an amazing human being.
- Brene Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection” O Course– I completed this course during the process of moving and it was the single greatest gift I have given myself in several years. This course is all about finding again, and embracing, the person that you are rather than the person that you ‘should’ be. It woke up the colorful, writer, non-suit wearing, pink haired Heather that I had long forgotten. I truly missed her.
- Michael Hyatt’s 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever– Each New Year’s Eve Joe and I make a dinner and talk about our goals for the upcoming year. It’s a tradition that we have done for years. This past year we took it one step further and put a structured process around looking at the past year and putting concrete goals together for 2015. We enjoyed Michael’s style and the process. For anyone looking at putting some goals together heading into 2016, this is a great process.
- Rob Bell’s “Practical Guide for Finding Joy and Meaning in Everyday Life” O Course- This past year has been an extremely powerful spiritual journey for me and Rob has been a major part of opening my heart and mind to new ideas of thinking, feeling and finding joy and the Divine in every single day.
- The Copy Cure- As my writing practice continues to become more prevalent, and my dreams around it grow, I am excited to dive into enhancing my knowledge around good copy that connects. Marie Forleo and Laura Belgray launched this course this year and I am in the process of completing it. Here’s to creating words that connect and don’t suck.
- Less than 10– The number of times I haven’t been at pick up or drop off for Logan over 2 years. One of the greatest gifts of all.
- 72,500– The approximate number of words I have written in 80 posts on Sassy Inspiration. And they just keep coming……. thank you for reading them. It is such a gift that I never take for granted.
- 2– The number of companies I can choose to build a multi-level marketing business in. Products I love and use, yet there’s just so many hours in the day. As my business diversifies, these may come into play more often. I like having options.
- 1,956 (appox.)– How many times I have cried and thought I should give up and that none of this is worth it. I’m not exaggerating.
- 8– Conferences attended to awaken my dreams, learn concrete strategies, decide that maybe a certain path wasn’t for me, spark my creativity, make amazing new friends. I’m a firm believer in the fact that you have to show up in person to connect once in a while. My favorite? Hay House’s “I Can Do It!” conference. Life changing.
- 2– Businesses and websites that have been launched in our family in the past two years. Joe and I are determined to live the life of our dreams and we are working together to make it happen. I love you, Joe.
- 1– Book outline sitting in my word documents.
- 7– The number of bags of clothes and shoes donated to Goodwill. All my suits, 80% of my high heels and anything that didn’t fit or feel like ME. It’s a new day and a different life.
- Countless– The number of places I can work because all I need is my laptop, a strong wifi connection and my iphone. And maybe a great playlist and coffee for extra umph.
Even as I look at these I am in shock as to what I have been able to do, fueled by passion, purpose, determination and the support of key people in my life. Taking a moment to look backwards makes the goals looking forward much closer to achieving. Yet, some people would look at the income and think I was a failure but a true entrepreneur knows that the risk comes first and if you don’t give up, the dream will become a reality.
The reality is that this has been the hardest and most amazing two years of my life, all at the same time.
From the beginning my journey would not have been possible without my husband. He gets in his Jeep every morning and works his tail off and brings in our primary income. I get that not everyone has that, but I will be very clear in the fact that my flexibility and work environment has made life smoother and more balanced for him, which I have learned is vitally important for our entire family. Our entire family is a team, always has been, always will be. We are both entrepreneurs, as he builds his business outside the hours of his 9-5. We say no more than we say yes. People may not understand why we stay home, work late and focus on our family and business rather than on others. It’s a balance that we are always mastering and he is my biggest cheerleader, confidant, limits pusher and instigator. He’s amazing and so is our family.
We have taken on risks, we have taken on debt, we have lost friends, we have missed important family moments due to geography and we have cried countless tears. Have I wanted to quit? Most certainly. That feeling comes on more frequently than I am willing to talk about. Am I scared that it won’t be worth it? Sometimes, but less frequently now as I am seeing my efforts paying off. So they now balance each other out. I know that all the work that I have done is worth it and is moving us forward.
On this blog I talk a lot about how you should chase your dreams because you get only one chance at this life, and I believe that now more than ever. I wanted to share the honest, real numbers and realities of what it takes to go after something like this.
After building a career over 15 years, I have almost started fresh. I have skills, expertise and knowledge that are helping me to build my business, and help other entrepreneurs build theirs. I have learned that a stagnant career is stifling to me and that’s just how I am. I can’t change that. Variety, growth, diversification, challenge, creativity, connection and authenticity are all very, very important to me. And my gut tells me when it’s not right, and I trust it.
Yet, the dream is coming to life in ways that can’t be described with numbers.
When a reader hits ‘reply’ to my Sassy Sunday email and shares a moment of her life, or her dream, with me it makes all of this worthwhile. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I save every single reply that comes into my inbox. Making a difference is why I get up every morning and their words motivate me to keep going, keep writing, keep sharing. (Thank you. I love you all.)
I have been to pick up and drop off, helped with homework, gone on field trips, had lunch and cuddled more with a very important young man. Being a more present mother has changed our entire family, but especially my little guy. He has summer vacations and school holiday breaks that involve a Mom working from home, but not having to rush out of bed to make it to daycare. There aren’t enough words to string together to paint the picture of that on my heart.
In the past year I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease which is flared by stress. Working from home is more mellow and more conducive to ensuring that my stress stays in check and I can be the healthiest version of myself, and more productive. I can’t even tell you how many hours of my life I have saved by not being in meetings that aren’t needed. Solopreneurs and entrepreneurs are more efficient with their time, utilize technology to ensure greater flow and structure and understand that time is the most precious commodity and rarely waste it. The typical ‘corporate’ world could learn a lot from the people that I have worked alongside in the past two years. We get shit done in less time and it pretty much rocks.
What does the next two years hold? I don’t know but I sure as hell trust that they will work out exactly the way they are supposed to and that my efforts are paying off.
I have learned to show up, trust the process (and my intuition), work hard and believe that my goals will be attained. I am starting my yoga teacher training in January and will be a certified yoga teacher by October. I already have clients into 2016. I love working on a variety of teams and I’m always looking to gain more knowledge, experience and opportunities to share my gifts with amazing entrepreneurs changing the world. Sassy Inspiration is growing and will have some changes coming in the coming months. I plan on cheering more people one, coaching them to be the catalyst in their life and for their dreams. I will keep writing because writing makes me come alive.
I have a lot of dreams I’m working towards but those are for other posts on other days.
For today, when I think about that woman crying as the Southwest plane took off in the snow with a little hand holding hers, two years ago today, I would tell her that she will be just fine and that she’s braver than she could ever imagine. While she may be nervous about what lies ahead, all of the work that she has done has put her exactly where she should be.
And you. You are braver than you could ever imagine. YOU are EXACTLY where you are supposed to be in life. Your dreams are unfolding as you read these words.
Take my words as an example that when you want something so bad that you can feel it in your spirit, you need to work hard towards it. When the doubts come, and they will, your passion and true friends will lift you up and show you how to believe in yourself and your dreams once again. You will need to make choices, sacrifices and changes that are not always easy but that they are so worth it.
Your dreams are always worth it.
Thank you for sharing the past two years with me and here’s to the next two. We’ve got a lot of dreams to chase- together. xo